The Rev. Taber-Hamilton's lecture, “The Barbie & Pocahontas Dialogues: Healing the Cultural Divide Between Indigenous Episcopalians and the Church” provided the Sewanee community an opportunity to reflect on the intersection of Indigenous cosmologies, gender identity, and cultural expression. Taber-Hamilton, a Shackan First Nation person and Episcopal priest, has served in the Diocese of Olympia for 23 years and was elected vice president of the House of Deputies at the most recent General Convention in 2022. 

She asserts that indigenization is accomplished by entering into a value system that is reflective of Indigenous societies’ structure and culture, their matriarchal-based models of leadership, and their orientation toward taking on a high level of personal responsibility for the continuation of what she calls “cultural pieces” central to a community’s understanding of its shared identity. 

Prior to the lecture, Taber-Hamilton spoke to Andrew Thompson’s Feminist Theology and Ethics class. “We need to deconstruct value systems, theology, and behaviors that reinforce oppression and extortion of environment and nature as entities with non-spirit,” she explained. She asked seminarians preparing for ministry in the wider Church to contemplate how encouraging a value system that cultivates people first—a model of generative leadership in place of focusing on organizational development—could benefit its congregations going forward. She also encouraged students to view cultural change within the Church as an evaluation of which values are shared and which should be carried forward into a changing future, not as a divisive debate, as has often been the case in the past. 


The Rev. Taber-Hamilton speaks to Andrew Thompson's Feminist TheologY and Ethics class at the School of Theology.


Regarding her role in shifting the culture of the Episcopal Church at the congregational level and at the leadership level, she says, “I am called to be calm with complexity,” a statement made visible by her soothing yet intense demeanor. That, coupled with a remarkable intentionality toward engaging with those in Thompson’s class and all those who were present for the lecture, both in-person and online, speaks to her sacred conviction that “We need to make breathing room for a Living Church.”

Taber-Hamilton has 30 years of experience in cross-cultural communication, specialized ministry, social justice advocacy, and environmental advocacy. She is the founder of Circles of Color, a grassroots community of Episcopalians of color and authentic allies in The Episcopal Church of Western Washington and serves on the board of Paths to Understanding, an organization of interfaith leaders committed to mutual support on issues of social justice. As a writer, her work has appeared in the Anglican Theological Review, God Space, Church Foundation Vital Practices, the Living Church, and more. 

View the recording of the Rev. Taber-Hamilton's lecture here.