Sarah Xerta

The Genocidal Slumber White Spirituality Needs to Wake From

If we wish to truly evolve spiritually, we cannot accept the whitewashing of history, nor the ongoing patterns of discrimination, abuse, and erasure.


As I write these words it’s two days before Thanksgiving, and just last night I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to write this article in time, that my latest depressive episode was proving too heavy to sift through. Depression is cruel like that, how it keeps you in the dark from all that you’ve recently remembered and felt. How it stretches before you like an abyss. How the fact that this abyss is an illusion doesn’t make you any less likely to fall into it.

I have struggled with depressive episodes for the past eight years, but lately they are much shorter and less deep than ever before, and I know this is because I am finally healing. I am healing emotionally and mentally, but also cosmically: not just as a physical person, but also as a vibrational being. The spiritual terminology for this being is soul. The scientific terminology for this being is energy. I understand them as the same thing, and this understanding has been a catalyst for much of my self-healing.

From an evolutionary perspective I understand now why I am here, why I vibrate at the frequencies that I do, why I have met the people that I’ve met, why I have loved some of them so deeply. I understand and am learning to accept my soul’s divine purpose, which is as much of a scientific understanding as it is a spiritual one, and while I still experience significant pain, the peace this understanding brings me does feel like a miracle. I would have never expected it and am (literally) eternally grateful.

As someone who once identified as a highly skeptical atheist, it shouldn’t be surprising that I came into spiritual knowledge through my love of quantum physics. It also shouldn’t be surprising that quantum physics is bridging the gap between spirituality and science, revealing that this gap is yet another illusion. But I don’t want to give quantum physics all the credit, especially not during Thanksgiving, while America celebrates peace even though it was founded on the genocide of people who already knew and practiced what quantum physics is telling us about the interconnected nature of the cosmos, how each of us is both a part of the whole (the Source) and entirely representative of the whole (the Source). I fear that talking about the spiritual discoveries of quantum physics without talking about why this knowledge was erased from our consciousness to begin with is to further erase the history of Native Americans, many of whom still face discrimination and daily personal and systemic abuse.

But already this erasure is happening. I open a directory of spiritual healers in the local Minneapolis/St. Paul region and each healer has a photo accompanying their service listing, and every one of them is white. I know white people who are able to run a sustainable business in spiritual healing practices, yet in Wisconsin a 13-year-old Native American girl was bullied by school staff for wearing her medicine pouch, a sacred part of her spirituality. “Witchiness” has become a trending aesthetic, scientists are praised for their understanding of the universe, yet modern American society as a whole largely continues to erase and exploit the Native American people whose spiritual history is rooted in the cosmic healing powers many of us now eagerly embrace.

While it’s imperative to recognize that the beliefs of Native American tribes are not monolithic, that the diversity of tribal languages and practices are as vast as people themselves, fundamentally many Native American religions, especially those here where I live in the Midwest, emphasized the interconnectedness of all things, a value that was historically lost with the invasion of European settlers and Christianity (and this Christianity itself had already been stripped by early patriarchs of many of its original truths). Despite differences in specific practices, it’s evident that many, if not most, Native American religions were based in an intimate relationship with nature, and that this relationship understood the supernatural and the subconscious as integral forces of human reality and experience.

The merging of spirituality and science may only seem new, then, in part because white settlers erased thousands of years of human experience and knowledge of life on earth in order to assert themselves as the dominant source of knowledge and power. This abuse is an integral part of whiteness in America, and white people continue to benefit from it today.

Lately I sense an energetic shift; as if more people are raising their frequencies and coming into deeper awareness of why they are on earth. But even awareness can be limited if it is not aware of the genocidal slumber from which it is waking. It is because we are all interconnected that personal awareness of spiritual truths is not enough. Raising energetic frequency is also about clearing karmic debt, about breaking old patterns of abuse, and we can buzz with love all we want but we’re not ascending anywhere if we don’t also actively work to break the American tradition of abuse, erasure, and exploitation of indigenous lives.


Sarah Xerta

Sarah Xerta is a poet, author, mother, teen mentor, and direct support professional for adults with developmental disabilities. She is the author of three chapbooks, all available for free download at her website, She is also the author of the full-length poetry collection Nothing to Do with Me, available now from University of Hell Press. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahxerta. 

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