Faith and Culture Converge in Native American Christianity
In an editorial posted August 27 on the Huffington Post website, the Rev. Dr. Randy S. Woodley discusses Native American Christianity and how faith affects culture. He begins by discussing how Native American cultural practices were outlawed.
"For almost 100 years, in the name of progress, Native children were forced into government-sponsored, denominationally run boarding schools where many were abused physically, sexually, emotionally and spiritually, and where many of them died," he says. "The rallying cry to civilize/Christianize Indigenous children was 'kill the Indian, save the child.'"
He also talks about what Natives think of other Natives who have adopted Christian practices. He says "some American aboriginals today view Native Christians as traitors." But that "Indians are normally forgiving people and many really like Jesus in spite of the kind of Christianity presented to them."
Woodley says America's aboriginals have a "gift to offer the West." Read his full editorial at HuffingtonPost.com.
Randy Woodley, a Keetoowah Cherokee Indian descendant, is a distinguished associate professor of faith and culture, and director of Intercultural and Indigenous Studies at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon.