Cree tribal elder and pastor, Stan, led us in a beautiful time of traditional prayer, singing and ceremony around the sacred fire to begin the theological/ministry leaders learning conference where I taught. I talked with Stan and loved his heart for his people and his passion for Jesus. I also received the following note recently from a woman acknowledging how Wiconi has been a great help to her in thinking through issues of faith and culture, much like Stan has been doing for many years.
"When I became a Christian, I was told by other Native Christians that we couldn't attend Powwows. My heart ached whenever I would hear our songs, especially the very humble prayer songs.I have so many questions, yet I know God has brought me this far, He will answer everyone. There ARE MANY Native people in my area waiting to hear this information and confirmation you write and speak of. Please pray for the people on my reservation. Seems we are at war with ourselves and amongst ourselves. The churches are near falling apart completely- sick and evil things have gone on. I've felted trapped in speaking up, because it's embarrassing as a Christian. I know the rejecting I may face, having graduated from a Native bible college myself. Many of our elders are still waiting for true answers and many already know but have NOT been able to communicate it to the rest of us because of the strong blunt force abuse in Boarding schools etc. It's like we all knew deep down that SOMETHING has been terribly wrong and NOT ALL THINGS MATCH UP with what man's religion has stated. So thank you, Richard, for communicating all of these wonderful things. Wopida "thank you."
Thank you for your partnership and friendship with us in helping people who are seeking greater freedom to become a better human being as followers of the ways of Jesus.
Your Lakota friend,
Richard Twiss, (Sicangu Lakota)
Education and Learning For Change
These photos represent peoples stories of exploration, dialogue, and theological reflection in seeking positive change in their communities. Most all are involved in a native church or ministry. I had the privilage of speaking at five different gatherings of native people in the past seven weeks. I was teaching and discussing new and innovative ways to consider the complimentary relationship between native culture and biblical faith. I was deeply encouraged by their stories!
Leaders from the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Young Apache ladies in Oklahoma.
Anishinabe elder and Anglican Deacon, Barbara, leading the closing prayer circle in Winnipeg.
Comanche couple from the Reformed Church in Oklahoma.