Six Common Perspectives on Native Americans

Caricatures, Perspectives, and Reflections

I have met a lot of people with various perspectives on Native Americans. After a life-time of living among non-Indian Americans, and being one myself, I feel somewhat confident in my knowledge of what non-Indian Americans believe. Although not exhaustive, the list below provides a good cross-section of perspectives I have encountered during this past year in particular. I would like to say that they all are exaggerated caricatures, but I would have to cross my fingers behind my back. The reality is that many of us hold to a combination of these perspectives. The challenge for all of us is to read through the list and see where we find our reflection, and ask the Lord to give us His perspective through the lens of the gospel.

Six Common Perspectives on Native Americans

1. Relatively Oblivious – This person has little to no knowledge of Native Americans today. This person has never met a Native or at least has no knowledge of meeting one. This person doesn’t not know that reservations still exist, yet when they learn of that fact wonder if Indians still live in teepees. I have even met people who thought the Indians were all gone.

2. History buff/antagonist perspective – This person read a lot of American history and is very eager to point out the sins of Native Americans by educating you on Indian attacks on white settlers. Recent court cases ruling in favor of a particular tribe that resulted in restitution are often cited.

3. Hollywood-informed, sympathetic perspective – You generally cheer for the underdog. You saw some movies like Indian in the Cupboard and Dances with Wolves. You have actually memorized the epic scene with Wind in His Hair’s emotional farewell to Dances with Wolves. Just thinking about, you really want to watch it again. Go ahead and watch it here.

4. Hollywood-informed, unsympathetic perspective – This person saw a lot of John Wayne-type westerns and believes the narrative that the Indians were irrational, blood-thirsty savages who were getting in the way of the progress of American civilization. “The only good Injuns are dead.”

5. Politically-driven perspectives* – This person sees life mostly through political goggles, which usually have either red or blue lenses.

  • Blue lenses seem to create an overwhelming sense of the proverbial “white guilt,” which can only be relieved by creating new tenants of political correctness enforced by yet more big government solutions. Oddly, the blue-lens perspective is just as paternalistic as our forefathers on both sides of the aisle in Washington, which has caused most of our problems today.
  • Red lenses have a tendency to reject anything that smacks of political correctness. Typical mantras in this camp include: “Disband the reservations, tribes are socialistic anyway. Tax the casinos. Build that oil pipeline through their land, and frack, baby, frack! It’s all about jobs. Make them assimilate! Go Redskins!” The red-lens view often sees reservations as welfare states attributing all the social ills such as high addiction, crime, and suicide rates to the dependence on government subsidies. Although it recognizes the tragedies of the past, it believes that the best thing to do for Native Americans is to disband the reservations and take them off government “hand-outs.” Problem solved.

6. Pro-Western, seemingly biblically Reformed perspective **– This perspective is related to the politically driven perspective, but now mixed with just enough theology to sound biblical. Foundational tenets include: 1. God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, 2. This is a nation based on Judeo-Christian principles, and 3. Providence has shown that God judged the Indians using a Christian/Western nation. Therefore, the U.S. was justified in its conquering the land and Natives. There are multiple variations of this view.

More can be added to the list, but these common perspectives are the most frequent I encounter when talking with people about our mission to Cherokee.

Excerpt from HOW: Where you informed about Native Americans?

October Update

Photo by Rey Villavicencio

Change of Season

Fall is here. Facebook and Instagram are lit up with beautiful pics from our friends who are beholding the glorious autumn displays of the Northern states. I love the four seasons. Our memories are better cataloged using them as reference points to measure this short fleeting life. I will never forget my first broken arm the summer before fourth grade or the February snowstorm that first Sunday morning I went to church as a new believer.

Seasons change with predictable segues punctuated with defining moments that don’t submit to the calendar. When I lived in New England, the defining moment when I knew summer was over was when I stepped outside and felt that first real chill on a late August/early September morning . Even though it would warm up later in the day, you just knew that the summer was fading into the past, another chapter closing.

Yet there are other seasons of life that are not measured by changing temps and foliage.  I not referring to the four-fold division we use to measure our stages of life, e.g. young years = spring, young adult = summer, etc., but rather the different places we find ourselves that are measured by emotional, spiritual, situational, relational, and even vocational influences. Unlike the four seasons of the natural world, these seasons are not so easily predicted and never truly repeated, yet there are segues and defining moments that are written in to our story by the One who orders our steps by the loving hand of providence.

New Beginnings

Currently our family is experiencing another transition into a new season. After a fast summer of life changes and significant milestones, the Lord is moving us forward. After hundreds of phone calls and letters, along with blog posts and newsletters, the phone is starting to ring. The Lord is bringing forth fruit from our labors. We are now at 30% of our pledged giving. We have had many friends, family, and churches join us on our journey to Cherokee. Yet we have a long way to go, but I truly believe that if everyone we knew pledged just a little right now, we would be in Cherokee at by spring of 2015. Pray for that if you dare.

No Turning Back

Now we are about to embark on our first road trip. We have received numerous invitations to churches in New England and Virginia. Although the full glory of the New England autumn will be gone by the time we get there, we are rejoicing in this new season of life for us. We leave October 28th and return November 6th. We then return to a home gathering on November 7th in Longwood, FL. If you live in the area you are invited. Please pray for a successful and safe trip, that we would be able to awaken people to the need on the Native American reservations that only Christ can solve.

We are also praying that the Lord will enable us to sell or rent our house and live in an RV for the duration of our fundraising effort.  We have a lot of traveling to do, not just this year, but as missionary life requires, we will continually be traveling throughout the years. We have a lot of work to do on our house and a lot of money to raise for an RV.  If you or someone you know has a class C  motor home to give or loan us, please let us know. Does this sound impossible? Yes? Good, even better. We would hate to have you waste time praying for things we could accomplish with our own power.

In the meantime, please venture around our pages to learn more about the Cherokee, what we are hoping to do, and how you can help. We will be posting on our usual social media outlets during our trip. Stay tuned…

www.facebook.com/patrick.r.lennox
Twitter.com/patricklennox
Instagram.com/patrick_lennoxletters

All for His Kingdom!

The Lennoxes

The Lennoxes

 

 

Dear Facebook ‘Friends’

Dear Facebook ‘Friends’

Group of Young People at a Party Sitting on a Couch with Champagne

A toast — to all our Facebook friends!

Dear Facebook ‘Friend,’

Thank you for taking the time to read this message. According to advertising gurus, I am supposed to fill this post with some really good pictures of things that will either inspire you or give you a warm fuzzy feeling to keep you interested in reading, and my word count should not exceed 300. So I will try (and fail) to meet those industry standards and hope you are smarter than a fifth grader and trust you will take some time to read on. If you don’t think you can persevere, jump down to the #ThePoint section below. [insert cute winking smiley face here]

According to our last count on Facebook, we have 603 friends. That means we either sent a friend request to you or we received one from you. Either way, I am glad we are friends. [insert lots of smiley faces in a row here]

I never really used FB much. It was mostly Regina who did all the liking and commenting. I saw many of the viral videos of flash-mobs singing in the mall and tear-jerking pics of cute animals. But over the last six months, I have come to understand the potential social media can have for the kingdom of God. Since March we have been posting about our new direction that the Lord has taken us. So we post, and post, and post, yet with limited response. But then I learned that only 20% of our posts ever get to our ‘Friends.’ I am not even sure what that statistic means. Does it mean that only 20 out of 100 posts get to all 603 friends, or does it mean that 100% of our posts get to 20% or our friends? [insert funny face that looks confused]

#Warning: By the time you finish reading this very long sentence, I will have reached my maximum word count of 300, and I will lose a significant amount of my reading friends to boredom. [insert sad smiley face]

But that is not all that bad, because I just got a FB notification that someone just ‘commented’ on one of Melissa Gill’s photos, which I must say are always beautiful. Behold…

Melissa Gill's photo

Melissa’s inspiring and envy-inducing photo of her neighborhood in Alaska, which 56 of her friends ‘Like.’

#ThePoint

Now to the point. As 20% of you may already know,  we are going to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina to plant a church. We won’t have a worldwide ministry with books, conferences, alliances, and lots of free stuff, nor will we ever reach that level. Nor will there be trendy t-shirts with pictures of Calvin et al smoking a peace pipe with Geronimo and Sitting Bull and a cool Latin phrase signifying ‘Reformation on the Reservations.’ And for the last nail in our coffin, we probably won’t even have an app. Sorry. But we hope our church will raise up missionaries that will go through Native America both on and off the reservations and even throughout the world. Then maybe an app.

As missionaries we need to raise our support to get us there and keep us there. So far we are at about 28% of our goal. Many of our FB friends are already part of that number. For the rest, this is our plea to you:

Would you prayerfully consider pledging $12, $25, $50, $100, $200 per month for at least a four-year period?

If every one of our friends would pledge even at the lowest amount, we would be packing our bags tomorrow. No amount is too small. Really. But don’t wait for the other person to do it. We are depending on you. Churches only account for about 30% of a missionary’s budget. You are the 70%.

#WorkingTogether

If you really have no money to give, you can still help us by connecting us with others who may have a desire to see the kingdom spread throughout the Native American reservations.

Go to the ant! Proverbs 6:6

Go to the ant! Proverbs 6:6

Here’s some other things you could do:

  • Do you attend a Bible study with a mix of people from different churches? Tell them about what we are doing. We will send you some of our prayer cards.
  • Talk to your pastor.
  • Consider having a home gathering at your house with us to share our vision with your friends.
  • And here is the easiest thing you could do: Re-post our FB posts to your friends. Remember that dreaded 20% number.
  • On the upper right hand corner of the pages of this blog is a widget. Click it. It gives you updates whenever they happen. Re-post.
  • Follow us on Twitter and re-Tweet our Tweets.
  • Check out our Newsletter and SUBSCRIBE to keep updated, and pass onto a friend.
  • Commit to pray with us everyday.

We can do more with Facebook and all social media than pour water on our heads and create flash mobs. Please pray about what you can do and act on it before another trendy viral post hits. [insert long string of happy faces with ice water being poured on them as they sing the Hallelujah chorus in a mall]

Truly and seriously, thank you for taking time to read this post and prayerfully considering joining our support team. If you decide to give, simply go to our Giving page. If you would rather call (as we prefer), our number is 407-416-1482 or 407-416-2348. We would love to talk with you.

All for the Kingdom,

Patrick

P.S. You persevered! Congratulations!

Warm Fuzzy

Warm fuzzy photo of girl and puppy

#lennoxletters, #nativeamerica, #missionary, #mtw, #redsox, #Cherokee, #pray, #pledgemoneytothelennoxessotheycangettoCheorkee #icecream #ants #sluggard #funnyfaceinsertinstructions #wearetheseventypercent!