On this day of recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments for all Americans, I would like to take this moment to draw attention to a people group who are usually not at the forefront of our minds when we think about racism, civil rights, and inequality — Native Americans. Below is an excerpt from an article, HOW: Were you informed about Native Americans?, I wrote challenging us to examine our views about Native Americans and consider the ripe mission field in Indian Country.
How many of us have ever gone through the age-old ritual of that standard, cliché, Indian greeting? You know the one where you put on your best blank stare, raise your right hand as if to take an oath in court, and with monotone voice, you say, “HOW.” In case you didn’t know, it’s not a real greeting, and it’s not real funny. But it is a real sign that you may be misinformed about a real people group living among us.
As non-Indian American Christians, let’s turn that around and get informed. Perhaps we can convert an uncouth greeting into a prompt for a series of questions that will better align us with Christ’s purposes:
- How can we better love our unbelieving Native neighbors?
- How can we be better witnesses to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ to Native Americans?
- How can we avoid age-old, man-made stumbling blocks that get in the way of the Great Commission?
- How can we be better brothers and sisters to the Native American church?
- How can we change our assumptions, ignorance, and unchallenged ideas about Native Americans?
- How can we reach out to Native Americans as emissaries of peace for the kingdom of Christ rather than repelling them as just another misinformed generation of non-Native Americans?
- How can we better pray for Native America?
. . . and the list could go on.
All for His Kingdom!