Jan 25, 2022

Committee on Native American Ministries
Chairperson: Sandi Ciancuilli and Sherry Wack

Report submitted by: Sherry Wack
Phone: (484) 868-2044
Date submitted: 01/25/2022

Recent Events & Activities


Since our last report in October 2021 we have had one event. On November 7, 2021, CONAM presented another program about Indian Boarding Schools. Co-chair Sandi Ciancuilli gave a history of Carlisle Indian School. We also showed an interview with Red Cloud School graduate Moka Black Elk, who now works at the school. He talked about how the school has evolved to now honor Lakota culture and even has a language immersion program. We finished with photos and testimonies from 3 other Red Cloud School graduates.

At Red Cloud Indian School’s high school graduation, the members of the class of 2018 completed one more step in their educational journeys.

As each senior received their diploma, families, friends, and school staff applauded all their extraordinary accomplishments. Together they earned nearly a million in college scholarships, and nearly 95 percent are going on to post-secondary education. Red Cloud’s newest graduates will be attending outstanding colleges and universities across the country—from New York University, to the University of Minnesota, to the University of New Mexico—to study everything from social work to engineering.

For new graduate Taylahni Jackson ‘18, Red Cloud’s strong support system had a powerful impact on her and her classmates. This is indeed something to celebrate.  For generations, many reservation students could only dream of going to college. More than 60 percent of children on the reservation live below the poverty line. Statewide in South Dakota, the high school graduation rate for Native American students was less than 50 percent. And life expectancy on the South Dakota Reservations is the lowest in the United States.  Could this Holistic teaching method be a model for success?

Upcoming Events & Activities

At Tools for Ministry on March 5, 2022, CONAM is presenting the following program:

 “Mitakuye Oyasin” (we are all one family) in Action:  Native American Ministries Sunday and Beyond

Looking for help in planning for Native American Ministries Sunday? Want to find resources or ideas on issues like Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the boarding schools, voting rights or Indigenous ways of caring for the earth?  Want to learn about intergenerational trauma, dealing with life issues of depression and suicide and how to develop healing relationships with our Native American brothers and sisters?

CoNAM will give information on a variety of issues that churches or groups may be passionate about and will provide practical tips on how to advocate for solutions, plan a program or launch a ministry project relating to a specific tribal group. The workshop may include breakout groups on a specific topic or issue that your group may want to focus on for NAMS or throughout the year.

Presenters:  EPA CoNAM members

Additional Information

CONAM often works with Circle Legacy, a Native American advocacy group in Lancaster, PA. We also have a relationship with Rev. Calvin Hill, pastor of Blackfeet United Methodist Parish in Browning, Montana, as well as Coalition of Natives and Allies in Pennsylvania.