Oct 25, 2021

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

Report submitted by: Sherry Wack
Email: sherrywack222@gmail.com
Phone: (484) 868-2044
Date submitted: 10/25/2021

Recent Events & Activities


EPAUMC CONAM was grateful that we had been using ZOOM for our winter meetings for several years. This made the transition to all virtual meetings and events easier and our schedule did not really change. We always have 2 programs – one in the fall and one in the spring, plus we offer a class in March at the conference-wide Tools for Ministry  workshops and we also have a presentation at Annual Conference in May. All of our programs are recorded and available on our conference website.

EPA CoNAM sends regular updates about events and resources to an email list of Local Church Representatives for Native American Ministries Sunday and additional contacts from workshops and in-person events.

In 2021 we were happy to be able to have tables at in-person Pow Wows in May and again in September.

Here is a run-down of what we did in the past year:

November 8, 2020 – We partnered with CNA (Coalition of Native and Allies) for a Zoom program on Race-Based Mascots. It was well-attended (about 30 some) and we received good feedback.

March 13, 2021 – Our CONAM member Gary Jacabella gave an excellent presentation called Christopher Columbus: It’s Time to Know the Truth! Helping your Church to Learn the True Story of Indigenous Peoples. I learned things I never knew before.

May 5, 2021 – We had 2 events this day – an in-person Pow Wow where we promoted awareness of MMIW by selling postcards, buttons and tee shirts featuring beautiful art created by Paige McNatt, Nanticoke/Lenape from New Jersey. We spoke to many people about this issue. Many thanks to GNJ CONAM who lent us their MMIW banner and poster. As always we included our red dress installation.

May 5, 2021 4:00pm – We presented a Zoom program called We Are Still Here: Outstanding Native Americans Today that highlighted the work and contributions of current Native people in the arts, politics, business, medicine, advocacy, sports and the military.

May 28, 2021 – For our annual conference Bishop Peggy Johnson strongly suggested that since the conference was virtual, instead of presenting a resolution on Indigenous Peoples Day as we had planned, we should make a short video about a subject close to our hearts. So with the help of Thom Whitewolf Fassett we created a 7 minute power point video about voter suppression in Indian Country.

Serptember 11, 2021 – Originally we planned to have a table at Indian Steps Festival, but that was cancelled due to flooding from Hurricane Ida. So we went to a live pow wow at Mauch Chunk Lake sponsored by The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania. Again we borrowed GNJ CONAM’s MMIW banner and poster and had our red dress installation. In addition to the MMIW tees, buttons and postcards, we also had tees and postcards promoting the October 6 event to honor the boarding school children.

In response to a request from Native American International Caucus (NAIC) for October 6 to be designated as a Day of Truth Telling and Repentance regarding the Indian boarding schools, we offered a virtual event that opened with a beautiful and powerful song, He Can Fancy Dance by Cindy Paul, introduction by our secretary, Verna Colliver and liturgy written by Rev. Mary Johnson for the occasion. boe Harris read a poem she wrote about the children buried at Carlisle, and CONAM members Barbara Revere and Mike Shifflet read two stories from people who had experienced Indian boarding schools. We allowed time at the end for discussion. Attendance was good – about 30 people – and we invited participants to join us on November 7 at 4pm for continuing education and discussion on this important issue.

October 15 – Five of our CONAM members attended the virtual Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee.

The EPAUMC conference has been very supportive all of our efforts.

Upcoming Events & Activities

November 7 at 4:00pm CoNam will present our fall program:

The Our Greatest Generation: Federal American Indian Boarding Schools: It All Started Here

Continuing education about how the Indian boarding schools have traumatized Native Americans and continue to devastate Native families for generations. The first federal off-reservation boarding school was in Carlisle, PA. While there were a few success stories, many students were irreparably damaged and many others died, never returning home.