Nov 05, 2015

Native American Heritage Languages WordCloudThe Dakota tribe teaches, “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave behind.” Native American Heritage Month, a national celebration since 1990, honors the contributions and heritage of Native Americans. Also in 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Native American Languages Act, declaring it U.S. policy to “preserve, protect, and promote the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop Native American languages,” including in classrooms, to ensure the survival of these languages. The Act is up for renewal in Congress right now. Read more in a HuffPost blog article by linguistics professor Colleen M Fitzgerald: “7 Things to Know About Native American Languages.

If you have not read A Call to Repentance and Reconciliation on our Website yet, you should. The Rev. Gary Jacabella, pastor of Berwyn UMC and member of our conference’s Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) writes about “The Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous People” and asks us to “recognize the harm inflicted by the Church and celebrate the gifts indigenous people bring to the Church.” Also View CONAM’s Acts of Repentance Powerpoint slides presented during Bishop Peggy Johnson’s Days on the Districts report.

Native American Heritage Month 2015 Theme: Growing Native Leaders, Enhancing Seven GenerationsAlso, come join CONAM and guests for worship and fellowship this Sunday, Nov. 8, at from 4 to 6 PM, and enjoy the awesome autumn weather and foliage at Camp Innabah (712 Pughtown Road, Spring City/Pughtown). Darvin L. Martin, a part-Native American author, lecturer and historian will speak about his book, A Clash of Cultures, sharing findings about his Native and European family roots and the historic interaction between both cultures in the Susquehanna Valley. The gracious and gifted duo Spirit Wing (Barbara Christy and Barry Lee, now members of First UMC Phoenixville) will offer a musical treat, followed by a light meal. Please see and share the event flyer

Several enlightened churches in our conference–for example, Evansburg and Ridge Avenue UMCs–will celebrate Native American heritage and spirituality in worship this month, featuring guest preachers, special music and liturgy. What will your church do to join in that celebration and to educate members about the Native American presence in our nation’s history and our Christian family? As one writer put it, “When the divine experience of Native Americans is interwoven into the divine experience of other Christians, we become whole — not divided by culture, but united in faith.” Learn more…

Main photo: CONAM members Barbara Christy and Barry Lee, now members of First UMC Phoenixville, will perform as Spirit Wind during worship at Camp Innabah on Sunday, Nov. 8 (4 PM). For several years they have opened our Annual Conference sessions by “blessing the ground” that was once inhabited by Native peoples. Here they lead a multiracial procession at the start of the 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference.   Sabrina Daluisio photo