FERN CLOUD, EDWIN SCHENK, JIM BEAR JACOBS, MODERATED BY KYLE ROBERTS
The relationship between Christianity and native communities is complicated. On one hand, Christianity as a Western imperial religion has contributed to the subjugation of indigenous communities around the globe. On the other, as Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) argued over a hundred years ago, indigenous spiritualities may be closer to the early spirit of Christianity than that which has been passed down through Western civilization. Both of these realities will be explored. We will unpack the imperial categories still embedded within Western theology through a narrating of native history and ongoing experience, while we also explore indigenous spirituality as a lens through which to understand what it means to follow the way of Jesus today. Contra ideologies of conquest, discovery, and now “unlimited growth” in the West, indigenous spiritualities argue that it is against human nature to live selfishly—rather, we are created to live in harmony with others and creation. Amidst the unsustainability of the global market today, this dialogue will explore mutuality and a sustainable way of being as central to the way of Jesus.
- Fern Cloud is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate. She is Bdewakantuan and Wahpetuan. She currently pastors at the Pejuhutazizi Presbyterian Church on the Upper Sioux Community near Granite Falls, MN.
- Edwin Schenk (Lac View Desert Ojibwa/Cheyenne River Sioux) is a M.A. student at Luther Seminary. His thesis deals with the literary presentation of Canaanites in the Old Testament. He is Pentecostal with roots in traditional Lakota life.
- Jim Bear Jacobs is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, an American Indian tribe located in central Wisconsin. He has degrees in Pastoral Studies and Christian Theology and has served various churches. He is a cultural facilitator in the Twin Cities and works to raise the public’s awareness of American Indian causes and injustices. He is a convener of “Healing Minnesota Stories,” a committee dedicated to creating events of dialogue and education particularly within faith communities.
- Kyle Roberts, Moderator (Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Lead Faculty for Christian Thought at Bethel Seminary. He recently completed his first book on Kierkegaard and postmodernity.
- Native American Theology Panel moderated by Kyle Roberts