Native and Christian

James Treat, ed, Native and Christian: Indigenous Voices on Religious Identity in the United States and Canada (New York: Rutledge, 1996)

Treat - Native and Christian
I've owned this book for several years and I read it once long ago, but it came up as a selection for a clergy book club in which I participate and I thought that it would be worth a fresh look. Since I started his book blog after I had read the book, I haven't ever reviewed it in this place.

The book contains essays by friends Rosemary McCombs Maxey and Stan McKay as well as by famous writers such as Vine Deloris, Jr, William Baldridge, and Robert Warrior. It concludes with five personal stories about the interface of Christianity and Native Culture.

This isn't the great key to understanding religion and the dynamics of Christianity in the near-genocide and forced reservation life of indigenous peoples of the U.S. and Canada, but it does convey some truth and provide insight into the complex dynamics of the mix of culture and religion.

One of the things that is confusing to me is that several of the writers don't seem to make the distinction between traditional Native ways and more recent phenomenon. Pow Wows, the Native American Church, and other 20th Century phenomena are handled right next to ancient traditions and stories that have been told for millennia.

It was clearly worth a second read, and I am grateful for the effort put into producing the book, but there are many more conversations that need to be held as we seek to extend our relationship with native congregations.