Restoring America -Carl Townsend

“Paralysis (masquerading as “confusion”) haunts every man when a looming decision will require a lot of us.”
John Eldredge

Restoring America

Founding Fathers

I want to see American restored. Like Nehemiah, I share a deep pain for my country (America) that has lost its way – no visioon, no passion, no leadership, no freedom, and no security. It hurts. There is a deep, deep burden there to see the America again for which those early forefathers bought with, sometimes, their lives.

In this lostness I see two churches. One is a church that tries to adapt to a dying culture and paradigm. This church, as in Germany before World War II, is experiencing a slow death in America. The members hardly recognize their dying and they continue to do what they’ve always done as the nation continues to fall, trying to adept to a failing culture. This is the cultural church.

The other is the confessional church. This Church sees there is a war, a spiritual war. They move to the front line, risking everything. Like Nehemiah, they take on the burden, the pain. We see Nehemiah praying and fasting for 40 days, asking God to forgive him and the nation. In World War II Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a part of this Church.

So I asked God what this meant for me.

I felt led to begin a multi-book Christian fictional novel that shows a path to national rebirth.

The story follows the strategies identified by George Otis (see his Informed Intercession: Transforming Your Community Through Spiritual Mapping and Strategic Prayer) where Otis found total transformation (spiritual, political, economic, healing, agricultural) had already started in certain cities and regions. The key components that were always there in each story included persevering leadership, fervent, united prayer, and often power encounters, diagnostic research and spiritual mapping. The basic problem today lies not with a particular person or political party, but rather is spiritual. There is a real war going on, and God calls you to be a part of it.

I started by defining some aspects of this story in the novel. In the first book of the series, the leadership is established.

The story is positive, uplifting, and exciting. You see hope and faith. The bad guys don’t stand a chance. God is in charge and this Church is committed to God’s authority.

  • The story has mystery, adventure, romance, risk, suspense.
  • It’s a heart story. Lots of hearts, romance, and love.
  • It is a VERY positive story full of hope and faith. The bad guys are out of the WH and Congress by the end of the first book. From that there is a lot of healing to do.
  • The conflict is real. We almost lose our protagonists at times. The actions of the bad guys, however, don’t dominate the story line. The story is driven from the characters and their relationships.
  • The story is biblically-based.
  • The plot line and story is believable. It is built from the stories of what God has done in my life and the lives of others. Sure, there are miracles, but no magic hat tricks.
  • Lots of music. Music is one of the only activities that activates, stimulates, and uses the entire brain. Book 2, in particular, has even more than Book 1. Dancers as well. It is no accident that Psalms is the longest book in the Bible.
  • There is overt and some direct evangelism in the story.
  • The story is highly mythic. The story begins with a lone young man striking out on a desolate wilderness trail to find a spiritual community he has heard about. The wilderness is not only physical, but also emotional and spiritual. In the second chapter there is a mist, a river, and more. All are mythic symbols. At the beginning our young man is frustrated, unable to change anything from his cultural church. In the second chapter he is frustrated, lost in a mist (another symbol), and has fallen on the ground and lying in the trail. He can hear the river (another symbol) and struggles to find the water he needs. It is at this point he meets the confessional Church.

You see all of these in Book 1. An early copy of my first chapter is online and free here. (The map in the chapter can be blown up on the PC using Shift-Ctrl buttons on the keyboard & mouse), the entire book is at Amazon.com. I’m working on Book 2 now. It is really fun.

Get involved – Let’s restore America

Book 1, Breaking Light: Birth of a Hero is already out and and can be ordered from Amazon.com:

Breaking Light: Birth of a Hero (PB)- $11.00 by Carl Townsend More information (“fiction”)
First book in a fictional novel series about what happens in America when then the Nehemiah strategies are applied.

Read the First Chapter Free

Here is Carl’s book on the Nehemiah story:

Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality – $18.86 by Carl Townsend (PB) (Non-fiction)
Carl in this book tells the story of Nehemiah. The nation was without vision, passion, or security.. Sounds like America today! He turned the nation completely around in 52 days. At the same time he faced internal and external warfare.

 What”s Next?

Carl is hard at work on Book 2 in the Breaking Light series. The working title is Breaking Light: The Healing of the Hearts. Don’t expect a lot of political games as the new President begins his term. He is far, far more interested in seeing healing and being a catalyst for healing. Lots more music. The President is shifting leadership to the people and making the government smaller and less visible. Also you will discover the back story of the first book made visible in Book 2.

Native Americans in the Portland Area

Native Americans in the Portland Area

by Carl Townsend (written in 1997 from 1990- Census data)
with great help from Richard Twiss and David Hopkins

Richard Twiss

Tribute to Richard Twiss

The Native American “community” is a complex one. There are some 240 Native American languages spoken on a daily basis in North America. Many of the tribal languages are as different from each other as Russian and Filipino, or French and Chinese. What is of great importance in one tribe may be of little or no value in another. It is a great mistake to talk about native people as being the same or sharing a single world view. Yet at the same time there are many commonalities that they share. This paper endeavors to list some of the most significant values many of the tribes have in common.

Indian people today are faced with living in a modern world. Some have maintained a strong cultural lifestyle. English use named as a second language; traditional religion, if practiced, social structures, and personal identity are very traditional. Others have adopted more of the Euro-American social and cultural values. Others yet have fully melted into the mainstream of the U.S. culture. Nearly all of these, though, fully identify strongly with their native ancestry and heritage. They are a people with a proud yet painful history. They believe, for the most part, that the future can be good. Many have come to know that only Jesus Christ and following His ways can provide the power, solutions, and assurance of a better tomorrow. To quote Richard Twiss, a Portland area Native American leader, “Jesus Christ is the chief Shepherd and the Elder of our souls.”

Native American Demographics

Native American girl Native American demographic analysis is difficult due to many factors. Indians have a spectrum of skin color from white to black, from blue-eyed blonds to the dark skins of some of the Southwestern Indians that intermarried with runaway slaves. Blood quantum is the primary criteria for establishing someone as Indian, but the requirement varies from the near zero requirement of the Cherokee Nation (just trace ancestry back to the 1906 tribal rolls) to the 5/8 requirement of the Utes of Utah. Most require 1/4 to 1/2. The government only requires the individual to meet the requirements of the specified tribe. Tribes also intermarry. Social groups can then be classified as full-blood, tribally-mixed blood, and racially mixed bloods. In the past there was also wide-spread sexual interaction between the Indians and Europeans. Settler life was rife with hardships, and as a result an acute shortage of European women. Because of this imbalance, there was widespread sexual interaction between European men and Indian women.

At the time of the initial European contact, there were from 800,000 to 30 million Indians in North and South America. The exact number is unknown. When Columbus reached America, there were about 5 million in the continental United States. There were about 500 tribes and 300 languages.

By 1900 (400 years), this was reduced to 237,000 Indians. By 1950 this had grown to 357,000. The 1990 Census showed about 1.9 million. Of this 437,431 lived on reservations (23%) and 1,436,105 in urban areas (77%). The two groups have close family ties and interact culturally.

Oregon has 38,496 American Indians (1990 Census) and ranks 14th among the states in Indian population. About 1.4% of the state is American Indian. The largest Native American populations are in Oklahoma, California, Arizona, and New Mexico (in that order). The states with the largest percentages Indian are New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Dakota (in that order).

In Portland, the Native Americans are the largest unreached people group. The 1990 Census showed approximately 10,000 Native Americans in the Tri-county area, or about .9% of the population (Figure A.1). Dave Hopkins, a cross-cultural missionary in the area with Interact Ministries, estimated the city had a Native American population (1993) of about 14,000, which ranks it below Los Angeles (87,487 in 1990), San Francisco (40,847), Seattle-Tacoma (32,017), and San Diego (20,066) in west coast city Indian populations. Portland has only two evangelical Native American churches. One church is non-denominational All Tribes Fellowship, the second is an AMA church. Dave Hopkins estimates only .002 of the Indian population (.2 %) attends an evangelical church.

Portland’s Native American population is one of the lowest Native American population of all West Coast cities, but the city provides more services for the Native American than many other cities. For this reason the cultural sensitivity in the area is very high.


The Native American WorldView

For the church to reach the Native American, it must first understand the context, or the culture in which it witnesses (see Acts 17). The Native American worldview has nine distinct characteristics.

1. There is no natural/supernatural dichotomy.

The Western culture has adopted a worldview with the spiritual realm (Supernatural) apart from the natural world. The natural world obeys scientific laws. In this worldview the events we see always have causes, and miraculous interventions are quite out of the ordinary. There is a sacred versus secular view of reality.

In truth, there is what contemporary theologians are referring to as the “excluded middle”. In this world view, God can and does intervene in our world creating His Kingdom. Miracles are ordinary. The Native Americans have always held the view that the dichotomy did not exist. From this perspective the Native American worldview is much closer to the Biblical worldview concept.

2. Native Americans have a worldview that places them at one with nature.

This is in contrast with the Western culture worldview that places man as master over nature. In the Western culture, man assumes Nature’s resources can be exploited, manipulated, and consumed for the purpose of profit. Native Americans perceive a balanced relationship between man and the environment.

The Biblical viewpoint is that man has been given authority over nature (Genesis 1:28-30). Man has been given this authority in stewardship; that is, man is held accountable as to how he uses these.

3. The Native American has a qualitative view of time.

This is in contrast to the quantitative view of time held by the Western culture. To the Native American, an event begins when it is appropriate. As with the Hebrew world view, Indian events occur in a certain time-phase, or zeitgestalt. Decisions are made at opportune, or kairos, moments. Most Indian languages have no time symbols. Priority belongs to the significant thing that is being done at the present time.

This is in contrast to the commodity view of time held by the Western culture. In this Euro-American view, time can be sold, purchased, borrowed, wasted, killed, made up, or (if you run afoul of the law) done.

4. The Native American sees land as something that can not be owned by the individual, and some land (such as the mountains) as sacred.

This is in contrast to the Western cultural view, which treats land as a commodity like time. The concept of individual land ownership was alien to the Indians. The concept that the white man “stole” the Indian’s land is alien to the Indian world view, as also the idea that someone could purchase land from the Indians. The issue of land ownership has been one of the main sources of conflict between the Western culture and the Native American culture.

5. The Native American is much more subject to familial and peer pressure than the Westerner.

The American culture admires individualism and anyone who overcomes unsurmountable odds to make it on their own. The Native American, in contrast, is much more subject to cultural, familial and peer pressure, and often fails to “succeed” because of strong pressures from the family or the community. A decision for Christ threatens the integrity of the group or family, making it appear as if the new convert is rejecting his or her family.

6. Power to the Native American has meant the ability to achieve a bountiful harvest, successful hunt, or a healthy birth. The Indian way is to seek power by worshipping the sun, Mother Earth, and the spirit world. Power is often accomplished through traditional ceremonies.

In the Western culture, power is generally associated with the accumulation of money, land, possessions, knowledge, or fame. Success is equated with the accumulation of these.

To the Native American with its supernatural orientation, if a hunt fails or a baby dies, it has been because he or she did not have enough power. If there is sickness, the question was “Who caused this?”, not what. The name of the game is to accumulate enough power to survive in a mysterious world. There is a particular concern of powerlessness among the Native Americans today, hence a new reach for the power they believe they have lost. Even the Indians who have accepted Christ often believe they remain powerless, and as a result have far more faith in their traditional rituals than the church rites in bringing them peace, happiness, and success.

Traditional ceremonies were thought to give the Indian power. For this reason there is a strong move in the contemporary Native American cultures to restore many traditional ceremonies, such as the “Sun Dance”.

In the spiritual realm, power is dunamis, the ability to do (1 Cor. 4:20). Unfortunately, the Indian often “adds on” to his existing rituals and ceremonies his or her new faith rather than trusting Christ completely. Christ cannot take His place at the center of the Indian’s worldview until He is perceived as the Source of power (dunamis): past, present, and future. This raises a theological dilemma. Has the new dispensational supernatural world view of the church today hindered the receptiveness of a people group whose functional belief system is supernatural?

7. In the Native American view, children are raised participating in adult activities.

Native American children are taught they must respect and obey their parents because of the sacrifices of the parents. The children are taught that as they are weak, the parents are strong for them. As the parents become old, they become weak and the children, now adults, must care for them. Families ties are close, and often a behavior problem of a family member is hidden to protect the family unit.

This is in contrast with the Western cultural view, where adults participate in the children’s activities. The care of the elderly, impoverished, and the sick is often delegated to some type of institutional care, whether private or governmental.

8. Native Americans see themselves as part of a large social unit (such as an extended family) and are much more supportive of each other’s needs than in the Western culture.

Native Americans do not need to be reminded to meet their brother’s or sister’s needs. They do it instinctively. They feed each other, clothe the poor, provide shelter, and quickly provide other emergency needs.

9. The Indians have a very spiritual outlook on life.

Although there is much variation of the spiritual expression within the different tribes, the are some common expressions. All Indian tribes believe in one Supreme Being. The peace pipe is considered a medium of prayer to the Great Spirit and attending spirits for many plains tribes. Failing to show respect for the pipe or using it improperly could be viewed as a cause for disaster.

The first Nations, with their tribal religions, often worshipped corruptible images of man, birds, and reptiles. The tribes of the Northwest coast have been called the children of the Raven. The Raven was known as the trickster-creator. Many of these Indians believed their “cultural hero” (raven) created the world and could assume the form of a man or bird. He lived an immortal life, and could change like the wind.

The Indians of the Northwest, for example, maintained a close cosmic relationship to animal life. Many of the tribes believed that the Salmon people in the underworld put on the dress of salmon each year and sacrificed themselves as food for mankind and the animals. In order not to offend the Salmon people, these Indians took the salmon bones and returned them to the water so that the Salmon people would return the next season.

Some Northwest Indians also believed in the sisiut, a double-headed serpent. He was both evil and good, with powerful means of divination. The families of the Northwest also had their totem spirits. The entrance to each home was marked with this totem spirit.

The primary person in the tribe with the greatest power with the spirit world was the shaman. The shaman had the power to heal, to find lost things, and to predict the future. The bear spirit for many tribes was the spirit of the shaman. If the shaman in the tribe failed to cure a disease and the patient was lost, the shaman was at risk from vengeance-seeking relatives. This custom put the early missionaries with their abilities to heal using medicines and prayer at risk when they “failed”.

For most North American tribal people, salvation is achieved by restoring order and balance in nature. It will occur in the hereafter, but he seems to gain some of it in the mortal life. The cultural observances and rites are a means to this end. To the Christian, in contrast, the relationship between God and man is restored only through Jesus Christ.

The contrast of the world view with the white culture is perhaps best seen in a speech given by Chief Seattle in 1854 as he watched the disappearance of the Indian. Although not theological correct in places from a Judeo-Christian perspective, it summarized the Indian world view:

Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph

“Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water

but the blood of our ancestors.

Each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes

tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The rivers are our brothers; they quench our thirst;

they carry our canoes and feed our children.

So you must give to the rivers the kindness we would give to any brother.

Remember that the air is precious to us;

that the air shares the spirit of all the life that it supports.

The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath

also receives his last sigh.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children,

that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls all the sons in the earth.

This we know – the earth does not belong to man.

Man belongs to the earth.

Tribe follows tribe and nation follows nation,

like the waves of the sea.

It is the order of nature, and regret is useless.

And when the last Red man shall have perished

and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth to the white man;

these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe.

Tonight when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you will think them deserted,

they will throng with the returning host that once filled

and still love this beautiful land.

The white man will never be alone.”

The Indians viewed the land, mountains, rivers, animals, and lakes all as sacred. Mount Rainier in Washington was one of the most sacred mountains of all. Spirit Lake (near Mount St. Helens) was named from a Salish word and was believed to haunted by evil spirits of destruction.


Trends in the Native American Culture

1. The Native American family, though strongly intact, has become increasingly unstable

This is due to a number of factors:

  • the loss of economic base and its impoverishment.
  • the decline of the role of the male.
  • the increasing role of the government in providing family functions.

The results of this instability include:

  • lack of control; that is, the family is less able to control its members.
  • loss of role models.
  • loss of emotional security.
  • increase in strife between families.
  • increased use of alcohol.
  • youth and behavior problems.
  • academic underachievement.
  • increase in homelessness.
  • more child neglect and abuse.

With the disintegration of the family unit, the children suffer the most.

  • In 1988 on the Macah Reservation in Neah Bay in NW Washington there were 42 births, 85% of which were to unmarried women.
  • In 1988 on the Warm Springs Reservation east of Portland there were 130 births, of which 70% were to unmarried women.
  • Divorce rates for Native American women are 2-3 times higher than for U.S. Whites.
  • There is a dramatic rise in children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. FAS is 33 times higher than with non-Indians.
  • Teen suicide is five times the national average for Native American boys and girls. One in six adolescents have attempted suicide.
  • Alcohol mortality is 10 times the rate of all other combined races In Portland this is 23.7 per 100,000 (1987) versus 6.0 for the U.S. as a whole..
  • Tuberculosis is 7.4 times greater than the normal. In Portland, the rate of Tuberculosis among the Indians is 4.7 per 100,000 (1987) versus .5 per 100,000 for the U.S. as a whole.
  • Diabetes is 6.8 times higher than with non-Indians. In Portland this is 26.9 per 100,000 (1987) versus 9.8 for the U.S. as a whole.

2. There is a disintegration of traditional Male Role

The two primary areas for a man to prove himself in the past were in warring and hunting. Warriors risked their lives for the good of the community. They had respect, self-worth, and a sense of pride. As hunters, they provided for their family: food, clothing, and shelter. This gave a man honor, respect, and self-esteem.

Once confined to their reservations, the ability to wage war and hunt declined. With this came the disintegration of the male role in the family. Today studies show the role of the male has changed. Surveys have shown that in 81% of the full-blood families the woman is the decision-maker. The average life expectancy of Indian men is 45 years (Richard Twiss).

3. There is a movement to tribalism.

An Indian may say they are not an Indian, or Canadian. “I am a Blackfoot.”. There are 240 Indian tribes in North American. The tribal movement, with its accompanying rituals and customs, is often an attempt to gain the power they have lost. A growing number identify themselves as being from their nation; Sioux Nation, Navajo Nation, Apache Nation, etc.. Today, the term “reservation” is no longer appropriate in referring to Indian lands. The political correct term for the Indian lands is nations.

4. There is a movement to urbanization.

The Native Americans, like most of the world, are experiencing a movement to the cities and urban centers. Today 54% of the Native Americans in the United States live in the cities. In 1952 Congress passed the Relocation Act, which was designed to move the Indians from the reservations to the cities and to assimilate them better into the culture. In both Canada and America, these policies started a much larger migration of the Indians to the cities than expected. The cities provide education and jobs. The result has been three classes of the Native Americans: those that assimilate into the Anglo society, the street Indians (jobless and poor), and a working class of Indians that assimilate into the white man’s world to survive, but still maintain Indian values and perspectives. Most natives are in this working class.

5. There is a movement to pan-Indianism.

Although Native Americans consider themselves tribal, there are many common cultural values. Urbanization, with its powwows and Urban Indian Centers, has contributed to this pan-Indian movement. Braids and beads often identify Indians as a group culturally, distinguishing them from other ethnic groups. The changes to their common culture is irreversible, and by coming together as a group they can define some common identity factors and exert more cultural power.

6. There is a movement to sovereignty.

Native Americans wants sovereignty, land rights, and autonomy. They want the rights and privileges of nationhood. At the same time, however, they don’t wish to give up the government services and privileges they have been granted through treaties with the U.S. Congress.

7. There is a movement to equality.

To achieve equality and leadership skills today, more Native American are seeing the need for higher education. Yet Native Americans have one of the highest dropout rates in high school in the country. Many are actually more “pushed out” of the system by prejudice and economics. There is a strong interest on the part of the Indians to study law in an effort to improve the standing of the Indian in society.

8. There is a movement to justice and reconciliation.

There is more sensitivity on the part of both the Indians and the non-Indians today about the issues of injustice and the need for reconciliation. To the Native American, land cannot be “owned”. In 1971 The government awarded the Alaska natives 40 million acres and $962.5 billion.

9. There is a movement to Peyotism and Indian religions.

About 1890 an Indian movement began in Southwest U.S. that centered around the hallucinogenic drug mescaline (derived from the peyote bud). This eventually flowed into the Native American Church (NAC), which was incorporated in 1918. Although some attempts have been made to curtail the use of the drug, the courts have protected the religious use of the drug.

Some expressions of the NAC blend worship experiences using the Bible, hymns, and singing with the peyote experience in a fashion said to be syncretistic; that is, the new religious expressions are blended with former traditions. Although this movement claims only a small number of members, other forms of tribal religion continue to grow in popularity. As religion is a center of life for the Indian, this is not surprising. The expressions involve sweat lodges, sweet grass, and the pipe. The expressions share much in common with the popular New Age movement.

10. There is a movement to Christianity.

Christianity is moving today among the Native Americans as a result of three key factors. First, today’s missionaries are slowly becoming more culturally aware. They identify with the people, acknowledge Native people are equal before God, have respect for the Indian history, and are committed to indigenous leadership. These same missionaries, however, have a double dilemma. They are cultural outsiders who must both unmask the Indian’s spiritism as well as the westernized and materialistic view of their own culture.

Second, national Christian native movements are having success in North America. CHIEF (Christian Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship), NEF (Native Evangelical Fellowship of Canada), and NANCC (North American Native Christian Council) are examples.

Third, local churches and denominations are identifying the Native Americans as a hidden people group and mapping strategies to reach them.


Native American Bibliography:

Berreman, Joel V.. Tribal Distribution in Oregon. Menasha, WI: American Anthropological Association, 1969

Hopkins, David. The Team Approach to Indigenous Church Planting Among Native Americans. Boring, OR: InterAct Ministries, 1993.

Lamb and Shultz. More Indian Lore. Manchester, IN: L.W. Shultz, 1968.

Ruby, Robert H. and Brown, John. Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981

Russell, George. The American Indian Digest. Phoenix, AZ: Thunderbird Enterprises, 1993

Twiss, Richard. Introduction to Native American Worldview. Vancouver, WA: New Discovery Community Church. 1994.

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2013, Carl Townsend

 

 

Thank you God for giving us Richard Twiss for a time.

Richard TwissWeeping.
Richard Twiss passed on the Glory today, February 9, 2013.
For more information see the official post and log at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wiconi-International/217872990129

Take the time to read the comments coming in.

Also read the wiki on Richard Twiss at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Twiss

Pray (and praying) for Richard Twiss

Richard Twiss

Tita Parham, e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

One leading soldier in the Christian faith is fighting for his life today. Richard Twiss, a major leader in bridging with Native Americans and internationally on reconciliation issues, had a major heart attack last Wednesday in Washington, D.C. and is on life support at a hospital there. My own prayer burden for my friend has been so heavy I’ve had a hard time getting any other work done. Facebooking this on the Internet, I get replies from others, “me, too”. I took a break last Thursday for dinner (really, for me a prayer dinner) with a lady friend that also knows Richard. We were at the restaurant until it closed. Thank you Donna, that time was very healing.

The web page that is tracking related news is at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wiconi-International/217872990129

Please join thousands of others in faith and prayer for his healing.

Why Native American Churches are Hard to Find


by Carl Townsend (written in 1997 from 1990- Census data). Thanks to Dave Hopkins and Richard Twiss who helped me.


The Native American "community" is a complex one. There are some 240
Native American languages spoken on a daily basis in North America. Many of
the tribal languages are as different from each other as Russian and Filipino,
or French and Chinese. What is of great importance in one tribe may be of little
or no value in another. It is a great mistake to talk about native people as
being the same or sharing a single world view. Yet at the same time there are
many commonalties that they share. This paper endeavors to list some of the
most significant values many of the tribes have in common.


Indian people today are faced with living in a modern world. Some have maintained
a strong cultural lifestyle. English is used as a second language; traditional
religion, if practiced, social structures, and personal identity are very traditional.
Others have adopted more of the Euro-American social and cultural values. Others
yet have fully melted into the mainstream of the U.S. culture. Nearly all of
these, though, fully identify strongly with their native ancestry and heritage.
They are a people with a proud yet painful history. They believe, for the most
part, that the future can be good. Many have come to know that only Jesus Christ
and following His ways can provide the power, solutions, and assurance of a
better tomorrow. To quote Richard Twiss, a Portland area Native American leader,
"Jesus Christ is the chief Shepherd and the Elder of our souls."

Native American Demographics



Native American demographic analysis is difficult due to many factors. Indians
have a spectrum of skin color from white to black, from blue-eyed blonds to
the dark skins of some of the Southwestern Indians that intermarried with runaway
slaves. Blood quantum is the primary criteria for establishing someone as Indian,
but the requirement varies from the near zero requirement of the Cherokee Nation
(just trace ancestry back to the 1906 tribal rolls) to the 5/8 requirement of
the Utes of Utah. Most require 1/4 to 1/2. The government only requires the
individual to meet the requirements of the specified tribe. Tribes also intermarry.
Social groups can then be classified as full-blood, tribally-mixed blood, and
racially mixed bloods. In the past there was also wide-spread sexual interaction
between the Indians and Europeans. Settler life was rife with hardships, and
as a result an acute shortage of European women. Because of this imbalance,
there was widespread sexual interaction between European men and Indian women.


At the time of the initial European contact, there were from 800,000 to 30 million
Indians in North and South America. The exact number is unknown. When Columbus
reached America, there were about 5 million in the continental United States.
There were about 500 tribes and 300 languages.


By 1900 (400 years), this was reduced to 237,000 Indians. By 1950 this had grown
to 357,000. The 1990 Census showed about 1.9 million. Of this 437,431 lived
on reservations (23%) and 1,436,105 in urban areas (77%). The two groups have
close family ties and interact culturally.


Oregon has 38,496 American Indians (1990 Census) and ranks 14th among the states
in Indian population. About 1.4% of the state is American Indian. The largest
Native American populations are in Oklahoma, California, Arizona, and New Mexico
(in that order). The states with the largest percentages Indian are New Mexico,
Oklahoma, and South Dakota (in that order).


In Portland, the Native Americans are the largest unreached people group. The
1990 Census showed approximately 10,000 Native Americans in the Tri-county area,
or about .9% of the population (Figure A.1). Dave Hopkins, a cross-cultural
missionary in the area with Interact Ministries, estimated the city had a Native
American population (1993) of about 14,000, which ranks it below Los Angeles
(87,487 in 1990), San Francisco (40,847), Seattle-Tacoma (32,017), and San Diego
(20,066) in west coast city Indian populations. Portland has only two evangelical
Native American churches. One church is non-denominational All Tribes Fellowship,
the second is an AMA church. Dave Hopkins estimates only .002 of the Indian
population (.2 %) attends an evangelical church.


Portland’s Native American population is one of the lowest Native American population
of all West Coast cities, but the city provides more services for the Native
American than many other cities. For this reason the cultural sensitivity in
the area is very high.


The Native American WorldView


For the church to reach the Native American, it must first understand the context,
or the culture in which it witnesses (see Acts 17). The Native American worldview
has nine distinct characteristics.

1. There is no natural/supernatural dichotomy.


The Western culture has adopted a worldview with the spiritual realm (Supernatural)
apart from the natural world. The natural world obeys scientific laws. In this
worldview the events we see always have causes, and miraculous interventions
are quite out of the ordinary. There is a sacred versus secular view of reality.


In truth, there is what contemporary theologians are referring to as the "excluded
middle". In this world view, God can and does intervene in our world creating
His Kingdom. Miracles are ordinary. The Native Americans have always held the
view that the dichotomy did not exist. From this perspective the Native American
worldview is much closer to the Biblical worldview concept.

2. Native Americans have a worldview that places them at one with nature.


This is in contrast with the Western culture worldview that places man as master
over nature. In the Western culture, man assumes Nature’s resources can be exploited,
manipulated, and consumed for the purpose of profit. Native Americans perceive
a balanced relationship between man and the environment.


The Biblical viewpoint is that man has been given authority over nature (Genesis
1:28-30). Man has been given this authority in stewardship; that is, man is
held accountable as to how he uses these.

3. The Native American has a qualitative view of time.


This is in contrast to the quantative view of time held by the Western culture.
To the Native American, an event begins when it is appropriate. As with the
Hebrew world view, Indian events occur in a certain time-phase, or zeitgestalt.
Decisions are made at opportune, or kairos, moments. Most Indian languages
have no time symbols. Priority belongs to the significant thing that is being
done at the present time.


This is in contrast to the commodity view of time held by the Western culture.
In this Euro-American view, time can be sold, purchased, borrowed, wasted, killed,
made up, or (if you run afoul of the law) done.

4. The Native American sees land as something that can not be owned by the individual,
and some land (such as the mountains) as sacred.


This is in contrast to the Western cultural view, which treats land as a commodity
like time. The concept of individual land ownership was alien to the Indians.
The concept that the white man "stole" the Indian’s land is alien
to the Indian world view, as also the idea that someone could purchase land
from the Indians. The issue of land ownership has been one of the main sources
of conflict between the Western culture and the Native American culture.

5. The Native American is much more subject to familial and peer pressure than
the Westerner.


The American culture admires individualism and anyone who overcomes insurmountable
odds to make it on their own. The Native American, in contrast, is much more
subject to cultural, familial and peer pressure, and often fails to "succeed"
because of strong pressures from the family or the community. A decision for
Christ threatens the integrity of the group or family, making it appear as if
the new convert is rejecting his or her family.

6. Power to the Native American has meant the ability to achieve a bountiful harvest, successful hunt, or a healthy birth. The Indian way is to seek power by worshiping the sun, Mother Earth, and the spirit world. Power is often accomplished through traditional ceremonies.


In the Western culture, power is generally associated with the accumulation
of money, land, possessions, knowledge, or fame. Success is equated with the
accumulation of these.


To the Native American with its supernatural orientation, if a hunt fails or
a baby dies, it has been because he or she did not have enough power. If there
is sickness, the question was "Who caused this?", not what. The name
of the game is to accumulate enough power to survive in a mysterious world.
There is a particular concern of powerlessness among the Native Americans today,
hence a new reach for the power they believe they have lost. Even the Indians
who have accepted Christ often believe they remain powerless, and as a result
have far more faith in their traditional rituals than the church rites in bringing
them peace, happiness, and success.


Traditional ceremonies were thought to give the Indian power. For this reason
there is a strong move in the contemporary Native American cultures to restore
many traditional ceremonies, such as the "Sun Dance".


In the spiritual realm, power is dunamis, the ability to do (1 Cor. 4:20).
Unfortunately, the Indian often "adds on" to his existing rituals
and ceremonies his or her new faith rather than trusting Christ completely.
Christ cannot take His place at the center of the Indian’s worldview until He
is perceived as the Source of power (dunamis): past, present, and future.
This raises a theological dilemma. Has the new dispensational supernatural world
view of the church today hindered the receptiveness of a people group whose
functional belief system is supernatural?

7. In the Native American view, children are raised participating in adult activities.


Native American children are taught they must respect and obey their parents
because of the sacrifices of the parents. The children are taught that as they
are weak, the parents are strong for them. As the parents become old, they become
weak and the children, now adults, must care for them. Families ties are close,
and often a behavior problem of a family member is hidden to protect the family
unit.


This is in contrast with the Western cultural view, where adults participate
in the children’s activities. The care of the elderly, impoverished, and the
sick is often delegated to some type of institutional care, whether private
or governmental.

8. Native Americans see themselves as part of a large social unit (such as an extended family) and are much more supportive of each other’s needs than in the Western culture.


Native Americans do not need to be reminded to meet their brother’s or sister’s
needs. They do it instinctively. They feed each other, clothe the poor, provide
shelter, and quickly provide other emergency needs.

9. The Indians have a very spiritual outlook on life.


Although there is much variation of the spiritual expression within the different
tribes, the are some common expressions. All Indian tribes believe in one Supreme
Being. The peace pipe is considered a medium of prayer to the Great Spirit and
attending spirits for many plains tribes. Failing to show respect for the pipe
or using it improperly could be viewed as a cause for disaster.


The first Nations, with their tribal religions, often worshipped corruptible
images of man, birds, and reptiles. The tribes of the Northwest coast have been
called the children of the Raven. The Raven was known as the trickster-creator.
Many of these Indians believed their "cultural hero" (raven) created
the world and could assume the form of a man or bird. He lived an immortal life,
and could change like the wind.


The Indians of the Northwest, for example, maintained a close cosmic relationship
to animal life. Many of the tribes believed that the Salmon people in the underworld
put on the dress of salmon each year and sacrificed themselves as food for mankind
and the animals. In order not to offend the Salmon people, these Indians took
the salmon bones and returned them to the water so that the Salmon people would
return the next season.


Some Northwest Indians also believed in the sisiut, a double-headed serpent.
He was both evil and good, with powerful means of divination. The families of
the Northwest also had their totem spirits. The entrance to each home was marked
with this totem spirit.


The primary person in the tribe with the greatest power with the spirit world
was the shaman. The shaman had the power to heal, to find lost things, and to
predict the future. The bear spirit for many tribes was the spirit of the shaman.
If the shaman in the tribe failed to cure a disease and the patient was lost,
the shaman was at risk from vengeance-seeking relatives. This custom put the
early missionaries with their abilities to heal using medicines and prayer at
risk when they "failed".


For most North American tribal people, salvation is achieved by restoring order
and balance in nature. It will occur in the hereafter, but he seems to gain
some of it in the mortal life. The cultural observances and rites are a means
to this end. To the Christian, in contrast, the relationship between God and
man is restored only through Jesus Christ.


The contrast of the world view with the white culture is perhaps best seen in
a speech given by Chief Seattle in 1854 as he watched the disappearance of the
Indian. Although not theological correct in places from a Judeo-Christian perspective,
it summarized the Indian world view:

"Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water

but the blood of our ancestors.

Each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes

tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The rivers are our brothers; they quench our thirst;

they carry our canoes and feed our children.

So you must give to the rivers the kindness we would give to any brother.

Remember that the air is precious to us;

that the air shares the spirit of all the life that it supports.

The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath

also receives his last sigh.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children,

that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls all the sons in the earth.

This we know – the earth does not belong to man.

Man belongs to the earth.

Tribe follows tribe and nation follows nation,

like the waves of the sea.

It is the order of nature, and regret is useless.

And when the last Red man shall have perished

and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth to the white man;

these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe.

Tonight when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you will think them deserted,

they ill throng with the returning host that once filled

and still love this beautiful land.

The white man will never be alone."

The Indians viewed the land, mountains, rivers, animals, and lakes all as sacred.
Mount Rainier in Washington was one of the most sacred mountains of all. Spirit
Lake (near Mount St. Helens) was named from a Salish word and was believed to
haunted by evil spirits of destruction.



Trends
in the Native American Culture


1. The Native American family, though strongly intact, has become increasingly
unstable

This is due to a number of factors:


  • the loss of economic base and its impoverishment.
  • the decline of the role of the male.
  • the increasing role of the government in providing family functions.

The results of this instability include:


  • lack of control; that is, the family is less able to control its members.
  • loss of role models.
  • loss of emotional security.
  • increase in strife between families.
  • increased use of alcohol.
  • youth and behavior problems.
  • academic underachievement.
  • increase in homelessness.
  • more child neglect and abuse.

With the disintegration of the family unit, the children suffer the most.


  • In 1988 on the Macah Reservation in Neah Bay in NW Washington there were 42 births, 85% of which were to unmarried women.
  • In 1988 on the Warm Springs Reservation east of Portland there were 130 births,
    of which 70% were to unmarried women.

  • Divorce rates for Native American women are 2-3 times higher than for U.S. Whites.

  • There is a dramatic rise in children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. FAS is 33
    times higher than with non-Indians.

  • Teen suicide is five times the national average for Native American boys and girls. One in six adolescents have attempted suicide.
  • Alcohol mortality is 10 times the rate of all other combined races In Portland this is 23.7 per 100,000 (1987) versus 6.0 for the U.S. as a whole..
  • Tuberculosis is 7.4 times greater than the normal. In Portland, the rate of Tuberculosis
    among the Indians is 4.7 per 100,000 (1987) versus .5 per 100,000 for the U.S. as a whole.

  • Diabetes is 6.8 times higher than with non-Indians. In Portland this is 26.9 per 100,000 (1987) versus 9.8 for the U.S. as a whole.

2. There is a disintegration of traditional Male Role


The two primary areas for a man to prove himself in the past were in warring
and hunting. Warriors risked their lives for the good of the community. They
had respect, self-worth, and a sense of pride. As hunters, they provided for
their family: food, clothing, and shelter. This gave a man honor, respect, and
self-esteem.


Once confined to their reservations, the ability to wage war and hunt declined.
With this came the disintegration of the male role in the family. Today studies
show the role of the male has changed. Surveys have shown that in 81% of the
full-blood families the woman is the decision-maker. The average life expectancy
of Indian men is 45 years (Richard Twiss).

3. There is a movement to tribalism.


An Indian may say they are not an Indian, or Canadian. "I am a Blackfoot.".
There are 240 Indian tribes in North American. The tribal movement, with its
accompanying rituals and customs, is often an attempt to gain the power they
have lost. A growing number identify themselves as being from their nation;
Sioux Nation, Navajo Nation, Apache Nation, etc.. Today, the term "reservation"
is no longer appropriate in referring to Indian lands. The political correct
term for the Indian lands is nations.

4. There is a movement to urbanization.


The Native Americans, like most of the world, are experiencing a movement to
the cities and urban centers. Today 54% of the Native Americans in the United
States live in the cities. In 1952 Congress passed the Relocation Act, which
was designed to move the Indians from the reservations to the cities and to
assimilate them better into the culture. In both Canada and America, these policies
started a much larger migration of the Indians to the cities than expected.
The cities provide education and jobs. The result has been three classes of
the Native Americans: those that assimilate into the Anglo society, the street
Indians (jobless and poor), and a working class of Indians that assimilate into
the white man’s world to survive, but still maintain Indian values and perspectives.
Most natives are in this working class.

5. There is a movement to pan-Indianism.


Although Native Americans consider themselves tribal, there are many common
cultural values. Urbanization, with its powwows and Urban Indian Centers, has
contributed to this pan-Indian movement. Braids and beads often identify Indians
as a group culturally, distinguishing them from other ethnic groups. The changes
to their common culture is irreversible, and by coming together as a group they
can define some common identity factors and exert more cultural power.

6. There is a movement to sovereignty.


Native Americans wants sovereignty, land rights, and autonomy. They want the
rights and privileges of nationhood. At the same time, however, they don’t wish
to give up the government services and privileges they have been granted through
treaties with the U.S. Congress.

7. There is a movement to equality.


To achieve equality and leadership skills today, more Native American are seeing
the need for higher education. Yet Native Americans have one of the highest
dropout rates in high school in the country. Many are actually more "pushed
out" of the system by prejudice and economics. There is a strong interest
on the part of the Indians to study law in an effort to improve the standing
of the Indian in society.

8. There is a movement to justice and reconciliation.


There is more sensitivity on the part of both the Indians and the non-Indians
today about the issues of injustice and the need for reconciliation. To the
Native American, land cannot be "owned". In 1971 The government awarded
the Alaska natives 40 million acres and $962.5 billion.

9. There is a movement to Peyotism and Indian religions.


About 1890 an Indian movement began in Southwest U.S. that centered around the
hallucinogenic drug mescaline (derived from the peyote bud). This eventually
flowed into the Native American Church (NAC), which was incorporated in 1918.
Although some attempts have been made to curtail the use of the drug, the courts
have protected the religious use of the drug.


Some expressions of the NAC blend worship experiences using the Bible, hymns,
and singing with the peyote experience in a fashion said to be syncretistic;
that is, the new religious expressions are blended with former traditions. Although
this movement claims only a small number of members, other forms of tribal religion
continue to grow in popularity. As religion is a center of life for the Indian,
this is not surprising. The expressions involve sweat lodges, sweet grass, and
the pipe. The expressions share much in common with the popular New Age movement.

10. There is a movement to Christianity.


Christianity is moving today among the Native Americans as a result of three
key factors. First, today’s missionaries are slowly becoming more culturally
aware. They identify with the people, acknowledge Native people are equal before
God, have respect for the Indian history, and are committed to indigenous leadership.
These same missionaries, however, have a double dilemma. They are cultural outsiders
who must both unmask the Indian’s spiritism as well as the westernized and materialistic
view of their own culture.


Second, national Christian native movements are having success in North America.
CHIEF (Christian Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship), NEF (Native Evangelical Fellowship
of Canada), and NANCC (North American Native Christian Council) are examples.


Third, local churches and denominations are identifying the Native Americans
as a hidden people group and mapping strategies to reach them.



Native American Bibliography:



Berreman, Joel V.. Tribal Distribution in Oregon. Menasha, WI: American
Anthropological Association, 1969


Hopkins, David. The Team Approach to Indigenous Church Planting Among Native
Americans
. Boring, OR: InterAct Ministries, 1993.


Lamb and Shultz. More Indian Lore. Manchester, IN: L.W. Shultz, 1968.


Ruby, Robert H. and Brown, John. Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Norman,
OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981


Russell, George. The American Indian Digest. Phoenix, AZ: Thunderbird
Enterprises, 1993


Twiss, Richard. Introduction to Native American Worldview. Vancouver,
WA: New Discovery Community Church. 1994.




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Copyright 2011, Carl Townsend