Congregations/pastors: We want to make sure we have your most current information. Please provide the most up to date information about your congregation.
Individuals: We want to make sure we have your most current information. Please provide your most up to date contact information.
Please give to the Native American Church Property Fund
An ongoing fund has been established at the Presbyterian Foundation to help with urge and immediate repairs and necessary improvements at Native American churches and chapels.
The Native American Presbyterian community is doing its best to keep members informed and to keep their spiritual needs met during this time of social-distancing. Several churches are live-streaming their worship services including:
- First Indian Presbyterian Church, Kamiah, ID
- Central Presbyterian Church, Phoenix, AZ
- Church of the Indian Fellowship, Tacoma, WA
- Kuukpik Presbyterian Church of Nuiqsut, AK
- Indian Presbyterian Church, Livingston, TX
Tribal communities, where our 95 Native American Presbyterian churches are located, are doing their best to help their people during this pandemic and social distancing. Tribes are giving out food, funds, conducting COVID-19 testing and have shut-down tribal facilities to protect the communities from further contamination. Yet Native people on various reservations continue to test-positively for the virus, deaths are still occurring and much-needed resources are badly needed.
The Navajo Nation exceeded New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the country. Their reservation mostly lies within the northeast corner of covers Arizona and parts of New Mexico and Utah with a 2010 census population of 173,667. They have one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the country requiring residents not to leave home only for emergencies or if they are essential workers. They must have documentation on company letterhead with a verifiable manager’s contact number when they leave home.
Multiple generations live in one home. When one gets the virus then goes home, they infect the rest of the family. Thirty to forty percent of homes do not have running water preventing proper hygiene. The Navajo reservation has few grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations to purchase food.
Presbytery of Grand Canyon has set up a Navajo Relief restricted account to collect donations. Checks may be directed to the Presbytery indicating: the order of Presbytery of Grand Canyon with a note in the memo line saying “Navajo Relief”. Those funds will be directed for support of the Navajo Nation in consultation with Rev. Norma McCabe, Coordinator for the Presbytery’s Native American ministries – northern area. Checks may be sent to Presbytery of Grand Canyon; 4141 E. Thomas Rd.; Phoenix, AZ. 85018-8707.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) reports 7,244 confirmed cases of covid-19 as of May 20th with the Navajo Nation being the hot spot. Doctors Without Borders has sent workers to the Navajo reservation to help as best they can.
Gina Gilio-Whitaker of the Colville Confederated Tribes recently argued, “We must change the way we inhabit the planet.” If we don’t, covid-19 won’t be the last pandemic we see in our lifetimes. And it may not be the worst.”
Doctrine of Discovery
What is the Doctrine of Discovery? This is not a topic that our schools have taught almost never. It speaks of some of the causes that led to atrocities the United States has committed toward the first inhabitants of this continent, Native Americans. The 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called the church to confess its complicity, participation, in advancing this Doctrine which displaced the lands which would become the United States of America from its original inhabitants. The Assembly also repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery and called upon the people of the Presbyterian Church, USA to learn about this frequently ignored part of American history, to partner and be in dialogue with Native Americans going forward. It called for the writing of a report on the Doctrine of Discovery by the Native American Presbyterian leadership of the denomination which includes the history of the Doctrine and includes recommendations for congregations and the PCUSA. You may read and/or download that Report using this link.”
Speaker’s Bureau on Indigenous Issues
The General Assembly asked for a Speaker’s Bureau comprised of Native American speakers whom Congregations, mid-councils, national church agencies, and other groups may contact to learn more about indigenous issues, such as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Apology to Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians or the Doctrine of Discovery. In this sharing, we seek to assist the church in becoming God’s intercultural community and work together. Arrangements can be made with those speakers in your area including honorariums and expenses associated with scheduling these conversations. You may use this link to read and/or download that listing.”
Native American Church Properties Fund
Steve Hirsh, a building contractor, has worked for the Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries to complete full inventories of all Native American Presbyterian church properties. The 223rd General Assembly (2018) directed the Presbyterian Mission Agency to work with mid councils to document the physical needs of Native American churches and chapels. The action also directed the Presbyterian Foundation to create an ongoing fund for urgent and immediate repairs and improvements. This Inventory Report will not be presented to the 2020 General Assembly but has been postponed, as has much business, to the 2022 General Assembly. But individuals, congregations, presbyteries and synods can still help these economically disadvantaged congregations fund critical repairs and improvements.”
Native American Day
Native American Day is celebrated in the Presbyterian Church, USA on September 22nd or 23rd (Fall Equinox). You may celebrate the day on the Sunday before or after or on another appropriate day. Worship resources follow.
Since 1994, Native American Day appears on the Presbyterian Calendar as the day to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Native Americans/American Indians to the life of the church and community. The date of September 22nd or 23rd was selected and established the date for Native American Day. Ironically, Fall Equinox is noted on one or the other date. The Fall Equinox has marked “harvest time” for many Native American tribes for centuries and is a time of celebration and preparation for winter.
- Native American Ministries Supplemental Report
- Comprehensive Strategy for Ministries with Native Americans
- 00-95 Native American Coordinating Council Report Recommendations (PC-BIZ)
- Overture to the 211th General Assembly (1999) – Overture 99-66 on the Negative Effects of Stereotyping Native Americans – from the Presbytery of the Western Reserve.