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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Minute for Mission: Native American Day


September 20, 2023

Tutuilla Presbyterian Church, est. 1882, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla reservation, Pendleton, Oregon. (Irvin Porter)

Jesus was asked, “… And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

America’s history with Indigenous peoples hasn’t always been neighborly. In the past five years, the General Assembly has taken actions to change that legacy, and to be neighbors, not conquerors. Those actions have included:

  • An Apology to Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hawaiians for Presbyterian cooperation with the Indian boarding school experiment.
  • Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery.
  • Reporting on the Background of the Doctrine of Discovery with Recommendations for congregations.
  • Expanding the Response on the Doctrine of Discovery.
  • An Initiative to Repair Infrastructure of Native American Churches and Properties.
  • A Report on Native American Church Properties.
  • A Report from the Native American Coordinating Council.

More needs to be done on each of these issues. A good start has been made, however.

I work with the 97 Native American Presbyterian congregations. Our leadership has been very busy giving presentations and workshops informing Presbyterians about Native issues.

After more than three centuries, Elona Street-Stewart, of the Delaware-Nanticoke tribe, became the first Native American to be elected in 2020 as a co-moderator of our denomination’s highest elected position.

We are not a numerous constituency. Our first congregation was formed in 1741, making a difference and working to help Presbyterians understand who we are, our issues and inviting “neighbors” into partnership with mutual respect and trust.

Get more information about your Native American congregations. Seek a relationship with those who have been your “neighbors” for centuries.

Irvin Porter, Associate for Native American Congregational Support, Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: Native American Day

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Rhonda Martin, Financial Manager, Presbyterian Women
Dina Martinez, Customer Service Representative, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation

Let us pray

Creator of all that we are and will be, give us hearts to be neighbors who care, listen and support each other. We seek to “rejoice and be glad” in this day you have granted to us. Make sunrise in our hearts now and forevermore. Amen.