The European colonization of the Americas, driven by senseless discrimination, were often led or accompanied by Christian missionaries. Prior to the arrival of Columbus, nearly all Indigenous cultures in North America had their own religious systems, most worshipping an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator. European diseases swept through the native lands, killing many indigenous people. Often in the name of Christianity, violent acts of war, the development of reservations and the enforcement of boarding schools aimed to systematically alienate native people from their culture and beliefs and safeguard political and religious authority. Historically, natives are spiritual people who do not specifically reject Jesus, but rather “Christianity” as it was presented. Recent reports indicate that only 3% of First Nations people claim to be followers of Christ.
The Red Road desires to provide teaching, encouragement and tools for reconciliation and healing in Native communities throughout North America, while clarifying what values Jesus truly stood for. We work alongside established organizations already serving in these areas.
BASKETS OF HOPE
The Red Road started the Baskets of Hope program in 2009. Working with local tribal members, churches and ministries in native communities, those individuals with the greatest need for assistance are identified. We then hand-deliver a laundry basket filled with $100 worth of household goods, such as toothbrushes, deodorants, toilet paper, first aid kits, and soap. Given simply as a gift, these baskets are purely intended to alleviate a need. The Red Road understands the importance of building relationships with trust, over time in order to truly serve our Indigenous communities.
Since 2009, thousands of Baskets of Hope have been shared on reservations all over North America, including Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Washington, and Alberta, Canada.
If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, or would like to involve your church, school, or civic group in providing Baskets of Hope, please contact Siouxsan@TheRedRoad.org.
Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, was once quoted as “This Jesus that the Christians speak of, he sounds like a good man. Why don’t they follow his teachings?”
Traditionally, Christians have approached ministry to Native American communities with a paternalistic, tent-revival approach. Non-natives, knowing nothing about the heritage, culture and ways of tribal people, dictated the “rights” and “wrongs” regarding our ceremonies and cultures. These techniques have done much harm to our Native communities in the name of Christianity. We recognize this obstacle and must overcome it with our relationships, one at a time.
While The Red Road is a follower of Jesus, we approach ministry as a means to enhance the lives and culture of First Nations people as opposed to replacing and destroying it. If we don’t live like Jesus lived, love like Jesus loved, and give like Jesus gave, then we have not earned the right to speak into the hearts of our people. For this reason, the majority of the ministry we do in Native American reservations is under the radar. While anyone who chooses to follow Jesus will need to make concessions in certain areas of their lives, we understand that if Native people cannot envision Christianity fitting into their lives, they will never listen to it from our mouths. Being a part of it, we know our native heritage and what aspects of Christianity will work within it without sacrificing culture.
Anyone desiring to know more about relational ministry, particularly within the context of tribal cultures, please contact info@TheRedRoad.org.