David Thomson
David Thomson

Native American Council News

About the Native American Council

The ministries of Christ Church Cathedral have long included service to Native Americans. This was due in part to the bequest of Nina F. Lansley, which established the cathedral's Lansley Native American Endowment and Mission Fund in the early 1980s. But it can also be said that this ministry is rooted in deep respect and love that so many cathedral members have for their Native American brothers and sisters. In 2010, a Native American working group defined its mission and our vestry chartered a new Native American Council. The council has identified the following three goals to guide its work:

  1. Provide hands-on outreach by witnessing for and building awareness of the contemporary needs, values and traditions of Native American cultures in the US and Canada.
  2. Contribute to education and theological development of leadership within Native American communities.
  3. Support initiatives to empower Native American societies and ministries related to life needs, cultural sustainability and spiritual growth within Native American values. 

 Contact John Grate for more information.

Return to Navajoland

Following a decade-long absence, a team from Christ Church Cathedral’s Native American Council returned to Navajoland this summer to assist with a Vacation Bible School and to work on a construction project at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Coalmine, New Mexico.  Read the team's blog.

Cathedral Grants for Native American Initiatives in 2013

Note: Listed below is a complete list of the grants that Christ Church Cathedral awarded to Native American ministries last year.

Hands-on Outreach

Expenditures to support delegate trips: $6,289. This grant provided travel, room and meals for participation of Council delegates to Wintertalk, participation on the Navajoland Planning and Development Team, visits of Sarah Eagle Heart and the opening and consecration of St. James Episcopal Church. Some members took a donation-in-kind designation for their involvement in these visits.

White Earth Reservation Parishes: $4,000. Grants of $1000 each were directed to the four Episcopal churches on the White Earth Reservation to assist in their Native American Ministries: St. Columba, Breck Memorial Mission, Samuel Memorial Mission and St. Philip's Mission.

Taize Event: $3,000. This grant provided scholarships for young Native Americans from the South Dakota Diocese to attend the Taize event held on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The cathedral also assisted a small delegation of Fresh Expression delegates from our Diocese with travel expenses to represent our area at the event.

St. James Episcopal Church: $2,000. This grant was given to provide continued support for the rebuilding and furnishing of St James Episcopal Church on the Standing Rock Reservation, which burned down July 25, 2012. In 2012, The cathedral's Christmas Offering plus and Council donation totaled $7,000. St James was reopened for services in June 2013 and consecrated by Bishop Michael Smith on November 23, 2013.

Ojibwe Hymn Singers: $800. This grant was allotted to assist the Ojibwe Hymn Singers in its mission among the reservations of Northern Minnesota. Christ Church Cathedral continues to be impressed by their dedication and commitment to their mission and appreciates their involvement in the Enmegahbowh Bible Dedication.

Education and Leadership Development

Scholarships and Support for Native American Postulates: $15,000. This grant supported the journey to priesthood of three postulants. Cathlena Plummer attends the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkley, California. Cornelia Eaton has attended the Vancouver School of Theology and was ordained as a deacon in December of 2013. Sharon Bryant, Chief of the Monacan Nation and a congregant of St. Paul's Bear Mountain, is working on qualifications to pursue theological training.

Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, Phase 3: $10,000. This grant assisted the Native American and Indigenous Mission of the Episcopal Church in the development of programs and materials to implement the 2009 Resolution D035, which repudiates and renounces the Doctrine of Discovery. The Doctrine of Discovery essentially gave white Christian Europeans the right to claim the lands and resources of non-Christian peoples through use of force, as necessary. The final phase of the project was launched on June 14-16 at the Association of Episcopal Deacons, in Jamestown, Virginia to recruit Deacons for a Five Module Online Training Program.

Workshop on the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery and Self- Actualization of Native Americans: $7,491. This grant provided travel, lodging, meals and honoraria for Native Americans and participants in the October 12 and 13, 2013 workshop and service. The workshop, held on the weekend of Columbus Day, reflected on the injustices of the past and issues facing Native Americans today. The video, which the cathedral funded, "Exposing the Doctrine of Discovery, A Call to Healing and Hope" provided a background for native speakers to share their stories. The afternoon lament and prayers included candle lighting, communal readings and ended with a dance of friendship.

Empowerment Initiatives

Diocese of Navajoland: $10,000. This grant provided support for a feasibility study to create a Retreat Center for the Arts at St Christopher's Episcopal Mission in Bluffs, Utah. The effort is part of the Diocese initiative to create a more sustainable mission and future within each area of the Diocese of Navajoland.

St. Marks Church, Coalmine, New Mexico, Navajoland: $5,000. This grant enabled St. Marks parishioners to conduct their own Vacation Bible School after years of being dependent on outside churches to do it for them. With the help of Good Shepherd Mission, they developed a group of strong leaders that organized and conducted a very successful Vacation Bible School. They now feel empowered to continue the V.B.S. and take on additional challenges to becoming a more sustainable mission.

Lilly Ann Begaye, Navajoland: $3,840. This grant assisted Lilly Anne Begaye, a Navajo Nation Social Worker, in her service to the elderly, poor and handicapped in the vast and desolate backcountry of the Reservation. In 2013, the Council provided support for truck repairs, food baskets and citrus for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the families she serves.

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