A Gathering of Navajo People who are followers of the Jesus Way

ABSTRACT 

Since contact with missionaries of various Christian Denominations and other religions there has been an attempt to totally eradicate Navajo culture. The most recent attack on Native North American[1] culture was set against Native American and First Nations children. The last Indian War was waged against Indian children. The weapon of choice was education. Boarding schools left plenty of permanent scars on many Navajo people who were often forcefully removed from their homes and coerced to assimilate into mainstream American society.

Even for those who had a relatively “good” experience while attending day or off-reservation boarding school loneliness was a common struggle. The trauma of boarding school permeates the survivor’s lives and is witnessed by those closest to them such as their family. Today, many Native American and First Nations boarding school survivors are coming forward to share their story. There is an increasing number of brave Navajo boarding school survivors who are resisting the paternalistic call to just forget about the past, and move forward. In light of their bravery, and willingness to share their story there is a resurgence of reclamation Native American and Frist Nations identity, language, culture, traditions, and ceremonies. This paper is merely an introduction to further conversations about trauma, healing, and how to walk in beauty as a Navajo and a follower of the Jesus Way.

[1] The terms Native, Native North American Native American, Indian, American Indian, and Indigenous are used interchangeably. The word “Indigenous” describes tribes in North America and Canada as well as for tribal peoples who live in the different countries of the world.

 

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