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


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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One thought on “A Gathering of Navajo People who are followers of the Jesus Way

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  1. Hi, I am an Irish man who has been given by creator a heart burden for your people. On my mother’s side I am English and on my fathers I am culturally Scotch Irish. By burden developed as I embraced the wounds we had inflicted on the Irish Catholics over many centuries, only to find that we took the legal, political and theological principles behind this to America and laid them into the foundations of what would become the United States of America – they legitimised our actions towards your people. On a trip with Terry and Darlene Wildman through Michigan a few years back, we visited Harbor Springs and the site of the Boarding School there. It had a profound effect on me, leading to the writing of the poem below. The article in your email, reminded me of this time and thrills me to know that Creator continues his healing work among you. I bless you in His Name.

    My journey in healing and reconciliation, tracing the steps I shared above, is now available on Amazon, in a recently published book – A Destiny Denied… A Dignity Restored.

    Listen It stands alone in a tree shaded place, beside a church in Harbor Springs. A white, wreathed, Indian feathered, cross. I stand there and listen. Listening to a cry, not only in the heart of God but also to another, rising up from the ground. For over one hundred and fifty years, on a nearby plot of land, ever enlarging walls engulfed the lives of Native young – The Holy Childhood of Jesus Residential School – thousands in an unholy embrace. Listen! As they were torn from their homes, transported, debraided, language and culture supressed. Many died, to be placed in unmarked graves! Others, still alive, are left still dying, in so many different ways – on the inside! Listen! Creator’s Son, with arms stretched out, embraces the wounds of history. His blood also cries out, better than that of Abel. The Father hears … and … folding you in His arms, He releases redemption, healing, forgiveness, dignity, hope! Be still! Listen! Can you hear the Blood, His heart – for you? © Harry Smith, Sept. 2013

    Sent from my iPad



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