One night after my weekly bible study a student approached me in the residence hall asking if I had a screw driver he could borrow. He had a long black pony-tail and stood eye level with me. My response was a blunt, “Are you a Native American?”
“Yeah. Why do you ask?” He said looking perplexed.
I was caught off-guard too. I didn’t expect to respond to his question with another question, much less the one I had just blurted out.
Earlier that day my staff team had challenged me to attend a conference for Native students hosted by a Cru ministry called Nations. They asked if I would be willing to bring Native students with me since it was actually a conference for them more than it was for me. This was in my head when he walked up, so I guess I jumped at the opportunity.
He went on, “I’m actually half white and half Native. I’m from the Blackfoot tribe up in Browning.”
“Awesome. Well, the reason I asked is because I work with a community on campus that talks about God and spirituality. I assume you have some spiritual background then?” I didn’t waste a breath getting to the point.
“I sure do. My mom is a Christian and my dad is a medicine-man.” He said without hesitating.
We continued for nearly forty-five minutes and he shared at depth about the how he has experienced the positive and negative effects of living on a reservation, including his encounters with Christians and tribal religion.
I pressed in and asked, “Would you say you’ve actually met with God personally?”
He paused for a moment, then said, “You know, I haven’t yet, and that really upsets me about it all. I feel like I’m seeking God but he hasn’t revealed himself. I don’t understand why.”
I was honored to hear the story of a young Native man in the midst of searching for the Creator Himself. As I was leaving he remarked that while we were talking he felt his skin tingling all over. It seems that we had been standing on sacred ground.
Native Americans are our campus’ largest ethnic minority with over 500 students enrolled. This ranks us in the top ten largest Native enrollments in the country. I have much to learn and even some deep heart work to be done regarding my own attitudes toward First Nations people. Would you join me in trusting that Jesus’ name would be known among this special community?
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