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Spiritual lessons to learn from Native Americans

Submitted by the Rev. Robert Wagener

May 1 was the Feast Day at our local Pueblo (San Felipe) here in New Mexico. I watched the activities as an invited guest for the 4th year since moving here to New Mexico. The dancing and celebration of Native American heritage and their deep abiding Christian faith is also put to action with hospitality to all their neighbors. The friend whom I know from the Pueblo tell me that they dance as a form of prayer. Every year as I attend the celebration, I am moved to tears as I watch the small children dance with their relatives, knowing that we have taken so much from our Native brothers and sisters in the history of our Country. I would remind everyone that Thom White Wolf Fassett, author of "Giving Our Hearts Away: Native American Survival" has given to us in the form of a Mission Study for 2008 and 2009 a look at our less than honorable ways in the treatment of Native Americans and their spirituality. Yes, even in the United Methodist Church! And challenges us to do better by knowing our own history. It's time that our seminaries add faculty and curriculum to the study path for our potential clergy and religious leaders. The Native American's contribution to a deeper understanding of our faith might just benefit us all. If we walked the "red road" we just might enter into a "sacred journey in the good, correct, and balanced way." writes Alan Hamilton, in his book of 2012, "Zen Mind, Zen Horse." Apparently this path implies that we are in harmony with nature, and deovted to worship." Thank you for this important story that highlights a need for growth and understanding.   Submitted by the Rev. Robert Wagener (Retired UMC Pastor)