NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH
Statement of the International Administrator
In the centuries before the enactment of the 1976 Native American Freedom of Religion Act by the United States federal government, indigenous peoples wishing to practice their traditional religions were forced to do so in secrecy or be punished with imprisonment and often death. Since 1976 the Native American Church of the Morning Star has sought to make its traditional teachings available to indigenous peoples of the Western Continent, and now in the coming millennium seeks to bring spiritual reconciliation to all Nations of our Mother Earth.
Why reconciliation? Until recent history, Judeo-Christian religions have operated under a “chosen people” standard “my way is the only way”. This standard was imposed on the indigenous peoples of the “New World” through Christian missionary work with devastating effect:
Families were ripped apart with children abducted and sequestered away from their languages and traditions in boarding schools.
Whole tribes and bands were hunted to extinction for refusing to adopt European religions and customs.
Nations were fragmented through governmental relocation and assimilation programs resulting in the desperation and despair of landless, homeless people turning to drugs, alcohol, and other means to escape from their oppression.
The spiritual ceremonies and healing traditions necessary for tribal cohesiveness and personal identification were forced underground in order to preserve their integrity and safeguard the welfare of these traditions.
The effects of these injustices are still keenly felt in the American Indian populations of North and South America, however we the membership of the Native American Church of the Morning Star see the necessity of breaking our cultural seclusion in order to provide a spiritually encompassing foundation for the new millennium.
As International Administrator of the Native American Church of the Morning Star, I have made it my duty to be theologically and ecumenically informed. The Christian Bible teaches that God’s people must keep an open ear and heed what the spirit tells us, this is a cultural tradition shared by all nations and is a fundamental teaching of the Morning Star. The problem for Indigenous peoples is that our ways of “keeping an ear to the spirit people” is unsettling and foreign to the Christianizing missionaries who sought first and foremost to use their religion as a political weapon rather than a spiritual tool. It has been easier to us to keep our traditions sequestered, fasting for visions, sweat lodge ceremonies, ingesting of sacrament, smudging, than for us to be judged or betrayed by non-Native cynics. I have delved the teachings of the Torah, Quaballah, Koran, Bible, I Ching, Confucius, the Celts and more and I have consistently heard that we are all the creation of One God by whatever name that God is called and by whatever rite that God is worshipped. There is One Creator, but that Creator is truly, “All things to all men” and there is no longer room on this planet for those sits in spiritual judgment of one another.
Many members of the Native Church of the Morning Star belong to Christian Churches in addition to being active Morning Star members. It has always been our policy to encourage our members to take spiritual food wherever it is found. In recent years we have instituted an open door policy, which allows non-Natives to celebrate with us in our religious traditions and teachings. This policy is not for the purpose of converting, convincing or assimilation, but rather for the purpose of celebrating the diversity of spiritual paths leading to the One Creator.
We have dedicated ourselves to being active in our local and ecumenical communities in order to educate non-Natives about who we are as a people, as a culture, and as a relation on the same spiritual path. In the spirit of religious freedom and spiritual reconciliation, the Native American Church of the Morning Star welcomes you to join in our gatherings and chapter functions.