USA (MNN) — Trauma is a familiar concept in many Native American and First Nation communities. Suicide claims Native lives at three to four times the rate of other U.S. ethnic groups. Substance abuse rates and incidents of violence against women are sky-high, too.
“There’s a lot of pain, a lot of loss, a lot of death… and there is a tendency to ‘stuff it’ rather than face it,” observes Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries. “The leader of the Center for Native American Youth said this: ‘Youth suicide is the single biggest human loss a family or community can experience.
“‘It is destroying Native American communities.’”
Nonetheless, hope remains. Learn how you can help.
An overlooked tragedy
According to Hutchcraft, many Native people – young and old alike –face life’s challenges without the hope of Christ. He calls this people group the “unfinished business” of the U.S. Church.
“Only 4% know Christ after 400 years; that is one of the Great Commission tragedies.”
This challenge is rooted in history. Misunderstandings about God and generational mistrust are critical components.
“I’ve been on about 100 reservations and [On Eagles Wings has] been in Canada and Alaska, and all over the continental US. Wherever you go, it’s true: Jesus is perceived to be the white man’s God,” Hutchcraft explains.
“Tragically, His name has been associated with so many of the things that they’ve lost… so much was taken from them in the name of Christianity.”
Through a recent media release, he adds, “No people on this continent have lost so much. They lost their land, their language, their family unit – and their lives. The estimated 10 million Indigenous people here when Columbus came had shrunk to only 200,000 by 1900.”
Hope for Native America
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries (RHM) mobilizes believers to communicate Christ to the lost in their world. Through On Eagles’ Wings, RHM equips Native believers to reach their peers.
As described here, On Eagles’ Wings is a movement of Native American young people bringing hope to their communities through Jesus Christ. Each summer, a team of Native youth travels to reservations across North America following a week-long conference called Warrior Leadership Summit.
WLS 2019 begins next Monday. Help bring hope to Native America by sponsoring a Native team member. We’ll continue the conversation later this week.
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