Native American Facts
This article is about the people indigenous to the United States and their history after European contact, chiefly in what is now the United States. For broader uses of "Native American" and earlier history, see Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples from the regions of North America now encompassed by the continental United States, including parts of Alaska.They comprise a large number of distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as intact political communities. There has been a wide range of terms used to describe them and no consensus has been reached among indigenous members as to what they prefer. They have been known as American Indians, Indians, Amerindians, Amerinds, or Indigenous, Aboriginal, Original Americans, or Red men.
source: Wikipedia @ http.www.wikipedia.com
Not all Native Americans reside in the contiguous 48 states. Some live in Alaska or insular regions. These other indigenous peoples, including Alaskan Native groups such as the Inupiaq, Yupik Eskimos, and Aleuts, are not always counted as Native Americans. The Census 2000 demographics listed "American Indian and Alaskan Native" collectively. Native Hawaiians and various other Pacific Islander American peoples, such as the Chamorros (Chamoru) of Guam, can also be considered Native American in a broad sense but such a designation is not commonly made.
Most of the historical record is about Native Americans and their contact with Europeans in the continental 48 United States. The first known major contact with Native Americans in what is now known as the United States occurred in the early 1500s when Conquistadors Ponce de León and Hernando de Soto ventured into the area now referred to as the American Deep South.
The earliest recorded date of Native Americans becoming U.S. citizens was in 1831 when the Mississippi Choctaw became citizens after the ratification of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. They were the first non-European racial minority group to become citizens of the United States.
Representatives from about 15 of the largest tribes in the nation created the Fellowship of Native American Christians (FONAC) during a meeting June 9 preceding the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis.
Native American leaders initiated FONAC at a 2007 meeting in San Antonio when they decided to create a group to increase networking, fellowship, leadership and ministry opportunities. They adopted a constitution June 9 and elected Emerson Falls of the Oklahoma Creek Nation as president. He is pastor of Glorieta Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Other officers include Donnie Coulter, vice president, who works with First Nation's people in Canada; Lumbee Timmy Chavis, treasurer; pastor of Bear Swamp Baptist Church in Pembroke,NC; Bruce Plummer of the Assinboine Nation and a missionary and pastor in Montana, secretary; Gary Hawkins of the Oklahoma Creek Nation, assistant treasurer.
Ledtkey McIntosh, national missionary with the North American Mission Board, encouraged formation of a Native American Fellowship to assist in starting a church planting network among Native Americans.
"We see this fellowship as being broader, including information sharing and fellowship," said Mike Cummings, director of missions in the Burnt Swamp Association, a Lumbee Indian association centered in Pembroke,NC , with churches from Maryland to South Carolina.
"In creating FONAC we see it as that place where we all come to find out what the issues are, what the needs are. This will facilitate our coming together as native people and finding out about life in the native community in America."
More directly, the organizers grew from the church-planting concept to creating a fellowship "to make some noise about our presence in this denomination," Cummings said. Too often, Indians are "an invisible people."
One of the loudest noisemakers possible came just the day after FONAC organized when Johnny Hunt, a Lumbee Indian, was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention. His ethnicity was never an issue.
FONAC will meet in conjunction with the annual Southern Baptist Convention each year.
There are just over 450 Indian churches nationwide, according to Plummer. "We want to be Indians reaching Indians."
To date, Plummer said, Southern Baptist efforts have been "relatively ineffective" since less than one percent of the Indian population has been reached after 75 years of trying. "We can draw strength from one another and reach Indians rather than white missionaries which traditionally have been doing the work," he said.
At one time there were as many as 800 identifiable tribes in America, a number that has dropped to 500. There are 6.5 million Indians in America and collectively Indians are one of fastest growing ethnic minorities. Plummer, from a family of seven, has eight children.
As many as 50 million Americans contain a recognizable degree of Indian blood, he said.
Plummer said Indians in the west, particularly, see Christianity as "white man's religion."
"There is only one God," Plummer said. "He died for Indians just like anyone else. But they ask me, 'If God really loved us and wanted to save us, why did it take 1,500 years for Him to come and tell us?' Hearing it from an Indian makes a significant difference."
Locklear said Burnt Swamp Association has been doing mission projects across the nation for more than 20 years. "But a lot of our emphasis has been going to the same places doing the same thing over and over," he said. "With a network to better connect resources with needs we could do a better job."
Chavis said North Carolina's Lumbee worked directly with members of the United Houma Nation to help in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
In American, Indian populations are the "poorest of the poor." They have the highest suicide rate, the highest school dropout rates and live in the toughest social conditions, said the new officers.
Cummings pointed out the experience of eastern and western Indians can be vastly different. "On the east coast we don't know reservation life at all," he said. Seven reservations in Montana cover one-seventh of the state and at one time, Indians in the west were confined to the reservations.
Reprinted from the Biblical Recorder- Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
NATIVE AMERICAN FACT
Most Christian Leaders believe that less than 2 out of 10 American Indians are active Christians. This means that the great majority of American Indians dont have the joy of the Christian faith or the hope of heaven at the end of life. This must be changed! The effort to bring the Gospel to the American Indian must be multiplied, and MSM desires to be part of that effort. Perhaps You share this burden as well. We welcome YOU to be a partner with us. Pray and ask God what He would have you do, then contact us and let us know of your interest and concern for what we are doing.