Hearing indigenous voices


The Anglican Communion Environmental Network has committed itself to hearing the voices of indigenous people. During the month of August, the Anglican Indigenous Network has prepared sermon notes which can be found at www.sustainable-preaching.org

Archbishop Mark Macdonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop for the Anglican Church of Canada, Says this “A number of years ago, I was sitting with a group of Indigenous clergy at a regional church gathering, a gathering largely populated by and representing the perspective of non-Indigenous people. The discussion at the gathering was about the now common proposal that we follow a “Season of Creation” in our schedule of daily and weekly Scripture readings. The season would identify texts that are specially focused on Creation and our relationship to it. As the discussion proceeded, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I looked behind to see the whole group of Indigenous clergy with very confused looks. One finally said, “I thought all of Scripture was about Creation.”

I am a supporter of a “Season of Creation.” The Indigenous point, however, is vital. An Indigenous reading of the Scripture is not filtered through the centuries of Western Scientism and Materialism and the progressive alienation of human beings from the rest of Creation. The alienating trends that have spread through the globalizing culture of money have made it difficult for people to see the underlying “Creationism” in every text of Scripture (Creationism is the best word I can find to describe a primary cosmological element of Scripture, the embedded point of view that there is an essential communion of humanity with the rest of Creation.). This view is primary and basic to Indigenous Peoples around the world. The symbiotic relationship between humanity and Creation is a defining feature and an existential commitment to the People of the Land and Seas.

I have heard many people say that we must import other more earth-friendly ideas to enhance our reading of Scripture, assuming that Scripture shares the basic cosmological assumptions of globalizing Western society. I would heartily endorse the application of science and other disciplines of knowledge and life in the illumination of Scripture. It is urgent, however, that the underlying Creation cosmology of Scripture be appreciated again, uncovered again. We must read it with this always in mind. The communion of Creation, so much a part of the Indigenous cosmology, is infused in every word of Scripture.”

Notes for this Sunday can be found at :


Reverend Dr. Bradley Hauff, Indigenous Missioner for The Episcopal Church, Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota


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