All around us, we have indigenous people groups. Why is this important for us?
The Scriptures reveal a wonderful picture at the end of times. Millions have gathered around the throne of God, people from “every tribe, language, people, and nation!” What do all of them do? Praise the Lord in their own tongue. The gathering of peoples from far and near is dear to the heart of God. We will rejoice with every type of musical instrument, including panpipes!
When we contemplate how indigenous people love to make beautiful colored clothing, celebrate special events, and take care of their children and elders, we are compelled to stop for a moment. It’s too easy to fall into the cultural trap. Let’s not look down on indigenous people. Let’s prevent stereotypes from clouding our thinking.
Think of people living in the Arctic. Could you live in an igloo? Could you build one? Could you feed your family during the long winters? What about those on the Plains where teepees dominate. Could you pass on to your children the skills involved in killing a buffalo, or bison? Imagine the skill needed to make clothing from animal skins.
There were seven other major groups in North America, along the Northwest Coast, the Plateau, in California, the Great Basin, the Northeast, and the Southeast Indian, or Indigenous groups. All nine regions had highly developed societies, amazing language abilities, and incredible skills for living through severe climates.
We easily forget the origin of our foods! Native people in the Americas gave us an astonishing variety of foods: Cassava, chia, acorn squash, butternut, pinto bean, common beans, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, peanuts, cocoa beans and chocolate, vanilla, strawberries, pineapples, peppers, jalapenos, paprika, and sunflowers. Rubber, chicle, tobacco, coca, blueberries and cranberries and some kinds of cotton completes the list. Amazing!
In Central America, various cultures achieved astonishing abilities in astronomy. In the South American Andean mountains, there was more food for the people under the Quechua, and Aymara systems of land use than there is today! The Inca agricultural methods achieved two crops per year. Today, western agricultural methods, generally produce only one annual crop.
Why mention all these facts in a LAM Newsletter? Because learning to relate well with any one of the indigenous peoples in the Americas is a step toward reconciliation. This challenges us to value them for their own special gifts, abilities, unique language skills, music, relationships, and family traditions.
Paul explains, “From now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the news has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christa behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-21.