A disparaging pamphlet that resurfaced on the Pine Ridge reservation prompted a series of actions by the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council to regulate church ministries.
The tribal council initially voted to suspend all Christian missionary work, only to rescind the action a day later, instead requiring all outside religious organizations to register with the tribe.
The offending flyer is a duplicate of one distributed years ago that uses the Lakota word for the Creator, calling it a ‘demon idol” among other things. It instead claims Jesus is the “one true God”.
Early in the month, the tribe ousted Matthew Monfore from the Jesus Is King Missionary for distributing disparaging pamphlets.
They then ordered an investigation into the non-denominational Christian Dream Center, which some members claimed was associated with Monfore.
During the emergency meeting, Oglala citizen Bernice Redbear addressed representatives of the Dream Center, asking how they intend to reach out to Pine Ridge residents with such harmful language.
“If you wanted to save me, how would you do it. What kind of message would you give me instead of saying that the God that I pray to is a demon idol…?”
The founder of the Dream Center denies any connection with Monfore or the offending pamphlets.
Lori McAfee says her organization is the victim of false rumors and innuendo.
“You can say anything to anybody, you can post anything and people believe it. All I know is God sent us here to love the people. We didn’t just come here, and I see a lot of people come. But I’ve been here 21 years and all of a sudden this is happening?”
The discussion over the fliers sparked references to the abuses by Catholic priests and other religious leaders at boarding schools designed to eradicate Native culture and language.
Some members also talked about how Pope Francis’ visit to Canada to apologize for abuses in that country opened wounds for boarding school survivors.
Pine Ridge has a long history of concerns about Christian missionaries exploiting the reservation to raise money.
A federal judge has dismissed libel lawsuits against media companies filed by a former Kentucky Catholic school student who was the center of criticism stemming from a 2019 encounter at the Lincoln Memorial.
Nick Sandmann was among students wearing Make America Great hats at a rally in the U.S. Capitol.
A video of him standing face to face with Nathan Phillips who was drumming and singing went viral.
Some of the students mocked Phillip’s singing.
Many viewers interpreted Sandmann’s facial expression as a sign of disrespect.
Sandmann sued several news outlets including the New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine.
The suit centered on repeating Phillip’s claim that Sandmann was blocking him from moving past.
The judge said the claims are “objectively unverifiable and thus unactionable claims.”
An attorney for Sandmann tells the Lexington Herald Leader they are planning on appealing the decision.
The Duwamish Tribe is pushing for representation on Seattle’s inaugural Indigenous Advisory Council.
Fox 13 Seattle quotes Tribal Chairwoman Cecile Hansen as saying that denying the Duwamish a seat contradicts the council’s legitimacy and intention to be inclusive and reparative.
She notes the irony of excluding the voice of the tribe whose notable chief from the mid-1800s is the city’s namesake.
The Duwamish is not federally recognized.
The council was established last year to provide input on issues related to the city’s Indigenous populations.
Five of the panel’s nine members are assigned by the city council. The remaining are appointed by the mayor.
The Navajo Nation is headed into its tribal primary election Tuesday with at least 15 candidates for president.
One of them is incumbent President Jonathan Nez, who faces challengers including the tribe’s former Vice President Frank Dayish and former Attorney General Ethel Branch.
The top two vote-getters go on to the November general election.
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