With Thanksgiving in a few days, Native American Christians are providing a different take on the annual holiday.
In 1621, pilgrims from Europe traveled to America and shared a feast with a tribe of Native Americans known as Wampanoags.
“The initial relationship between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans was relatively workable,” Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says.
“They had a peace treaty that lasted 50 years; there was mutual respect between the primary chief [of the Wampanoag] and the primary chief of the pilgrims, Governor Bradford. [Those men] died, and it started to seriously go downhill after that.”
Despite the celebratory feast that took place nearly 400 years ago, several Native American communities have mixed feelings when it comes to Thanksgiving.
“If you think about history [from a Native perspective,] Thanksgiving Day is the first chapter of what became a tragic story that costs you your land, culture, language; in many cases, your lives,” Hutchcraft says.
“Some Native Americans call Thanksgiving the Day of Mourning.”
At the same time, however, Native Americans who are also professing Christians offer a more faith-based perspective on the holiday.
“I have some Native American brothers and sisters who put it this way: ‘I am always sad about what the coming of the Europeans meant, ultimately, that our people lost. But I am forever grateful that, with them, came the Good News of God’s Son,’” Hutchcraft noted.
“[A Native pastor says,] ‘Were it not for the coming of those people, that message (the Gospel) might never have reached us,’” he continued.
Hutchcraft also liked Thanksgiving as symbolic as the cross.
“It brought death on the one hand, but on the other hand, it brought life – an interesting mixture that Thanksgiving represents to a Native American who loves Jesus,” Hutchcraft explained.
According to Ron Hutchcraft Ministries website, its mission is to “Rescue the Dying: To communicate Christ to the lost in their language” and to “Mobilize the Rescuers: To motivate and equip believers to communicate Christ to the lost in their world.”
The ministry also cites Acts 13:47 as part of its vision, which reads, “To bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Photo Courtesy: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Bogdan Kurylo
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.