North American Native Ministries
There are 472 Native American tribes in the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) territory, nearly half of which are in Washington. Many of the tribes are small and live in townships or small geographical areas.
Approximately 7,750,000 Native Americans live in the United States and Canada. The blood quotient necessary to be considered a member of a tribe and receive benefits varies from tribe to tribe but the average is about one fourth.
Three groups comprise Alaska's Native population: Eskimo, Inuit and Indian. The Eskimo population is found mostly in northwest Alaska, the Inuits are inland, and the Indians are in the southeastern part.
Monte Church is the director of the Native Ministries department for both NPUC and Canada. This combined territory includes 64 percent of the Native population of both countries.
The challenges of reaching Native people for the church are basically the same for both the Northwest and Canada. About one third of the Native population is dysfunctionally affected by alcoholism and other addictions. Another problem is a deep distrust of missionaries who come and go.
There are 14 Native mini-camp meetings every year. More than 4,000 people attended in 2004. The largest camp meeting is held in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Tools to Reach Native Americans and Canadians
Native New Day videos are the most effective tools available for Native evangelism. There were 42 baptisms in 2003 that came one way or another from viewing these videos. Nine of this award-winning, 20-video set have been completed, with the rest to be completed within the next two years.
A set of 30 Voice of Prophecy correspondence Bible studies have just been written by and for Native people.
Another tool is in the planning stage. Scripts have been written for 52 half-hour radio programs showcasing the stories of Christian Native Americans and Canadians. The dramatic productions will feature professional Native voices. These programs will be produced in Abbottsford, British Columbia.
Source: Monte Church, NPUC/Canada Native ministries director