Five Tribes Attend Native Spiritual Gathering

November 04, 2016 | Mary Logan

Dale and Gerri St. Clair, members of the All Nations Center in Wapato, Wash., are having the time of their lives, studying the Bible with a Yakama Native mother and daughter. Because of a recent death in their family, the daughter, 17-year-old Vanessa, told Steve Huey, All Nations pastor, that she would like to be baptized. That’s how the St. Clairs got started studying each week through the Native New Day Bible course. Then, when the Native Spiritual Gathering was held on Sept. 9 and 10, the St. Clairs invited Tamara and Vanessa to go with them. They were glad to meet the speaker, Monte Church, North Pacific Union Conference Native ministries director.

While All Nations Center hosts the annual event, members from the Native nations in Upper Columbia Conference join in, including many from the Yakama, Colville, Umatilla, Spokane and Coeur d'Alene reservations. (Two other tribes, the Nez Perce and the Kootenai, also lie within the conference territory.) Monte Church's theme was “I Have Accepted Jesus; Now What?” Two seminars were conducted, focusing on needs within the Native community.

Viola Kaiser of Gambell, Alaska, spoke on mending broken relationships. A Cherokee physician, Tom Matheson from Pendleton, Ore., presented information on suicide prevention. As a special feature, Brent Carter and Coyote Short, geologists from Boise State University in Idaho, talked of the ancient petroglyphs that tell of creation, the flood, the 10 Commandments and other Biblical themes. Short, a Paiute Indian, is one of three recognized authorities in the world for interpreting the pictures in the stones. 

The event was a weekend to remember.