The Office of Indigenous Ministries celebrates the longstanding presence and influence of Native Americans throughout the history of The Episcopal Church.
Exercising a deep spirituality grounded in respect for and care of creation and others, Indigenous Episcopalians enrich the church through myriad roles in lay and ordained ministry, modeling wisdom, resilience, and forbearance.
Indigenous Ministries works for the full inclusion of Indigenous people in the life and leadership of the church. In seeking to fulfill this goal, the church welcomes partners who will:
- Guarantee that Indigenous people are fully recognized and welcomed into congregational life through education, advocacy, and leadership development;
- Create influential leadership roles in the church for Indigenous people;
- Develop a national support system for continued remembrance, recognition and reconciliation of all Indigenous people within the church and world;
- Develop a network of leadership and educational resources to empower Indigenous people to prepare for mission and ministry in The Episcopal Church and the world;
- Provide resources, advocacy and support to Indigenous theology students, those in the ordination process, and lay congregational leaders.
As an institution, The Episcopal Church recognizes and repents of its harmful treatment of Native Americans. In 1997, the church signed a new covenant of faith and reconciliation almost 400 years after Jamestown colonization, apologizing for its past actions and launching a decade of “remembrance, recognition and reconciliation.” In 2009, the church’s General Convention passed a resolution repudiating the 15th century-based Doctrine of Discovery, which “held that Christian sovereigns and their representative explorers could assert dominion and title over non-Christian lands with the full blessing and sanction of the Church.”
In 2021, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry and House of Deputies President Gay Jennings issued a statement in response to the discoveries of mass graves of Indigenous children on the grounds of former boarding schools in Canada, condemning such practices and committing to “the work of truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities in our church.” The upcoming 80th General Convention in July 2022 will include further discussion and action about the legacy of Indigenous schools associated with The Episcopal Church during the 19th and 20thcenturies.
The vital work of remembrance, recognition and reconciliation in connection with our Indigenous siblings continues.
Becoming Beloved Community from an Indigenous Perspective
The Episcopal Church Indigenous Ministries Office and the United Thank Offering presented this webinar at the start of Native American Heritage Month. Panelists shared how their ministries—some supported by UTO grants—help reconnect or restore Indigenous practices within those communities.
“A Disciple’s Prayer Book,” along with a Bible or scripture passage, provides an excellent way of encountering Christ within the sacred circle of the Gospel and with one another. It demonstrates that God’s word is not just a collection of words that were written down many centuries ago; rather, God’s word is alive and at work within God’s people and the community of faith. This resource can be used on its own or within the context of a more extensive liturgy. Interested in ordering physical copies? Contact the Rev. Bradley Hauff.
Native Voices: Speaking to the Church and the World
In this video, Indigenous clergy and lay leaders in The Episcopal Church share how their lives have been affected—historically and currently—by the Doctrine of Discovery and the colonization process of the Western Hemisphere. Produced by the Office of Indigenous Ministries through a Constable Fund grant, the video was recorded in 2020-21 during the pandemic.
Native Voices: A Response to The Episcopal Church’s History with Indian Boarding Schools
On October 11, 2021, Indigenous People’s Day, The Episcopal Church hosted a panel discussion with Indigenous Episcopalians as they responded to a statement on Indigenous boarding schools issued by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President Gay Jennings. A moderated Q&A follows the panel.
The Episcopal Church Exposes the Doctrine of Discovery
The Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff is the Episcopal Church Missioner for Indigenous Ministries, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. As Missioner for Indigenous Ministries, he is responsible for enabling and empowering Indigenous peoples and their respective communities within The Episcopal Church. His primary focus will be leadership development, education, and ministry development opportunities by and for Indigenous peoples by recognizing and empowering leaders from within the community. He holds a Master of Divinity from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; a Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Minnesota School of Professional Psychology of Argosy University; a Master of Education from South Dakota State University; and a Bachelor of Arts, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Read more here.