First Contacts in Contexts

Code: ISP-HISX600 (ISP)

Dates: July 6, 2020 - July 11, 2020

Course: 9am - 12pm | Tutorial: 2pm - 5pm (MDiv Only)

The Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology, & the course instructor acknowledge that we are situated on the traditional territory of the Musqueam people. We are grateful to them for keeping this land and these waters in a good way from (Western historical) time immemorial, and further acknowledge the current residents of this area who owed them much more than a debt of gratitude.

This course explores the arrival of Christianity in North America considering both the pre-contact Indigenous landscape and the forms of faith which Christian missionaries brought with them. Framed through the lens of a post-colonial missiology, this course is intended to set up a conversation between Indigenous experience and Christian faith. Any understanding of Indigenous Christianity should include the values in which a community embodies their faith at the local level. One of these traditional Indigenous values is orality or narrative. Through conversation and research, co-learners will collect and record their memories of the individuals, institutions, and rituals, both Native and Euro-American that have shaped the identity of their community and their faith communities and their tribal origin stories. “First Contacts in Contexts” adopts two approaches for doing this. First, centered on case studies from across the United States and Canada, students will examine their origin stories and Indigenous-Christian encounters in historical perspective using primary documents, interpretative literature, and personal reflection. Second, co-learners will engage in an oral history project of each student’s context and explore its relationship to the manifestation of Christianity at the community level. Co-learners should research their own communities origin stories and first contacts with Christianity, both written and oral, prior to arriving at VST.