Vancouver School of Theology

Forming thoughtful, engaged and generous Christian leaders for the church in the 21st century


An Introduction to the Emerging World Wide Movement of Indigenous Peoples

Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald (Wyandotte), National Indigenous Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada, former Bishop Diocese of Alaska, Episcopal Church USA. Currently the World Council of Churches president for North America.

Week of July 13 to 17
2:00PM to 5:00PM

This is a critical time for Indigenous Peoples. Because of their unique inter-connected relationship with the environment and their often hostile relationship with economic systems and development, Indigenous Peoples stand in a place of prophetic significance – for their own life and for the life of the whole Creation. In the midst of this, a global network of Indigenous Christians is emerging. This course will examine this growing reality and provide access to the materials, information, and experience that will help people be involved with the many significant aspects of this work.

I. Introduction to the Fourth World of Indigenous Life
II. Indigenous Theology in Global Perspective
III. Indigenous Spiritual Practice in Global Perspective
IV. Indigenous Peoples and Creation
V. Emerging Movements among Indigenous Peoples with a special focus on the World Council of Churches Reference Group
VI. Indigenous Rights in Global Perspective: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and its results
VII. What does this mean and do we put it into practice? This question will involve us in reconciliation.

Class Method:
Each class will begin with spiritual practice and will be a critical part of the reflection. Beyond this, we will follow as much as possible Indigenous values and approaches to learning and knowledge. Readings will be assigned and individual reflection and response will be a part of the experience. Wati Longchar’s Returning to Mother Earth will be our central text, as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and other international documents concerning Indigenous Rights. The class will receive an update on the progress of the World Council of Churches Indigenous Reference Group.

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