Sunday, January 11, 2015

Staff Pick Book Recommendation: "On This Spirit Walk"

On This Spirit Walk: The Voices of Native American and Indigenous Peoples
By Henrietta Mann and Anita Phillips

Recommendation by Rev. Miriam Slejko, Minister of Discipleship at Trinity

Maybe you are like me and, as a newcomer to Colorado, now 26 years a resident, have a desire to learn more of the history of this area and its indigenous people. So when Dr. Henrietta Mann spoke at our Rocky Mountain Annual Conference last June, I was fascinated by her stories of the history of her people, the Cheyenne.

Henrietta Mann is Professor Emeritus in Native American Studies at Montana State University. In 1991 Rolling Stone Magazine named her one of the top ten professors in the nation. In On This Spirit Walk, which she co-authored with Anita Phillips, a member of the Cherokees from Park Hill, Oklahoma, Mann shares the stories from her culture about traditions of welcoming and naming, stories of creation and genesis, and stories of vision and prophecy.

On This Spirit Walk is not only a selection of stories from the histories of native peoples, it is a vivid portrayal of these storytellers who "do not choose to be storytellers" but "are chosen to be the Keepers of Living Stories. With our breath, we give life to the stories and they take flight." These stories include reflections by native people on recent efforts by the United Methodist Church's General Conference of 2012 to engage in an Act of Repentance including confession, repentance and forgiveness for the manner in which religious ideas were forced upon native peoples.

If you are a storyteller, story writer or a person who is interested in the spiritual walk of peoples of other cultures, you will enjoy this informative and stimulating history. On This Spirit Walk reminds me that we all benefit from sharing stories from our history. "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

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