In our South Dakota Synod Constitution, it is stated that we shall participate in God’s mission by “advocating dignity and justice for all people, working for peace and reconciliation among the nations.” As we celebrate Native American Day, this call is especially important for our relationship with indigenous peoples.
Our inherited and shared history is one that is not always easy to deal with. Yet, in this creation that is given to all people by God the Creator, we are called to live with one another. Advocating for the dignity of our Native relatives and working for peace and reconciliation means living with one another, and yet creating space for one another to fully be who they are created to be. When our Native relatives ask to lead the way, to determine their own fate, we commit ourselves to trust them in that work.
We have many ministries and communities across South Dakota that are in a relationship with indigenous peoples. We strive to live together in a good way, to trust that the Holy Spirit will mend broken relationships, and to show up for one another. Our Creator made us all, our Savior loves us all, and the Holy Spirit is with us all.
Thank you for being part of this work, as we Journey Together in Christ!
Pastor Jonathan Steiner
Director for Evangelical Mission
From the Woyatan Community
Ho Mitakuyapi, cante waste nape icuzapelo. My relatives, I greet you with the warmest of handshakes from my heart on this Native American Day.
As we come together in prayer and celebration in honor of the American Indian people of Turtle Island, we also remember the Lakota people of our synod and state. We have all come a long way in learning to trust each other and finding those common grounds to establish relationships and lifelong friends with one another. As we move towards 2022, I challenge all of us to continue the hard work of being the tip of the spear in how we continue to move in uncharted waters to figure out exactly what Native Ministry is in our state.
We must do our best to continue to honor our commitments to be good relatives to each other and sincerely welcome all to Tunkasilas sacred house and work to find sincere healing and prayers for our two worlds that are defined by the earthly realm and not of the spirit world and Jesus. Ho Mitakuyapi, let’s remember what our Lord Jesus tells us: people will know you are my people by how you love others. Take courage Mitakuyapi, as we remember the First Nations people of this country with honor, respect, and understanding.
From the people of Woyatan, we love you all.
Vicar Jonathan Old Horse
Woyatan Lutheran Church