A Church Growth Study of the Zuni IndiansRalph Bruce Terry
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Anti-missionary Article*


The following article appeared recently in the Albuquerque Journal:

RETURN TO INDIAN RELIGION CITED AS WAY TO UNITY, GROWTH. Journal Special. MANY FARMS, Arizona—Edward McGaa, a Sioux Indian and assistant Director of Minnesota Indian education, called here for a return to the Indian religion.

"The White man's religion has destroyed our unity. The white man's religion has no power. Yes, I believe in Christ. I believe he appeared to those people over there across the sea. He didn't appear to the Indians." MeGaa said during a speech in the American Indian Seminar Series at Navajo Community College.

"The Indians all across North America have one god, the Great Spirit," he said. "He appeared to everyone; we all have the same prophecies. All the things that are happening now were predicted.

"It was prophesied the Indians would go down a long, dark road for four generations, then, during the fifth generation, things would begin to change. We are the fifth generation and look around you. You'll find the young Indians are again indentifying [sic] themselves with Indian culture, with the Indian way of life."

McGaa, who said the white men do not know the meaning of ecology, described an old Indian who, before shooting a buffalo, said to the animal: "Forgive me, brother, but my people must live."

This, he said, is the way of the Indian, who never kills more than he needs.

"Every time you fool with Mother Earth you get hurt," he warned. "If we to survive, we must respect the earth. Tidal waves and other so-ca1led natural disasters are warnings."

McGaa listed the Indian commandments: respect for the Great Spirit, respect for Mother Earth, respect for individual freedom and respect for their fellow men.

"Indians don't argue religion, they don't try to force it on anyone else. The white man does and look at the white man's holy wars.

"I've seen war and it's no dammed [sic] good. We've got to go back to our values, to our religion.

"The whole world needs to know about the Indian way. We must spread our values to the world. Otherwise, those people are going to blow each other up and some of us with them."

McGaa challenged his audience to bring back the Indian ways and concluded: "Go home, missionaries. You've got plenty of work to do on your own people. We don't need you here."

*Taken from Zuni Tribal Newsletter, April 12, 1971, pp. 7-8.

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