July Newsletter, 2019 Rick McPherson
“Pow Wow: celebrations of American Indian culture in which people from diverse indigenous nations gather for the purpose of dancing, singing and honoring the traditions of their ancestors. The term Pow Wow, which derives from a curing ritual, originated in one of the Algonquin nations of the Northeast Indians. During the 1800s, travelling medicine shows selling cure-all tonics used, “powwow” to describe their wares. These vendors often employed local Indians to dance for the entertainment of the potential customers, who soon applied the term to the exhibition dancing as well as to the patent medicines. The name took hold and Indians themselves added it to their nomenclature to describe dancing for an audience in an exhibition.” Britannica
Most folks would include “Pow Wow” in their list of words to describe the Native American culture. The beautiful and colorful regalia, intricate dancing, distinctive drumming and unique singing are all a part of what we know as Pow Wow. You might also think of one huge family reunion with great food, camping under the stars and warm summer weather. All-in-all, Pow Wows are great events!
We happen to have one, in our own backyard, at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. If you squint just right you can “see” Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce, just a few years ago, celebrating Pow Wow right here.
Each year we have helped with a Prayer Tent to serve the hundreds of Native Americans who attend. Lucy, our outreach leader faithfully ministers to men and women and children of all ages who stop by for a word of encouragement, a prayer of blessing or just a cold bottle of water! Each one who visits the tent is exposed to God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. We also distribute Buckskin Bibles, which Natives call, “Heaven’s Book.” Makes sense!
In a very real sense every Pow Wow outreach that we do and have done through the years is a fulfillment of our mission and the Great Commission. I believe that “going” to a Pow Wow is the obedience that Jesus asked for when He commissioned us to, “…go into all the world and preach the gospel…” Mark 16:15
Heaven will record the results of these efforts and people will have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life for eternity. (Revelation 21:27)
Truth be told, it’s a culture shock when you leave your own and enter another’s. But is your people-group the only one that Jesus died for? I think not. Therefore, your efforts both financially and prayerfully will pay huge eternal dividends as you partner with us in this ministry. Native Americans, whether attending a Pow Wow or not, are being helped both physically and spiritually because of your efforts. So, this summer look for a Pow Wow in your backyard and go. Love the dancing, the drumming, the regalia, the fry bread and most importantly, the people!