It was a real treat to meet and hear Rev. Tim Harmon speak about his work in South Dakota among FIrst Nations people. Tim certainly got to know the culture and people intimately and his caring for them was evident. Tim worked in the Dakotas in several ways: a school psychologist, a Christian camp leader, and finally as a pastor. Several touching stories were shared how beautifully generous and hospitable the people were even as they experienced deep poverty.
He emphasized the desire Native People have to be in relationship with others, not seen as objects of need/ministry. Tim told how one wealthy businessman wanted to bring plumbing into a small impoverished town. He told the leaders what he wanted to do and they were not happy. He asked why and they told him, "How about we come into your town, figure out what you need and then correct the problem repainting your houses and renaming your streets without your input or consent?"
Tim told us that if we wanted to be in ministry with Native People and bring some healing and reconciliation for the past (including the Spirit Lake Massacre) then we should get to know some elders first. We should invite them to get to know us, build some friendship and relationship with them. Then we can slowly start to bring healing and forgiveness to our area which is sacred to us, and has always been sacred to Native Peoples.
If you are interested in such a ministry, there is a class called the Dakota Experience that teaches about the culture, history, spirituality and traditions of the Dakota & Lakota peoples. The next class is:
November 7-8, 2014 Calvary Cathedral, Sioux Falls the cost is $30 plus your own travel and lodging, meals and materials are provided! Tell Pastor Sarah if you are interested