Weed on the Rez

In the news today: Feds open the way to legalization of marijuana on Native American reservations. Several federal regulations will remain in place regarding sale to minors and transporting to places where it is illegal. Each federally recognized tribe will be allowed to ban the growing and sale of weed in states where it is legal or legalize it in states where it remains illegal.

I haven’t heard yet what course Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will pursue. Proponents for legalization will cite the potential for increased revenue from taxes. I know many respected leaders hate the sad legacy of alcohol abuse and addiction here on the reservation that has caused immeasurable harm. I hope they will stand honorably and withstand every pressure favoring legalization. It’s a shame that vices provide big business on the reservation.

Possible with God


There seems to be a standard talking point in conversation with those involved in Native American ministry. I have heard it over and over again. The talking point: Ministry with the Native Americans is slow, hard work with little prospect of fruitfulness. This In one way or another, this has been said to us many times, usually with consolatory appreciation for faithfulness.

To be charitable, the sentiment often feels pretty well grounded in reality.  We may find ourselves encouraged by signs of progress in one aspect of our ministry only to face a disheartening set-back in another. Sometimes, we even commiserate a little with our fellow laborers, but dear reader, please do not assume that we have lost confidence in our God or our hope for the mission we’ve been called to serve.

In Matthew chapter 19, just after the rich young ruler had walked away sorrowfully, Jesus told his disciples that it was more difficult for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. The disciples shook their heads in wonder and asked, “Who then can be saved?” If the rich people, with all of the advantages they have to succeed at life, can’t be saved, what hope is there for the rest of us?

We look at things quite a bit differently these days. We think of the poor, vulnerable and needy, as the most likely to respond to the claims of the gospel. “If these can’t be saved, who can be? Jesus’ answer comes to us just as it did to his disciples: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

We thoroughly love serving the Lord on Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. We may expend our lives with no assurance that we will be part of the harvest, but the call of God still rings clear in our hearts. We thank God for providing a church van primarily through the generosity of Canal AWMY. We rejoice with each open door including a radio program, a children’s and youth ministry and a food pantry. We thank the Lord for each adult who is seeking for God, and we are thrilled that our church was able to send more young ladies to Northwest Indian Bible School this year.

Allow me to close with a simple request: rather than offering the dispiriting assessment that this work is hard and nearly impossible, would you be the one who would offer an encouraging word? “We are covenanting with God in prayer for a mighty awakening on your reservation and a great reviving of holiness missions among the Native Americans.”

We truly value your prayers. The bringing of souls into the kingdom of God and leading them in the holy way is spiritual work that must be accomplished by the Holy Spirit. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  

Rez RV

Frank Jamerson, a friend and former SRST councilman, spotted this classic rez camper at the Eagle Butte Powwow this past weekend. His comment: “NDN RV!!! Sleep in comfort, ride in comfort!! No more sleepin on the ground…split level luxury!! Invite the whole family out for a ride on the powwow trail…another native invention.”


A Rumbling Cultural Memory

“I have never met an Indian person who didn’t somewhere deep inside struggle with anger and sadness at what has happened to their people, and I have never met an honest and aware non-Indian person in America who didn’t somewhere deep inside struggle with guilt about what we as a culture have done to the people who inhabited the country before us. we can like each other, hate each other, feel pity for each other, love each other. But always, somewhere beneath the surface of our personal encounters, this cultural memory is rumbling. A tragedy has taken place on our land, and even though it did not take place on our watch, we are its inheritors, and the [world] remembers.”

-Kent Nerburn in the forward to Neither Wolf Nor Dog