Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sámi Bible Might Have Had Reindeer and Different Stories, Indigenous Hear

Story telling takes center stage at gathering in the snow

"What if Jesus was an indigenous? Or, maybe he was!" Kristi Guvsám, a young Sámi participant asks, "What would the Bible stories be about if the stories were written by Sámi people?" she notes. "With herds of reindeers instead of sheep in the parables?"

For those present from countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Namibia, Malaysia and Sweden, it was an extraordinary evening. It was the first evening of the LWF Consultation: "An Indigenous Communion" and the first time they were meeting near the Arctic Circle.

The participants gathered for a storytelling session and they realized that in the times of King David such thing would not happen. People from all corners of the globe, speaking different languages, living in different contexts, getting together and celebrating in Karasjok.

The storytelling method wasn't chosen accidentally. In many cultures it's a way of reporting experiences, colors, tastes, impressions. In view of past history, some observers might have expected sorrow flowing from the stories.

Instead there was a warm reception and hospitality from the Sámi people in Norway and an awareness evoked of the strength and the richness of their own indigenous identity and heritage.

Hans Trein, a pastor from Brazil of German descent, recalled that his ancestors and Lutheran immigrants to Brazil in the 19th century settled on land the indigenous people had.

Bishop Eugenio Poma, a participant from Bolivia and seconded staff of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for Indigenous People, noted how encouraging it was for indigenous communities when his nation elected in January its first indigenous president since the Spanish Conquest over 470 years ago.

To find out more stories, visit our blog in the coming days.

Une Bible Sámie comporterait peut-être des histoires différentes avec des rennes…

"Que se passerait-il si Jésus avait été indigène ? Ou peut-être qu'il l'était…" Kristi Guvsám, jeune déléguée Sámie s'interroge ainsi: "Que se passerait-il si les histoires de la Bible avaient été écrites par des Sámis ? Avec des rennes à la place des moutons des paraboles ?"

Raconter des histoires, c'est pour beaucoup de ces représentants de peuples indigènes la manière habituelle de faire, pour évoquer ses impressions. Cette première soirée de la conférence s'est ouverte par des histoires, justement, chacun racontant son peuple, son histoire, ses espérances et ses luttes. Pour Eugenio Poma, pasteur Bolivien, c'est l'espoir né de l'élection du premier président indigène en janvier, 470 ans après le début de la conquête espagnole.

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