Saturday, September 23, 2006

Theology Professor Tries to Reconcile Lutheran and Native American background

'Poverty is No. 1 problem' for American Indians

Rev. Dr "Tink" Tinker bristles when he is asked what his name means.

"Does it make any difference?"

Tink belongs to the North American Osage Nation. He is a professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions at the United Methodist Church's Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, United States of America. There he teaches American Indian culture, history, and religious traditions, cross-cultural and Third-World theologies.

His concerns about American Indians are rooted in his own personal identity and history. Raised by a non-Indian Lutheran mother and a Native American father, Tink growls that he has spent much of his life exploring his identity.

"I've tried to hold this tension between these two identities between my mother and father. These are two different worlds. I spent the first part of my life following the path of my mother, now I follow my father's path."

He begins each encounter in a gripping fashion, that sometimes surprises his listeners with its edge, illustrating the relationship between Christian and non-Christian Indians." A well-known Indian singer from an Episcopalian denomination died. Indians came to the funeral to pay their respects and brought with them a traditional chest, singing and performing traditional practices over the body of the deceased. They came before everyone else so as not to offend any Christian with their celebration. While singing, they noticed a priest waiting in the doorway. They immediately stopped, but the priest began the same song again."

Tink works unpaid for the Four Winds American Indian Survival Project in Denver, which provides support for Native Americans. It allows them to have spiritual and ceremonial practices rooted in their ancient traditions and helps them to reestablish their community. He said the project is critical to those who have come over decades from reservations to metropolitan Denver, where there are more than 30,000 Indians in Denver.

"Those living in urban areas face many problems, but poverty is the most important thing. The unemployment rate is over 50 percent, while among people living in reservations this rate is even above 80 percent. Children brought up in such a poverty, without role models, give up school and live without hope."

You can read more about Georges "Tink" Tinker using this link: Illif School of Theology.
You can also read part of George Tink Tinker's next book on the subject "Christology and Colonialism: Jesus, Corn Mother, and Conquest". (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to access this link - pdf/143kb)

Un professeur essaie de réconcilier le luthéranisme avec sa culture indienne

"Tink" fait partie de la nation indienne Osage d'Amérique du Nord. Il enseigne à l'Illiff School of Theology de l'Eglise méthodiste unie. Dans son enseignement des cultures et traditions religieuses indiennes, il essaie de réconcilier les deux cultures dont il est issu. "J'ai essayé de tenir en tension ces deux cultures, celle de ma mère et celle de mon père. J'ai suivi la voie de ma mère pendant la première partie de ma vie, maintenant, je suis la voie de mon père."

Le professeur Georges "Tink" Tinker, élevé par une mère luthérienne non-indienne et un père indien, cherche aujourd'hui à aider ceux de son peuple à renouer avec leurs traditions. Il souligne cependant que la pauvreté est le plus grand fléau auquel doit faire face son peuple aujourd'hui.

Vous trouverez, plus d'information sur Georges "Tink" Tinker en suivant le lien: Illif School of Theology.
Vous pouvez également lire sur ce sujet des extraits du prochain livre de Georges Tink Tinker "Christology and Colonialism: Jesus, Corn Mother, and Conquest" (en anglais seulement. Utilisez Adobe Acrobat Reader pour ouvrir ce fichier - pdf/143ko).


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