Friday, September 22, 2006

Cultural Evening in Northern Norway

Sharing culture through indigenous gifts and meals

Food and fire fellowship
Traditional Sámi food is enjoyed around a cosy, smoky fire. A good warm up for the night to come.

Delicious and healthy
Fish soup, reindeer stew and whipped moltekrem. Participants say they have never eaten as much fish as in the last week. The hearty appreciation for the healthy and delicious local specialties is obvious.

Lycircs from Latin America
The cultural evening is opened by friends from Latin America. Argentinean and Indian singing fills the room.

Nobel Prize in Literature?
The next nominee for the Nobel Price in Literature enters the stage, ready to conduct an emotional and colorful drama.

Happy end? Aussie dead
The drama continues, now with very happy actors. Here you find a poor Aussie, dead on arrival. The doctor was too busy with lunch.

An opera star emerges from Greenland
Awaiting her son, the singing bishop who has become an opera diva entrances the audience with her dulcet tones.

Hidden talents come to the surface throughout the evening of shared culture.

God praised through guitar and song
Hans presents a Brazilian song of praise.

African music & rhythm
Emma sings a traditional Namibian hymn. The joyful African contribution lifts the athmosphere in the room.

Hope and fellowship
Two traditional Sámi descants are sung. The hymns are about the hope to one day meet in heaven.

Contribution from Greenland
Bishop Sofie Petersen presents a hymn, a prayer for creation.

Norwegian in a sari
A demonstration on how to don and wear a sari. Different cultures in India have various ways on putting on this traditional dress. Marthe from Norway acts as model.

Dances from Nepal
Bed transforms a Norwegian dance floor with the latest gyration from Nepal. Two brave souls join him and discover it's not as easy as it looks.

American Indian humor
The Indian story illustrates a bit of Indian culture and hand sign language. Especially the story about an Indian chief’s visit to the Vatican provides much laughter.

Maori warrior greeting from New Zealand
After sharing a love song from New Zealand, Ahi is persuaded to perform the famous Haka.

The Haka
Leader: KA MATE! KA MATE! We're going to die We're going to die!
Chorus: KA ORA, KA ORA! We're going to live! We're going to live!
Leader: KA MATE! KA MATE! We're going to die! We're going to die!
Chorus: KA ORA, KA ORA! We're going to live! We're going to live!
All together: TENEI TE TANGATA PU'RU-HURU This is the man, so hairy
NA'A NEI TIKI MAI WHAKA-WHITI TE ...who fetched, and made shine the ... RA! HUPANE! KA-UPANE! sun! Step upwards! Another ... !
A HUPANE! KA-UPANE! Step upwards! Another... !
WHITI TE RA! The sun shines!
HI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A hymn from the heart and the soul
The evening draws to an end. Here again a moving Sámi hymn.

A community in dance
An traditional tribal dance from India gets everybody on the floor. Gracefully, the easiest steps are chosen so everybody gets a fair chance to turn it into a stomb.

The evening ends with the Lord´s prayer in multiple tongues and a blessing from pastor Nijhar before departing into a cold, dark night, filled with the gifts of God-given fellowship.

Sámi Youth Leaders Say People Question Role of Christianity in the Past

Being both Sámi and Christian, is difficult says youth leader

Young Sámi leaders have noted challenges that are everyday experiences for an indigenous community, alluding to contradictions they feel there are between being Sámi and Christian.

"Some youth say they can't at the same time be Sámis and Christians with all their hearts. The problem is that my culture doesn't know of separation between religion and everyday life because the religion is who I am, and I'm Sámi," said Inga Marie Nordstrand.

"When people learn about my identity they presume that I live in a lávvu (tent) and that I have a herd of reindeers. Being traditional means to live in a continuity of values, not living life we did 500 years ago." She also says that Sámi youth often ask: "How can you be a Christian knowing what they had done to us?"

Noted another youth leader, Kirsti Guvsám, in presenting a program about youth work in her community, "'Sámi identity and Christian spirituality' is the name of a project launched in 2000. It gives a place to Sámi youth where they can meet and build networks to grow as Christians, as a Sámi, and to bear the meaning of the past."

For her part Nordstrand said, "Young people need role models from their particular context. That's why we initiated our project: No one told us to do it."

The project began with camps as an opportunity for Sámi youth to meet. It is undertaken in different local backgrounds. This is because there is difference between Sámi in the south and the north of Norway on several dimensions – ranging from language dialect, to customs and spirituality noted Nordstrand.

The project was so popular among the youth that they decided to continue it. Soon they realized they also needed knowledge about the history of the Sámi people. That's how an educational program about pre-Christian Sámi religion started.

Les gens s'interrogent sur le passé du Christianisme au Sapmi

Inga Marie Nordstrand note la tension entre être Sámi et être chrétien pour beaucoup de jeunes qui considèrent qu'ils ne peuvent pas être l'un et l'autre de tout leur coeur. "Le problème, c'est que ma culture ne connaît pas de séparation entre la religion et la vie quotidienne, parce que la religion c'est qui je suis, or je suis Sámie!"

L'image qu'elle renvoit souvent lorsqu'elle dit qu'elle est S
ámie, c'est celle d'éleveurs de rennes vivant sous le lavvu (tente) traditionnel. Pourtant, pour elle, la tradition signifie avant tout la préservation de valeurs, pas le maintien d'un mode de vie vieux de 500 ans.

Kirsti Guvsám, elle a présenté le projet Identité Sámie et spiritualité chrétienne lancé par le Conseil de la jeunesse de l'Église de Norvège, qui a permis la rencontres de jeunes Sámis du Nord et du Sud du pays et a été le point de départ pour une formation sur les religions pré-chrétiennes : "Un moyen de redécouvrir l'histoire de notre peuple."

She Left United States for India to Teach Her Children Their Mother Tongue

Washing feet is Indian tribe's 'hospitality tradition'

They meet guests near the door. The guest is invited sit down and the host drops to the floor removing the shoes of the visitor and begins washing the feet with water. Then they are dried with care.

In the home of Nijhar Jharia Minz' family this is a tradition amongst her community and her tribe, a group of Indian tribal people. Minz came to the Karasjok consultation from India, and she said the feet washing ceremony has been saved over generations. It is meant as a gesture of open hospitality from the host.

Nijhar was born in Chicago, in the United States. When she was six weeks old, she moved with her parents to their homeland in India.

She grew up in a Christian family there and attended college. Later she went back to the US where she got a job at the Luther Seminary in Minnesota.

The main reason I decided to return to India as an adult was to open a theological center, where I could work and teach pastors. My husband and I also wanted to restore our traditions to our children so they could learn about their roots. And," noted Nijhar, "we also wanted to make sure they would not forget their mother tongue."

She said that Indigenous People in India who are also called Tribal Communities number about 460.

"The most important for saving traditions in India is saving languages, because in India we have about 70 official languages, but also some 1,000 dialects," she said.

Elle a quitté les USA pour l'Inde pour que ses enfants apprennent leur langue maternelle

Nijhar Jharia Minz est né à Chicago, mais c'est en Inde qu'elle a grandi à partir de l'âge de six mois, avant de retourner aux États-Unis, à l'âge adulte, pour enseigner la théologie au Luther Seminary du Minnesota. Son mari et elle ont choisi de retourner en Inde récemment.

"Nous voulions restaurer nos traditions pour nos enfants, et qu'ils n'oublient pas leur langue maternelle." En Inde, où les communautés tribales représentent 460 groupes ethniques, la préservation des cultures traditionnelles passe par la sauvegarde des langues - 70 langues officielles, mais plus de 1.000 dialectes!

Lutheran Church Elder Wants to Take Back Ideas to Community in Namibia

San leaves his homeland in Africa for first time in his life

Samco Chose, a Lutheran church elder belongs to the San, one of the world's oldest communities. He has left his native Namibia for the first time ever to share his expereinces with other indigeneous people from everywhere. The 62-year-old Gobabis resident arrived at the Karasjok house of culture, which was filled with people seeking to resolve their local problems through a global interaction.

Which church do you belong to in your country?
I am a member of the Gobabis Evangelise Lutherese Kerk Efesiër Gemeente. This is a San community near the Botswna border in Namibia.

What are your activities in the congregation?
As I am retired, I have much time to do a number of services for the community. I also help around other congregation members' houses. A big part of the population live in poverty, in miserable conditions, without water and electricity. I feel responsible towards them, since I am one an elder in the congregation. This is my vocation.

That's why you are at the meeting in Norway?
That’s true. I travelled to this country, which I have never seen, to listen to everything and to learn from others stories and presentations. I was sent by our pastor and I'd like to use this experience for the good of my community.

What do you find the most interesting around this place?
I’ve never touched or even seen snow before. It's amazing!

So you are not used to foreign people and to travelling?
No, I had never left Nambia, nor had I ever met a group of foreigners.

Un ancien de l'Église luthérienne veut ramener des idées de la conférence en Namibie

A 62 ans, Chose Samco, du peuple San de Namibie, a quitté son pays, pour la première fois de sa vie, pour venir à Karasjok rencontrer des peuples du monde entier et entendre leurs histoires et préoccupations.

En charge des plus démunis au sein de sa communauté de l'Eglise Luthérienne de Gobabis, il espère pouvoir utiliser cette expérience unique pour le bien de sa communauté. Ce voyage représente beaucoup pour cet Ancien qui n'avait jamais eu l'occasion de quitter la Namibie, de rencontrer autant d'étrangers, ni de voir la neige…

"Proclamer une Bonne Nouvelle vraiment nouvelle"

George 'Tink' Tinker a appelé les peuples indigènes à une lecture contextualisée de l'Evangile.

"La culture des missionnaires a formé leur interprétation des Écritures, de même, aujourd'hui, notre propre culture doit former notre propre interprétation". Le pasteur Tinker, enseignant à l'Illif School of Theology (USA) défend l'apport des cultures et religions traditionnelles dans une relecture du texte biblique.

"Nous sommes dépendants de l'interprétation biblique des missionnaires qui, seuls, connaissent l'hébreu et le grec, mais avec le regard de leur héritage culturel". Prenant comme exemple le dogme de la Trinité marqué par les concepts philosophiques grecs – et non bibliques ! -, il appelle les peuples indigènes à réhabiliter leur expérience particulière de la relation au divin. "Alors, nous pourrons annoncer aux missionnaires une Bonne Nouvelle vraiment nouvelle".

Il dénonce le poids de la culture nord-européenne dans la transmission de l'Évangile qui a été faite par les missionnaires en Amérique du Nord. "Aux USA, l'Église luthérienne est une Église tribale d'Allemands et d'Européens du Nord, venus avec leur Église". Et même, "ils ont repris le sola scriptura de Martin Luther, contre l'autorité du Pape, pour en faire un argument contre toute autre voie de connaissance de Dieu, donc contre nos traditions".

Membre de la nation Osage, en tant qu'ancien professeur de grec, il reconnaît cependant être l'un des rares au sein de son peuple à pouvoir aider à une telle relecture. "Personne ne peut enseigner le grec directement à partir du Navajo, il faut passer à travers le filtre de la langue des colonisateurs, l'Anglais".

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 -

"Claiming a new Good News"

George "Tink" Tinker invited indigenous people to a contextualised reading of the Gospel

"The missionnaries' culture formed their interpretation of the Scriptures. Today, our own culture should form our own interpretation". Pastor Tinker, who teaches at Illif School of Theology in the United States, defends the funamental contribution of traditional cultures and religions in reading biblical texts.

"We are dependent on the missionaries' biblical interpretation. They know Greek and Hebrew, but they read the Bible with their own cultural inheritage." Using the example of the Trinity dogma – inspired by Greek philosophy and not by biblical concepts – he calls on indigenous people to rehabilitate their personal experience of God. "Then we could claim to the missionaries a really new Good News".

He stresses how much the North European culture influenced the missionaries' Gospel teaching in North America. "In the United States, the Lutheran Church is a tribal Church for the German and North European people. They came over with their Church." And even, "the sola scriptura, which Martin Luther used against the Pope's authority, became an argument against any other path for knowing God. Therefore, it is against our traditions."

As a member of the Osage Nation, and a former professor of Greek, he recognizes that only a few persons can help his people for such a new reading of the Gospel. "Nobody in North America can teach Greek directly from Navajo. You have to use the filter of English, the tongue of the colonizers."

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/

What Is Complementing?

Tradition, Culture and Gospel

"Complementing is the fulfillment of a man and his wife so they can function in a positive way," says Bishop Eugenio Poma.

The indigenous bishop from Bolivia, opened the third day of LWF Consultation in Karasjok and he noted that indigenous Bolivians needed Christianity in relating to traditional and culture in a complementing way.

Poma says that indigenous people in Bolivia used to live in a state complementarily in every segment of their lives. This could be expressed also in the partnership of two persons who give to each other the full acknowledgment that is needed in life.

"Men and women wake up,
Young people wake up,
Let’s walk together as a single people."

Poma says he finds in the words that there are things to learn from indigenous culture and in the Gospel, so one can build in that context.

Qu'est-ce qui est complémentaire?

Pour le pasteur Eugenio Poma, de Bolivie, les indigènes de son pays ont besoin de vivre en complémentarité leur culture et traditions avec leur foi chrétienne. "La complémentarité est la réalisation d'un homme et d'une femme de manière à ce qu'il puisse vivre d'une manière positive."

Pour M. Poma, il y dans les Écritures des éléments qui permettent d'apprendre de la culture indienne autant que de l'Evangile, de manière à ce que chacun puisse s'édifier dans un tel contexte de complémentarité.