Charles & Siouxsan Robinson

Charles & Siouxsan Robinson

In 2002, Pastors Walt & Sue met Charles, of the Choctaw Nation, and made a “covenant” with him to support his ministry to the “First Nations” (Native Americans).   Charles, his wife, Siouxsan, and their family have ministered to the Living Word congregation on numerous occasions and have participated in many of our Feast of Tabernacle celebrations and outreaches.  The following is from the their website – The Red Road (http://www.theredroad.org/)

The Red Road — Teaching, Sharing, Empowering. Opening the eyes and hearts of all people, to the true value of the First Nations people.

The Red Road exists to educate students and communities on the history and condition of Native American culture and to provide hope by empowering and ministering within Native American communities.

Our desire is to provide Native American people with hope and a future by challenging each other to live with traditional values, thus honoring our cultures and those who died that we might continue to have them. As an organization we:

1)      Educate students on the ways of First Nations people by allowing children to see the world through the eyes of Native Americans.

2)      Develop and cultivate current empowerment opportunities for Natives living on reservations or within Native communities to help them develop alternative revenue streams.

3)      Minister the love demonstrated by our Creator through his Son, Jesus, to our Native people. This is done, primarily, through relationships and meeting the practical needs of our Native people and working with them to break the cycles of addictions in individual lives.

We believe that as people experience our Native culture, with an open heart, that they will develop a greater heart of acceptance for all things culturally different and have greater respect for people, land, and all aspects of creation (of which we are only stewards).

The Red Road was developed in 1999 when Charles Robinson was asked to speak to an elementary school classroom regarding Native Americans. Dressed in his tribal regalia, the teacher introduced him as “a real live Indian.” Charles discovered very serious misperceptions regarding Native Americans and has developed programs to reach students with historical facts about North America’s first inhabitants.

Charles began spending time on various reservations collecting information and items to share in the school presentations when he recognized a level of “hopelessness” among the youth in these Native communities. There exist many theories surrounding the birthing of this hopelessness: the most prominent being the erosion of the traditional Native American family due to the forced assimilation into Euro-American cultures. These changes were implemented over the past 130-500 years, depending on when the French, Spanish, British, US and Canadian governments were forcing their ways and beliefs across North America. The reservation system and boarding/residential school systems, though, were the proverbial nails in the coffin for Native traditional families. No longer were families able to hunt, dance, live their lives and raise their children in the same manner we had done for thousands of years. It was this process which introduced our Native people to alcohol, drugs, sexual abuse, etc. at the hands of the non-Native leaders of the schools.

This hopelessness has manifested itself in abuses (drugs, alcohol, physical, mental, sexual, emotional), dropping out of school, obesity and a general disregard for traditional values. Often times this hopelessness ends with alcohol-related deaths, homicides and suicides.

The Creator

In an effort to bring hope back to the young people on the reservations, The Red Road works with other tribes, organizations and ministries to provide educational material and opportunities for them. Returning to traditional Native values (through ceremonies, languages, artwork, music, dancing, powwows, etc.) is viewed as the key to giving our Native youth hope for their future! To Native Americans, The Red Road is a term used frequently which means to live a traditional lifestyle: no addiction to drugs/alcohol, respect for others, respect for yourself, respect for creation and to worship the Creator.

Every Native American tribe has a name for Creator in their own language. It is interesting how many of these names are very similar and how they speak to the nature and character of the Creator. It is also worth noting that most of the translations of names greatly parallel the names and character of God in the Judeo/Christian Bible. With this in mind, The Red Road is also devoted to the teaching of God’s love for Native Americans by showing how He was at work in North American long before the arrival of the Europeans. Armed with this knowledge, we want to see our First Nations people (regardless of their “degree of Indian blood”) rise up on reservations, in First Nations communities, throughout North America and around the world to share the love of Jesus with everyone within their sphere of influence! Jesus said that if we want to follow him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). To this end, The Red Road also represents the blood-stained road that led Jesus to the cross.

 

You can find more information at http://www.theredroad.org/.    If you’re interested in contributing to Living Word’s support of this ministry, please write “to The Red Road” on your offering envelope or make out your check to Living Word and write “The Red Road” on the memo line.