Indigenous/Native Theologians You Should Know About

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In celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, here are a few Native/Indigenous theologians  you should know about.

Sandra T. Montes, Ed.D

Dr. Sandra Montes is ECF’s Spanish Language Resource Consultant. Born in Perú, Sandra grew up in Guatemala and settled in Texas as soon as she could. Her passions are God, family (especially her son), music, education, and writing. She has been developing original bilingual resources for her church, school, and others for years. Sandra has been volunteering and working in the Episcopal Church since she was welcomed into Her in 1986. She serves as musician, translator, speaker, consultant, and writer. She is the Worship Director at Union Theological Seminary and  holds a doctorate in Education. She also is the author of Becoming Real: And Thriving in Ministry.

The Rev. Isaiah “Shaneequa” Brokenleg

The Rev. Isaiah “Shaneequa” Brokenleg is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Nation). She is the Staff Officer for Racial Reconciliation for the Episcopal Church. She is a priest in the Diocese of South Dakota, where she grew up, and the place she calls home. From an academic perspective, Shaneequa has a Masters of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Minnesota. Prior to priesthood, she worked as an Epidemiologist and served Indian Country in the Great Lakes region for over a decade. From a cultural/spiritual perspective Shaneequa believes that we are all related (“mitakuye oyasin”), and that the Gospel calls us to be “good relatives” to one another. Having grown up on the Rosebud reservation she has experienced and witnessed the devastating effects of historical/generational trauma, colonization, and racism. As a winktè (Lakota two-spirit), she is called to be a healer and move our communities in the direction of positive change, in the direction of reconciliation, toward living in right-relationship with one another. She strives to live out her calling through her work, our church, her art, and in her life.

Randy Woodley, Ph.D

Dr. Randy Woodley is the Professor of Faith and Culture Director of Intercultural and Indigenous Studies at Portland, Seminary. Woodley has written a number of  books including, The Harmony Tree: A Story of Healing and Community, 2016 (Friesen Press), Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision, 2012 (Eerdmans) and Living in Color: Embracing God’s Passion for Ethnic Diversity, 2004 (IVP). He has authored numerous book chapters and contributed essays and articles in compilations such as the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (Baker Academic), An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Baker), The Justice Project (Baker), and The Global Dictionary of Theology (IVP).

Cheryl Bear, D.Min

Dr. Cheryl Bear is from the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation community (Bear Clan) in northern British Columbia. She is a multi-award winning singer/songwriter who shares stories of Indigenous life—the joy, sorrow, faith, and journey.

As a public speaker and teacher, Cheryl advocates for deeper understanding between cultures, while spreading awareness of Native issues and culture.  She is one of the founding members of NAIITS (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies), and an Associate Professor at Regent College in Vancouver, BC. She is also a published author, publishing Introduction to First Nations Ministry in 2013.

The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston

Bishop Steven Charleston is an elder of the Choctaw Nation and the retired Episcopal bishop of Alaska. He is the former dean of Episcopal Divinity School, from 1999 to 2008. He is the author of The Four Vision Quests of Jesus, Coming Full Circle: Constructing Native Christian Theology, and many other books.

Dr. Casey Church

Dr. Casey Church (Doctor of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary) is director of Wiconi, a ministry to Native American and First Nations people. Casey is a board member for NAIITS (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies).  He is a contributing writer for the NAIITS academic journal. He has served as a consultant and interim staff member for the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church’s Office of Native American and Indigenous Ministries. Books by Dr. Church include, Holy Smoke: The Contextual Use of Native American Ritual and Ceremony, and Native American Rites of Passage: The Process of Change and Transition

Ray Aldred, Th.D

Ray Alfred, Th.D. [cand.] (Cree) graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Canadian Theological Seminary with his BTh and his MDiv degrees.

Reverend Ray Aldred is ordained with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada.

Ray is the director of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology whose mission is to partner with the Indigenous Church around theological education. Formerly Ray served as the Assistant Professor of Theology at Ambrose Seminary in Calgary, Alberta.  He is former Director for the First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada, now a committee member, where he works to encourage Indigenous churches.  He is the chairperson of Indigenous Pathways. Ray’s passion is to help as many as possible hear the gospel in their heart language.

He is a contributor to and product of the NAIITS approach to theological and Biblical training.

Tink Tinker, Ph.D

B.A., New Mexico Highlands University
M.Div., Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union

A member of the ILIFF School of Theology faculty since 1985, Tink Tinker teaches courses in American Indian cultures, history, and religious traditions; cross-cultural and Third-World theologies; and justice and peace studies and is a frequent speaker on these topics both in the U.S. and internationally. His publications include American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty (2008); Spirit and Resistance: Political Theology and American Indian Liberation(2004); and Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Genocide (1993). He co-authored A Native American Theology (2001); and he is co-editor of Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance (2003), and Fortress Press’ Peoples’ Bible (2008).

Dr. Tinker has volunteered in the Indian community as (non–stipendiary) director of Four Winds American Indian Survival Project in Denver for two decades. In that capacity he functions in the urban Indian community as a traditional American Indian spiritual leader. He is past president of the Native American Theological Association and a member of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians.

The Rt. Rev. Carol J. Gallagher, Ph.D

Bishop Carol J. Gallagher serves as Central Regional Canon of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. She has served as the Assistant Bishop for Native Ministries in the Diocese of Montana and Bishop Missioner for the Bishop’s Native Collaborative. Her writing can be found in Coming Full Circle: Constructing Native Christian Theology (2015), and her books include Family Theology (2012) and Reweaving the Sacred(2008), focused on congregational development. She has served as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Newark and as Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

The Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff, ClinPsyD

The Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff is the Episcopal Church Missioner for Indigenous Ministries.

As Missioner for Indigenous Ministries, Hauff is responsible for enabling and empowering Indigenous peoples and their respective communities within the Episcopal Church. His primary focus is  leadership development, education and ministry development opportunities by and for Indigenous peoples by recognizing and empowering leaders from within the community.

Hauff has been rector of All Saints’ Torresdale Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, PA, (Diocese of Pennsylvania) since 2012. He previously served in congregations in the dioceses of Florida, Minnesota, South Dakota and Texas. Hauff is enrolled with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, headquartered in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He is a speaker, presenter and author on various Native American topics and issues.

He on The Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC); Board of Examining Chaplains in the Dioceses of Florida and Pennsylvania; and the Board of Trustees and adjunct faculty member at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois.

He holds a Master of Divinity from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; a Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Minnesota School of Professional Psychology of Argosy University; a Master of Education from South Dakota State University; and a Bachelor of Arts, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Rev. Dr. Nicole Foster the T.V. Host and founding minister of The Hippie Theologian. She holds a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, a Master of Divinity from Redeemer Theological Seminary and a B.A. in History from Southern Methodist University. She’s an ordained Anglican minister and teaches Old Testament for various organizations. She loves to hike, camp, make organic soap, and be a beach bum as often as possible.

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