On July 8, we heard from Indigenous theologian, Vance Blackfox, who has been committed to teaching ELCA leaders and members the importance of learning about Indigenous people and how to be in better relationship with "the oppressed of the oppressed." We heard some of Vance's journey in the Church and what inspires and convicts him to work with non-Native people, white people in particular, to help us heal and to ready us to join the journey of Truth and Healing for the sake of Indigenous people on Turtle Island (what many of us call North America).
Vance Blackfox, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is the Director of Other+Wise, a multi-site cultural immersion program for youth from across the country. An alumnus of Texas Lutheran University (TLU) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), Vance has served the ELCA in multiple capacities, from taking a post as National President of the Lutheran Youth Organization during this TLU days, to later working for the Women of the ELCA, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, California Lutheran University, ELCA Youth Gathering, and LSTC's Youth in Mission. At present, he is the Indigenous Theologian and Coordinating Team Member for the ELCA's Theological Round Table, as well as creator and producer of the Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium hosted at LSTC.
Vance has also served Indian Country in a variety of ways throughout his life. He presently serves as Director of Communications at The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, previously served as the Director of Communications for Native Americans in Philanthropy and has held executive director positions at the Haskell Foundation and Oaks Indian Mission. Vance has served as both President and Treasurer of the Board of Directors for The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and has been appointed Guest Curator of the Indian Museum at the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute of Texas Cultures. He is also presently the Indigenous Theologian for the Faith-Based Initiative for the City of San Antonio, where he currently resides.
How have we been church, with individuals and with communities? How are we being church? How are we called to be church with all people, with creation, and in an ever-changing world?