Native American Ministries

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Native American Ministries of the TN Conference United Methodist Church was created in the late 1980s with a particular focus on urban ministries. Over 60% of Native Americans live away from reservations. After WWII, natives were bussed off reservations into large cities, adding to the trauma of losing more cultural and traditional identity, thus “urban ministry.” Within the TN Conference, we have large rural areas, so our focus extends beyond urban areas.

The TN Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) has been committed and active in working with the Native American Community, the local church and the community at large.

Mary T Newman is the Committee Coordinator for CONAM:

The current co-chairs are Pat Bryan: and Debbie Fitzhugh:



Program Resources

  • giving-our-hearts-awayGiving Our Hearts Away (37 minutes, not including the audio book)
    “Stories of Native Americans throughout the U.S. speak of their faith journeys and issues confronting communities historically and today.”




  • lost-in-the-barrensLost in the Barrens (93 minutes)
    “An adventure story of an orphaned teenager, Jamie, who leaves prep school after his scholarship runs out. He joins a traditional hunt and with another hunter is lost and they have to learn to respect and depend on each other to survive in an unforgiving land.”





  • sitting-bull-1954Sitting Bull
    “Shows the engagement of General George Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.”
    This includes three other movies:

    • Battles of Chief Pontiac (72 minutes)
      “A proposed peace treaty between the British and Chief Pontiac which is done honorably and the battle that ensues.”
    • Against a Crooked Sky (87 minutes)
      “A young boy struggles to save his kidnapped sister.”
    • The Great Indian Wars Documentary (95 minutes)
      “The struggle for territory between whites and Native Americans.”


  • stories-from-the-circle-of-lifeStories from the Circle of Life includes a study guide and audio book




  • Trail of Tears Narration by James Earl Jones and others. This includes four movies:
    • Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy – a two-hour documentary exploring the historical tragedy of the forced removal.
    • Black Indians: An American Story – a marginalized group discounted and often ignored by mainstream studies.
    • Native American Healing in the 21st Century – Contributions Native Americans made through ancient health and healing methods.
    • Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding Schools – Native American perspective on Indian Boarding Schools and uncovers the dark history of U.S. Government Policy which took Indian children from their homes.
  • great_indian_warsThe Great Indian Wars Five-Part Series (1540-1890)
    “Comprised of biographies and pictures as part of the timeline in our history.”





  • Searching for a Native American Identity from the Moyers Collection by Louise Erdrich and Michael Dorris (30 minutes)
    “In this program with Bill Moyers, Erdrich and Dorris discuss faith and the search for a Native American identity in a pluralistic society.”
  • oren-lyonsOren Lyons the Faithkeeper from the Moyers Collections (58 minutes)
    “This program features Native American Chief Oren Lyons, a leader in the international environmental movement, who shares with Bill Moyers the ancient legends, prophecies, and wisdom that guide the Onondaga tribe.”



  • Way of the Warrior as seen on PBS (57 minutes)
    “Way of the Warrior examines the visceral nature of war and the bravery of Native American veterans who served in WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War – and came to grips with difficult post-war personal and societal conditions.”
  • tales-of-wonder“Tales of Wonder I” and “Tales of Wonder II” from the “Circle of Life” series (120 minutes)
    “Greg Howard, of Cherokee/Powhatan descent, at one time ‘Storyteller of the Year’ by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.”





  • smokin-fishSmokin’ Fish (57 minutes)
    “Cory Mann (Tlingit) decides to spend a summer smoking fish at a family’s traditional fish camp. This story of his life and the history of his people interweaves with using traditional methods also runs alongside the pressure to keep his business afloat.




  • the-way-westThe Way West: How the West was Lost & Won 1845-1893 Series as seen on PBS
    “This is a six-hour documentary series from Ric Burns and chronicles the final decades of the American frontier from the time of the Gold Rush until after the battle at Wounded Knee.”




  • voices-from-the-landNative American Voices from the Land (9 hours & 48 minutes)
    “Examines Native American culture past and present and its attempts to halt assimilation and retain native cultural traditions.”




  • True Reconciliaton by Vladimir Paoul
    “Often what is done in the name of reconciliation serves only to confuse the issues rather than drawing peoples together for a mutual healing.”
CDs and Audiobooks
  • giving-our-hearts-awayGiving Our Hearts Away: Native American Survival by Thom White Wolf Fassett
    Audio Narrative, seven chapters.
    “A straightforward narrative of the history of the United States, from a Native American Perspective.”




  • one-voiceOne Voice: The Story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest
    “A celebration of the revitalization of the Hawaiian language”



  • our-spirits-dont-speak-englishOur Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School from the “Circle of Life” series.
    “Native American perspective on Indian Boarding Schools, uncovering the dark history of U.S. Government Policy which took Indian children from their homes.”




  • Passages – The Native American Stories, Vol I and II CD Produced by Ray Buckley and Bill Wolfe. “Clips of the daily perspectives of Native Americans.”