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Center for Native Leadership Development Established

“There is no hope in the town I grew up in. Dope has taken over, no one is sober. Family and friends are over taken by drugs, alcohol, and gangs. God deliver my love ones from the stronghold of the devil. A color united (gangs) and broke my brothers. Piece by piece The Lord will put back together, we shall stand stronger than ever. Men of God we will be once we put our past to history.”

-Joseph Johnson, II, a tribal member and resident of the Navajo Nation

The American Indian and Alaskan Native community experience a unique reality in the United States. By virtue of their indigenous origin, they participate in a system of sovereign government status. This feature means their world experience entails the familiarity of living in a country within a country.

While this sounds incredible in terms of policy, the indigenous peoples of America suffer through societal problems both on the reservation and in urban settings, including poverty, unemployment, violence, and substance abuse:

  • Nine states have poverty rates of about 30 percent or more for American Indians and Alaska Natives (Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah). [1]
  • The percentage of American Indian or Alaska Native adults who needed treatment for an alcohol or illicit drug use problem in the past year was higher than the national average for adults (18.0 vs. 9.6 percent). [2]
  • Studies suggest that crime rates are much higher for Native Americans compared with the national average. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, American Indians and Alaska Natives experience violent crimes at rates far greater than the general population. [3]
  • In 2011, the unemployment rate for the United States averaged 8.9 percent but varied among racial and ethnic groups. The rates were highest for non-Hispanic Blacks (15.9 percent) and for American Indians and Alaska Natives (14.6 percent). [4]

Amidst the fog of hopelessness, many American Indians and Alaska Natives find answers in the gospel message of Jesus Christ when presented through a Native cultural method. These efforts of outreach and help come at the support of both the indigenous and non-indigenous. These partnerships often promote Native American leaders towards self-sufficiency whereby they communicate and support their community more efficiently because of the tools and networks acquired.

While this may sound like an oxymoron when considering the history of Christianity and colonialism in the Americas, the opposite is true in terms of American Indians and Alaska Natives embracing Christianity in their “cultural eyes”.

As stated poetically in the quotation above,

“Piece by piece, the Lord will put back together, we shall stand stronger than ever. Men of God we will be once we put our past to history”

This statement is the cry and prayer of both Global University and the Native American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God. That is joining together in partnership for the purpose of educating and training Native Americans for church leadership. This endeavor allows the Natives to establish leaders for their communities in their own cultural mode.

Therefore, the two organizations put a project together titled “Center for Native Leadership Development”. Its focus is a three part emphasis: study, mentorship, and ministry. The result of the program brings a person towards qualification for ministerial credentials, and adequate training for assuming leadership roles like pastoral ministry or new church developments. Finally, at the forefront is the vision of reaching peoples with a message of hope and training leaders for ministry, everywhere!



[1] American Indian and Alaska Native Poverty Rate about 50 percent in Rapid city, S.D., and about 30 percent in five others cities, Census Bureau reports, February 20, 2013, http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/american_community_survey_acs/cb13-29.html.

[2] Substance abuse among American Indian or Alaska Native adults, June 24, 2010, http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k10/182/AmericanIndian.htm.

[3] Tribal Crime and Justice, February 20, 2013, http://www.nij.gov/topics/tribal-justice/.

[4] Racial and Ethnic characteristics of the U.S. labor force, 2011, September 5, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120905.htm.