Monday, December 29, 2008

The Algonquians of Schaghticoke

In a recent post, I mentioned something about a village called Schaghticoke that (according to Patrick Frazier) was inhabited by refugees from various Algonkian nations. Not long after that post hit the net, I got a message from one of the Schaghticoke Indians, a man who identified himself as Mickey. I spoke with him this morning on the phone and the history which he told me about is better taken from the Schaghticoke Indian Reservation's website than from my notes.

As you know, this blog is about Christianity in the Algonkian tribes, so I asked Mickey if he is a Christian. I don't remember what he said, but it wasn't "yes" and it wasn't "no" either.

There is a stereotype held by some non-Christian Indians that Christianity is "the white man's religion" and nothing more than a tool of oppression. But then there are people like Mickey, who, although they are not members of a Christian church, understand that the Algonkian Indians were spiritual people before whites came to Turtle Island (America) and most of the ones who became Christians did it to maintain their spirituality.

According to Mickey, Algonquian means "All become One," and he and his people are doing what they can to put a stop to all kinds of segregation. This strikes me as being different from other Indian communities that I know of. Often in the course of trying to preserve an Indian community, the downside is that outsiders don't always feel welcome.

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