Circle of Healing: Traditional Storytelling, Part Two

Walter Porter

Abstract

Introduction. For decades, Bible stories have been a source of both conflict and healing. In earlier days, Christian missionaries often went to considerable lengths to question the accuracy of traditional northern Native stories, especially those with supernatural dimensions, and to discredit traditional Native spiritual leaders, such as medicine men and women, angakoks, and shamans. The missionaries’ efforts often undercut Native culture and sometimes contributed to the intergenerational trauma that creates widespread hurt and pain in northern Native communities today. At the same time, a significant number of northern Native people derive considerable solace and support from their Christian beliefs and church affiliations, and many Christian religious organizations active in the North today no longer oppose traditional Native stories, practices, and values. Many northern Native people recognize that there is great value in both Native stories and the stories found in the Bible, but some still feel a tension in trying to reconcile acceptance of both. In his presentation, Walter Porter provided an interesting perspective on this issue, and his approach has considerable potential for healing. WHA

  • Walter Porter, Maniilaq, P.O. Box 953, Kotzebue, Alaska 99752

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