Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Finding Salvation through the Native Americans

The Native Americans have rarely been treated well by the European immigrants who have come to North and South America (the Russians, Samuel de Champlain, and William Penn being a few rare exceptions).  Tens of millions of the Natives died after their arrival, a mass death that hardly ever registers even a peep of concern from Evangelicals and other American Supremacists who are otherwise obsessed with African slavery.  But this is likely because they view the Native Americans as pre-Modern deadweight holding back Blessed Progress from marching forward and establishing the Millennium:

All presidents since George H. W. Bush in 1990 have designated the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month. This November, Trump added another federal government observance to the month of November: “National American History and Founders Month.” This observance honors the white European settlers who introduced to the “New World” the genocide of 65 million native peoples, stretching from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. Lowry discounts this genocide by claiming it resulted in a “stupendous boon,” as far as the United States in concerned.

Never-ending guilt over African slavery, and the need to atone for it, can be used as a heavy iron rod to smash into pieces traditional Christian societies like the South and replace them with deracinated individuals in the mold of the Puritan-Yankee homo economicus.  No such utilitarian use has apparently been found for the Native Americans, so they are consigned for eradication, whether slow or fast.

That such a lot has been chosen for them is evidenced anew by the recent construction of oil pipelines that run through their lands and waters, spilling thousands of gallons of oil periodically that poison their food and water supplies:

Furthermore, the spirit of ‘Conquistador Christianity’, as Wendell Berry has termed it, is alive and well in the ways in which ‘Western Christians’ (i.e., those who have fallen away from the Orthodox Church) interact with the Native Americans today (when they deign to do so):

Earlier, Jeanine Añez, tweeted, “I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites, the city is not for the Indians who should stay in the highlands or the Chaco”. That says it all, where Bolivia is headed, unless – unless another people’s revolution will stop this nefarious course. Ms. Añez apparently has since removed the tweet.

One of the internal drivers of the ‘golpe’ is Luis Fernando Camacho, a far-right multi-millionaire, from the Santa Cruz region, where the US have supported and encouraged separatism. Camacho, a religious bible fanatic, received support from Colombia, Brazil and the Venezuelan opposition – and, of course, he is the US henchman to lead the ‘coup’ internally.

As Max Blumenthal from “The Grayzone” reports,

“When Luis Fernando Camacho stormed into Bolivia’s abandoned presidential palace in the hours after President Evo Morales’s sudden November 10 resignation, he revealed to the world a side of the country that stood at stark odds with the plurinational spirit its deposed socialist and Indigenous leader had put forward. – With a Bible in one hand and a national flag in the other, Camacho bowed his head in prayer above the presidential seal, fulfilling his vow to purge his country’s Native heritage from government and “return God to the burned palace.” Camacho added “Pachamama will never return to the palace,” referring to the Andean Mother Earth spirit. “Bolivia belongs to Christ.”

These acts of chauvinistic hubris will only serve to alienate the peoples of North and South America from the Church, especially the Native Americans.  But, thanks be to God, He is calling both Natives and Western Europeans into the Orthodox Church through the prayers and quiet, humble acts of His saints, some of whom are from the Native tribes. 

One of these is our Holy Mother Olga of Kwethluk, Alaska, who reposed on November 8th, 1979.  Through her earthly life and now her wonder-tokens (miracles), the love and power of the Holy Trinity are being made manifest in the world.  This is how the Church will grow and spread once again in the Americas:  not through the brute force of a Charlemagne or a secretly CIA-directed and -funded denominational missionary crusade.

Would it not be a remarkable act of God’s Providence, that, despite their centuries-long mistreatment at the hands of ‘superior Westerners’, it could be the lowly (in the world’s eyes) Orthodox Native saints like Mother Olga, Peter the Aleut, and others who bring light and freedom to the spiritually blind and bound (and proud) Protestants, Roman Catholics, and post-Protestants of the Americas; and thereby imparting wholeness and harmony to their various political communities as well?

Holy Mother Olga, pray to God for us sinners!

Matushka Olga Michael, wife of the departed Archpriest Nikolai O. Michael from the village of Kwethluk on the Kuskokwim River in Alaska, as described in Fr. Michael Oleksa's book, Orthodox Alaska, was neither a "physically impressive or imposing figure." She raised eight children to maturity, giving birth to several of them without a midwife. While her husband was away taking care of many other parishes, she kept busy raising her family and doing many things for other people. One is reminded of the story of Tabitha in the book of Acts (9:36-ff) when hearing that "[i]n addition to sewing Father Nikolai's vestments in the early years and crafting beautiful parkas, boots and mittens for her children, she was constantly sewing or knitting socks or fur outerwear for others. Hardly a friend or neighbor was without something Matushka had made for them. Parishes hundreds of miles away received unsolicited gifts, traditional Eskimo winter boots ('mukluks') to sell or raffle for their building fund. All the clergy of the deanery wore gloves or woolen socks ... [which she] had made for them" (p. 203). While fulfilling many of the other tasks (like preparing the eucharistic bread) that are often assumed by other priests' wives, she also knew the hymns of many feast days, including Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Pascha in Yup'ik (her Eskimo language) by heart. After, miraculously surviving an initial bout with cancer when it seemed that nothing could be done, she eventually succumbed to a return of the disease, preparing herself for death which took place on November 8, 1979 with great courage and faith.

It appeared that the normal snow and river ice of that time of the year would prevent many people from attending her funeral. But, the weather uncharacteristically changed and a southerly wind helped to melt the ice and snow allowing parishioners from the neighboring villages to make the journey to Kwethluk. "Hundreds of friends ... filled the newly-consecrated church on the extraordinary spring-like day of the funeral. Upon exiting the church, the procession was joined by a flock of birds, although by that time of year, all birds have long since flown south. The birds circled overhead, and accompanied the coffin to the grave site. The usually frozen soil had been easy to dig because of the unprecedented thaw. That night, after the memorial meal, the wind began to blow again, the ground refroze, ice covered the river, winter returned. It was as if the earth itself had opened to receive this woman. The cosmos still cooperates and participates in the worship of the Real People [i.e. the name native people give to themselves] offer to God" (p. 205).

However, it is not just her story that has been so special and life changing to others, but the actual encounter with her presence that has taken place in remarkable ways. One woman, originally from Kwethluk but now living in Arizona, had a dream in which Matushka Olga appeared, assuring her that her mother would be alright because she was coming to join her in a bright and joyful place. This woman did not known her mother was sick at the time, that she had been rushed to Anchorage, and that she would soon die. But the next day she received news of her mother's emergency evacuation and rushed from Arizona to Alaska, comforting her mother with the news Matushka Olga had brought her about her eternal destiny. The woman died in peace and with her daughter without the shock and grief that would have certainly ensued if the dream had not reassured her.

Another woman, after viewing a picture of Matushka Olga, experienced a "compassionate, loving, gentle, and very real—very accessible presence."

The most detailed account comes from an Orthodox woman who, as in the previous example, had suffered for many years from the consequences of severe sexual abuse experienced as a child. This is her testimony of meeting Matushka Olga:

 . . .


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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