[Return to Title Page or Main Menu.]
What is This?:
Indications & Contra-Indications
from a Black Theological Perspective
by Theodore Walker, Jr.
Social scientists and social ethicists are frequently expert in studying Native America;
they are seldom instructed by Native Americans
in how to do social studies.
Social scientists and social ethicists are not in the habit of being instructed by Native American social thought. Usually, when academics give attention to Native Americans, it is because Native Americans are the objects of study.
Native Americans are not the objects of study.
The objects of study are
the contemporary disciples of social science and social ethics, and
what social science and social ethics can teach humans about contributing to a more righteous future.
unlike with most academic studies in social science and social ethics,
Native American writers are consulted
for instruction on how to do more adequate social science and social ethics, and
for instruction in more righteous social ethical behaviors.
Native Americans are consulted as teachers/instructors rather than as objects of study.
the title--SOCIAL SCIENCE & SOCIAL ETHICS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY--indicates we are studying social science and social ethics for the purpose of contributing to a more righteous future, and
the subtitle--HERE INSTRUCTED BY NATIVE AMERICAN SOCIAL WISDOM--indicates we are
rightly and gainfully instructed by Native American reflections.
The Native American reflections
by which we are here instructed
reflections written by Native Americans
and deliberately broadcast to the global public
by publication in the English language, in books, journals and world wide web documents. No attempt was made to uncover tribal secrets.
The tribal and national identities of the Native American authors who serve as instructors in this study do not represent the full spectrum of Native American peoples, tribes, and nations.
In terms of the tribal and national identities of Native American authors instructing us here;
voices are dominant.
Intellectual indebtedness reaches beyond this selected few Native American individuals because,
in many instances,
these Native Americans present understandings of human existence they say characterize many Native American peoples, tribes, nations, and religions.
To the degree any such characterizations are correct
(and many, actually most, maybe all, are correct),
here we become more generally indebted to the social wisdom of Native American peoples, tribes, nations, and religions. And the subtitle--HERE INSTRUCTED BY NATIVE AMERICAN SOCIAL WISDOM--indicates this more general indebtedness.
The subtitle--HERE INSTRUCTED BY NATIVE AMERICAN SOCIAL WISDOM--does not indicate this work is a Native American reflection. It is not.
[See EMPOWER THE PEOPLE: SOCIAL ETHICS FOR THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHURCH, volume 5 of the Bishop Henry McNeal Turner Studies in North American Black Religion series (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1991) by Theodore Walker, Jr.]
I claim no membership in any Native American tribe or nation. I have not been initiated into Native American religions or rituals. I have not been in residence on any reservation or active tribal seattlement. I carry no sacred pipes, no sacred bundles, and hold no tribal titles or honors.
I am a black theological social ethicist.
My social ethical reflections are generally instructed
by a philosophy of black power, and more profoundly
by a black churchly understanding of relationship to God and
by a black churchly appropriation of Christian religion and African-American heritage.
[For example, see BLACK INDIANS: A HIDDEN HERITAGE (New York: Atheneum/Macmillan, 1986) by William Loren Katz.]
willingness to learn from other peoples and other religions, including Native American peoples and religions, is well within the tradition of black theology and African-American religious scholarship.
in BLACK THEOLOGY IN DIALOGUE (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987) by J. Deotis Roberts, Roberts prescribes black theological dialogue with other religions and peoples.
see SIGNIFICATIONS: SIGNS, SYMBOLS, AND IMAGES IN THE INTERPRETATION OF RELIGION (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986) by Charles H. Long, and
see especially chapter 12--"Freedom, Otherness, and Religion: Theologies Opaque."
In the red theology of Vine Deloria, Jr. and
in the black theology of James H. Cone,
Long identifies protests "by the opaque ones" against "the authority of the white world to define their reality" (p. 193), and
Long prescribes increased scholarly attention to opaque theologies because
"Those who have lived in the cultures of the oppressed know something about freedom that the oppressors will never know" (p.196).
from the Native American side,
Native Americans have frequently addressed themselves to African-Americans and to black theologians.
African-American and black theological responses are called for.
as indicated in historical sources,
Native American and African-American peoples have a long-standing habit of standing in solidarity against Euro-American enslavement and oppression.
there is good reason and president for black theological social ethical attention to Native American resources.
This work is an attempt to receive the gift of publically offered Native American scholarship as a seriously liberating resource.
While it is a black theologian doing social ethics who here presents social science and social ethics as instructed by Native American social wisdom;
the title and subtitle of this work do not indicate a range of social ethical concern limited to black and African-American peoples, nor to red and Native American peoples.
This is because
the range of black theological social ethical concern is not limited to concern for the well-being of black and African-American peoples,
the range of Native American social ethical concern is not limited to concern for the well-being of red and Native American peoples.
a black theological social ethic rightly instructed by Native American social wisdom
must include an extended range of social ethical concern.
In accordance with the various ranges of Native American social ethical concern,
here our range of social ethical concern extends from the most general population of all peoples (in all actually peopled and possibly peopled places and times) to more specific tribal, national, and ethinic populations, including (as one among equally significant others) African-American populations.
As indicated time and again
throughout this study of social science and social ethics,
Native American social wisdom includes instructions essential to developing
more adequate social ethical studies and
more righteous social ethical practices.
social science and social ethics instructed by Native American social wisdom is important for all humans.
[Return to Title Page or Main Menu.]
NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT: copyright 1997 Theodore Walker, Jr.
This copyright covers all content and formatting (browser-visible and HTML text) in this and attached documents created by Theodore Walker, Jr.
c@Theodore Walker, Jr.
last major update: 9 July 1997
most recent update: 4 November 1997