Scope of Topics:
Les sauvages is a French term initially used by the Jesuits (among many others) in Les Relations, to describe the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and elsewhere. Le sophistiqué, describes what appears in those same writings – the triumphalist, self-congratulatory attitude of Euro-centric theologies and praxis. From this difficult legacy, NAIITS has chosen a path of reconciliation. Reconciliation has many facets. It begins with an acknowledgement that something went wrong between two people or two groups of people – that relationship has been severed. Usually this acknowledgement includes, and, most often begins with an apology. In Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand apologies of sorts have been issued by churches and, in some cases, governments.
In Canada, for example, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established, following an all-party apology in the House of Commons, June 11, 2008, to pursue two noble goals – uncovering the truth, and seeking reconciliation. In Australia on February 13, 2008, the Prime Minister moved an apology to Australian Indigenous peoples followed by a response. In the United States, on December 22, 2009, an apology to Native Americans was buried in an omnibus appropriations bill. Nothing followed. In New Zealand, no apology has been forthcoming.
What is the nature of reconciliation? What, if anything, must precede and/or follow acknowledgement of relationship breakdown and the necessity of its restoration? What actions, if any, does the Christian gospel call us to in order to effect reconciliation? What frames a biblical theology of reconciliation? How might an Indigenous theology of reconciliation of those who follow Jesus offer a different perspective? What might constitute such a theology?
NAIITS invites proposals from both scholars and practitioners for papers on the topic of “Theologies of Reconciliation: les sauvages et le sophistiqué”, examining the differentiated responses of Indigenous and colonial peoples in the experience of reconciliation and relational restoration. Particular attention should be paid to the interplay of articulated theology and praxis. Papers that utilize any of a broad range of research methodologies will be considered. Submissions should address one or more of the following topic areas:
• Examining Native North American or other Indigenous peoples perspectives of the nature of reconciliation between people (individual and/or group) in the aftermath of conflict – whether violent or passive-resistant;
• The role of Indigenous or Indigenous Christian tradition in the formation of restorative experiences;
• Potential implications of an inadequate response to the circumstance of relational breech in terms of ongoing conflict and/or suspicion by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of one another;
• Implications for Indigenous peoples who are, or for those who may yet choose to become, followers of the Jesus Way
• Submissions on topics that relate clearly to the overall theme will also be considered.
Papers should strive to demonstrate how traditional understandings within Indigenous contexts and cultural perspectives might be strengthened, or how new ideas and practices of contextualization might be implemented to further the goals of Indigenous ministry and the advance of Indigenous people in life, service, and the spiritual journey with Jesus. Papers could address themselves to both traditional and more contemporary ideas of Indigenous Christian faith, as well as contemporary Indigenous Christian thought related to contextualization.