Native American Mission

The Mar Thoma Diocese of North America and Europe has been actively involved in mission work among Native Americans in the United States for the past 18 years. The Native Americans are indigenous people who have lived in the Americas for thousands of years. They belong to over 500 different tribes, each with distinct culture, language, and traditions. Many of these tribes struggle with poverty, health issues, alcoholism, unemployment, and other challenges. They have a lack of leadership and resources. Only 20% of the total population is affiliated with any Christian church. Of these, only 25% of the churches are led by the Native American leaders. The aim of the Native American Mission (NAM) is to foster spiritual and holistic growth of the Native American communities and provide them with opportunities for direct involvement in the mission.

Volunteers from different parts of the Diocese join together for mission efforts among the Native Americans. The mission serves the Choctaw Native American community in Oklahoma and Alabama and also the Navajo Native American community in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and the southern section of Utah. The Mar Thoma Church works collaboratively with these groups to deepen Christian faith, have fellowship in Christ, and encourage leadership. God’s love is shown in action through organized activities throughout the various mission sites, including seasonal camps, youth conferences, Bible studies, Vacation Bible Schools, medical clinics, team building sessions, community carnivals, basketball tournaments, building and renovation projects, and leadership training for future church leaders. There is also a scholarship program in place for students who wish to further their education.

In 2020, people all over the world were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Native American communities, along with many other minority groups and low-income communities, have been disproportionately affected by this virus. Basic CDC recommendations regarding social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent the spread of the virus are difficult to achieve in these populations. In certain areas, clean water for basic hand hygiene is scarce. Nearly one-third of Navajo Land households do not have access to running water. Housing shortages on reservations make social distancing very difficult. Many Native Americans that rely on their small businesses and tourism for their livelihood were also greatly impacted financially.

The Native American Mission Subcommittee consisted of Rev. Christopher Phil Daniel (Convener), Rev. Shibi M. Abraham, Mrs. Nirmala Abraham, Dr. Suresh Mathews, Ms. Sheeba Mathew, Mr. Jacob Idichandy, Mr. Shaji S. Ramapuram.