(photos courtesy Rebecca Milby)
Indian Monument at Little Big Horn National Military Park
For many of us giving thanks today it is easy to forget those who have much to mourn. We should “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:8) but we should also consider all circumstances as best we can. Today marks the National Day of Mourning for the American Indian, it is also the 60th birthday of Bruce Plummer ( Sioux and Assinaboine), a missionary and pastor in Montana. This past August a group from our church had an opportunity to participate with other churches and Montana Indian Ministries in service ministry at the Crow Fair in Crow Agency, MT. The “PowWow” ministry (picking up trash, serving water and coffee) has been pioneered for the last near decade by Bruce. This type of ministry, as well as many other efforts, marks a change in indigenous ministries in North America from the past three hundred years. For the most part most efforts have failed and much has been done in the name of missions and the church that have caused an even greater divide than ever before. The greatest question here is, “does Christ save from culture or within culture?” Bruce is a champion of “being all things to all people” (1 Cor. 9:22) as he is himself to his own people. Bruce continually reminds us that you will not find a Reservation Indian who is an atheist. All have a sense of a Creator God who is Sovereign (Rom. 1), but many are without a personal relationship with the Creator’s Son, Jesus Christ. Bruce is always careful to point out in his testimony, “When I became a Christian, I did not change Gods, I came to an understanding of Who Jesus Christ is.”
Little Boy at Crow Fair
Getting to know Bruce has been one of the many privileges the Lord has given me in my spiritual journey. To know Bruce is to be reminded of the bigness of the Kingdom of God and even God Himself as revealed in His Son Jesus Christ. This day of mourning in which first peoples consider the past and ongoing sufferings of their ancestors and themselves is a reminder to us all as we are giving thanks and rejoicing that we are also commanded to “mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15). It is an important time to remember that Indians are not only historical, but they are here with us. Today, on this day of mourning, and also Bruce’s birthday, would you join me in mourning and praying for the day that thousands more could share in Bruce’s testimony? When the Apostle John saw the great multitude from “every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev 7: 9) that number will include those from North American tribes and peoples, in no small part due to the efforts of missionaries like Bruce Plummer, who reminds us that ultimately God has redeemed from this one earth, one people from all peoples, and there is only one God and He has revealed Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ.
For more information or how you can be involved I encourage you to visit Montana Indian Ministries and I Am Able Ministries , a movement of God through my friend Randy Carruth that connected us with Bruce and is doing much to partner churches and native peoples throughout this continent and beyond.
Bruce and Myself