ANCHORAGE, AK (November 20, 2017) – More than 250 Native college students from across the United States, Canada, and Pacific Islands gathered recently at Community Covenant Church for the Would Jesus Eat Fry Bread? (WJEF) conference.
The conference, held November 9-11, was sponsored by Covenant Youth of Alaska, Nations (a CRU Ministry), Native InterVarsity, Covenant Youth of Alaska, and Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The conference is held annually in different locations.
The conference gave Native students an opportunity to explore their faith while also honoring their people, cultures, and traditions. This year’s theme was “Making All Things New.”
During the conference, participants ate traditional foods, studied Scripture using the First Nations Version of the Bible, and celebrate a contextualized communion using frybread, a Native bread first made by Navajo people in 1844 when the United States government forced Navajo living in Arizona to make the 300-mile journey known as the “Long Walk.”
Students offered songs, dances, stories, poetry, and testimonies as part of a cultural-sharing night.
One of the main speakers was Mark Charles, who is a founding partner of the conference as well as a correspondent for Native News Online. He is currently writing a book with North Park Theological Seminary professor Soong-Chan Rah about the Doctrine of Discovery.
The doctrine was public international law dating back to a Papal bull in the 1400s that gave Christian explorers the right to claim any land inhabited by natives. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the doctrine to support the government’s right to take Native American’s land.