In this chapter of the project, we seek to create space to strengthen relationships by bridging the gap between the Indigenous Peoples and the larger Church Body, in Canada.
This educational project includes twelve art pieces based on the Nativity story. Each piece is accompanied by a devotional and a prayer.
Our prayer is that the Nativity Art Project will encourage healing in Jesus’ name and inspire hope, faith, and joy during the season of Christmas.
This is the foreword to the project:
Contextualisation of the Gospel means placing the Gospel in the context of a people group and letting it grow indigenously. This has not really happened in Canada for Indigenous people. This is because the government (who governed the residential schools) and the churches (who ran the day-to-day operations of the residential schools) did not have a policy of education but rather a policy of assimilation, which is a kinder way of saying eradication.
There are a smattering of contextual ministries in North America but only a very few churches. This is because the Gospel that was given to us was not good news. It was used against our people as a tool or a weapon of assimilation.
Now we have the opportunity to retell the Christmas story in a way that will speak directly to the hearts of Canadians. There is a great need for this type of work. Young Indigenous people have walked away from anything to do with the church because it represents the horrible abuse, pain, and oppression inflicted on our Elders.
This work will also speak to Indigenous Elders. Art is subversive, it bypasses our intellect and gets straight to our hearts. This art will bring healing to many people as they see their own identity uplifted by seeing our own artwork representing and re-telling the Christmas story, in a way that has never been done before because West Coast art is so unique.
This work will also inspire other Indigenous artists to take up the difficult task of translating Bible stories into art that speaks far more volumes than the written word.
Dr. Cheryl Bear, Nadleh Whut’en First Nation and The 24-7 Prayer Canada Team
You can learn more about this amazing project and buy the book for yourself on 24-7 Prayer Canada’s website: check it out.