ORTHODOX HEART SITES
NATIVE AMERICANS MET ORTHODOXY
Native Americans and Orthodoxy
Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA
[Ancient Faith Radio; August 28, 2008]
Frederica Mathewes-Green: Here I am, I’m in Anchorage, Alaska. My first visit to Alaska, this completes my visiting fifty states. This is my fiftieth state, so it’s wonderful to be here at last. I am on the grounds of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, speaking to Steven Alvarez, who is- what is your role here at the center?
Steven Alvarez: I am Director of Strategic Initiatives and Media.
FMG: You were telling me you produce films sometimes for the center as well. And we were hearing the story of what brought you here, you said it was St. Herman that brought you. To begin with, your heritage goes back to New Mexico, your background is Apache. You were telling me that it’s connected with some of the peoples in Alaska, as well.
SA: Right. The Athabaskans up here share a common language (a common language base), and we’re pretty much the same people.
FMG: And, how in the world did you end up becoming Orthodox?
SA: I was part of San Jose Christian Fellowship that converted back in 1993. And I was the music director there at the church, and so that whole process brought us to Orthodoxy and…
FMG: You were swept up.
SA: Yeah, yeah.
FMG: Had you been a Christian all your life?
SA: I was raised Roman Catholic. So I had really no issues with the theology. I mean, I grew up with it. The only question that I kept asking was, once we become Orthodox, where does the band go? (laughs)
FMG: Because you were the percussionist in the worship band.
SA: I was the worship leader.
FMG: Oh, you were the worship leader.
SA: Yeah, and so we were chrismated and I was ordained a subdeacon that Continue reading “Native Americans and Orthodoxy – Frederica Mathewes-Green, USA”
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
After 87 years at the Smithsonian,
bones of Alaska Natives returned and reburied
Anthropologists once excavated the graves of thousands of Native Americans. Now museums in the U.S. are slowly working to return those remains and funerary objects to tribes.
A village in southwest Alaska recently reburied 24 of their ancestors who had been excavated by a Smithsonian anthropologist in 1931.
About half of the village of Igiugig crowded into the Russian Orthodox Church in the center of town on a drizzly fall day. In the center of the nave sat three handmade, wooden coffins that held the bones from the now-abandoned settlement of Kaskanak.
The remains were unearthed by Aleš Hrdlička, who was the head of the anthropology department in what is now the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The question of how people originally came to North America and from where drove Hrdlička to dig up the bones of Native Americans all around the United States. Historians estimate that he took thousands to Washington, D.C., for research.
After more than eight decades in the museum’s collection, Igiugig’s ancestors finally returned home for reburial.