Restoration of Culture and Calling: A Historical Perspective on Intercessory Prayer for Native America


Historical References and Anniversaries

Indians Forced to Cut Their Hair – January 13, 1902
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On January 13, 1902, Commissioner W.S. Jones, from the Office of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior in Washington, wrote a letter stating that all Indian men should cut their hair so that they can advance in civilization. The letter also mentioned that every means should be taken to insure that all Indian men cut their hair, even to the point of withholding supplies. It was also suggested that all Indians stop wearing their regalia and blankets. This letter represents a huge misunderstanding of American Indian culture, a huge sense of fear, and an obvious push toward assimilation and control. I encourage you to click the link and read the letter. Many people are shocked to learn that these letters and policies took place. This is just one of many.

Scripture References

Among indigenous peoples history there are many reasons for maintaining long hair and cutting hair. In fact, many of the ceremonies and beliefs of different tribes might resemble those of Old Testament Hebrew history. For more information on tribal customs, I would recommend you do a little research. However, for the purposes of our prayer points and study, I will provide some Scripture references that illustrate Biblical history, early church culture and spiritual principles we can apply today.

Growing Long Hair as a Vow

“Then he told her all his mind and said to her, A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my birth. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his mind, she went and called for the Philistine lords, saying, Come up this once, for he has told me all he knows. Then the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the money in their hands. And she made Samson sleep upon her knees and she called a man and caused him to shave off the seven braids of his head. Then she began to torment [Samson], and his strength went from him. She said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! And he awoke out of his sleep and said, I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free. For Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him.” Judges 16:17-20 (Read 16:17-30) (Amplified)

Also read Numbers 6:1-21

Cutting Hair in Mourning

“Make yourself bald in mourning and cut off your hair for the children of your delight; enlarge your baldness as the eagle, for [your children] shall be carried from you into exile.” Micah 1:16 (Amplified)

Also read Job 1:20 & Jeremiah 7:29

Cutting Hair for Convenience

“And when he cut the hair of his head, he weighed it – for at each year’s end he cut it, because its weight was a burden to him – and it weighed 200 shekels by the king’s weight.” 2 Samuel 14:26 (Amplified)

Cutting Long Hair as an End to a Vow – Early Christian Church

“Take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses [for the temple offering], so that they may have their heads shaved. Thus everybody will know that there is no truth ion what they have been told about you, but that you yourself walk in observance of the Law.” Acts 21:24 (Amplified).

Cutting Long Hair Because of Early Church Culture

“Does not the native sense of propriety (experience, common sense, reason) itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is a dishonor [humiliating and degrading] to him, But if a woman has long hair, it is her ornament and glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.” 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 (Read Chapter 11) (Amplified)

Prayer for Restoration of Culture and Calling

Abba Father, Yahweh, thank you for your many beautiful indigenous peoples, their customs and cultures. We pray for your grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness as we face the history of the early church in North America and walk on a journey shadowed by many generations of consequences. Only you know the width and the depth of the devastation to our American Indian people who were forced to cut their hair at the whim of the dominating population. Only you know how many Godly vows were ended before their time, how many people were left powerless in forced disobedience, how many hearts were broken. Only you know how many generations were in a constant state of mourning. Only you know the balance of faith, religion and culture. Only you know the fullness of the early church traditions, what you meant as permanent, what you meant as temporary, what you meant for Gentiles and for Jews. Only you know what was meant for Christian traditions in North America and what you asked of your indigenous people in coming to faith. Even with all of the unknowns, your indigenous people were not given the gift of choice. Whether for food or faith, their ‘salvation’ on this earth and eternity was directly linked to their hair instead of their personal relationship with you. Yahweh, we ask that you restore all that was lost when the government, the schools and the church forced indigenous people to forsake their identity and culture by cutting their hair. We ask that you restore the hearts of our indigenous people, restore the capacity and compassionate convictions to serve you and restore the gifts and callings you have for indigenous people. We pray that your people, all your people, will recognize, accept and pursue the nurturing and flourishing of your gifts and callings among our American Indian people. Father, continue to guide us in prayer regarding the restoration of American Indian culture and callings according to your perfect will, by the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Rev. Jeny Running Brook Covill
First Nations Monday

(Note: This is Part 3 of a study that was originally prepared in January 2012 in partnership with NIAP Prayer Shield)

Books Used in this 12 Month Study

The Holy Bible in the following translations: KJV, NIV, Amplified, NASB, CEV and The Scriptures.

“Church History in Plain Language” by Bruce L. Shelley

“Encyclopedia of Native American Wars & Warfare”. General Editors William B. Kessel, Ph.D. and Robert Wooster, Ph.D.

“This Day In North American Indian History” by Phil Konstantin

As with the First Nations Monday prayer and Scripture studies, I like to study with 5 translations. As you go through these studies, I encourage you to do the same. “The Scriptures” is a translation that includes the original Hebrew names and has the books in chronological order. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) is a translation that is written for ‘oral tradition’ peoples and it flows well while reading it aloud. The Amplified version is one where meanings of words and phrases are ‘amplified’ for better understanding. The King James Version (KJV) is the translation that works well with Strong’s Concordance. The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) is a great companion version that I find gives great insight.

In addition, consider the following:

First Nations Version Project
A retelling of the Sacred Scriptures for Native Americans and all English speaking Indigenous peoples.

Cherokee Bible Project – ONLINE – New Testament

Cherokee Bible Project – ONLINE – Old Testament

Cherokee Bible Project Titles in Book form:
(A joint mission of the Cherokee Bible Project and Four Rivers Native American Church)
Genesis in Cherokee
Haggai in Cherokee
Jonah in Cherokee
100 Days Of Indigenous Wisdom
Cherokee New Testament
New Cherokee Hymnal
Matthew’s Gospel in Cherokee
Mark’s Gospel in Cherokee
Luke’s Gospel in Cherokee
John’s Gospel in Cherokee
The Acts of the Apostles in Cherokee
ROMANS in Cherokee
JAMES to JUDE in Cherokee
John’s Revelation in Cherokee
Pastoral Epistles in Cherokee (coming)
General Epistles in Cherokee (coming)


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