Part II, of our story of the Faith of
Native Americans begin with the legend
of Wovoka. Wovoka means Holy One.
The Native Americans also had a Messiah enter into their lands and he was born among the native peoples. The native people referred to him as Wovoka, which means Holy One. Perhaps you have heard the song by the once popular Native American band named "Redbone", who wrote and sang the song, "Wovoka." It is a beautiful song of remembrance.
Wovoka first began his ministry at the age of thirty, which is when our Lord Christ Jesus first began his ministry; although, Wovoka came along almost 1900 years later. His message was similar to that of our Lord Christ Jesus in that he told his followers to not hurt anyone and be kind and considerate to everyone. Wovoka was not a Holy man for only one tribe. No, instead, he was a Holy man for all the tribes in North America. He started a dance called the Ghost Dance and many different Indian nations all took up this dance and it soon became widespread. It became so popular among all the tribes that the authorities in Washington, D. C. thought it might lead to an uprising, and the Ghost Dance was outlawed. The Ghost Dance was meant to unite the tribes. It was a Holy dance and its purpose was to bring peace and harmony among all the Indian tribes. Unfortunately, the Wasichu, which is what some Native Americans called the White man, stopped the native peoples from practicing their native beliefs, fearing it may one day lead to an Indian uprising. In time, the Ghost Dance was not able to survive and it soon became history. However, the legend of Wovoka lived on. Some of the similarities between the teachings of our Lord Christ Jesus and Wovoka are very similar. For instance, Wovoka claimed to be the Son of the Great Spirit. Also, Wovoka spoke of a new Earth that would soon arrive where all the Native Americans would live forever free of the Wasichu and the Buffalo would return and there would be plenty of meat. Wovoka once had a vision in which there were twelve men and they were disciples of Wovoka. However, in his vision, there were also twelve women disciples as well. Black Elk was a native American of the Lakota nation who was in doubt concerning the prophet Wovoka and it took Black Elk some time before he would finally accept the validity of Wovoka. In fact, Black Elk sent three prominent Indian leaders to go to where Wovoka was camped along the California coast and find out the truth concerning him.
Another example of Native American spirituality is the Jumano Indians. They were one tribe that was native to several areas in Texas, New Mexico, and perhaps Arizona. The name Jumano is pronounced hu-mon-o. Now, look at the word Jumano carefully. The 'J' in Jumano is pronounced like an 'H,' or human with an attached 'o'? I point this out since it strikes me that the Jumano perhaps considered themselves human beings as we do. The Jumano considered themselves civilized people and welcomed many people outside their tribe as if they were long-lost friends. One day, as the Jumano people were doing their daily chores, a lady wearing a blue hammock arrived at their camp where many of the elderly were waiting for everyone else to return from hunting, fishing, and gathering berries, nuts, and other fruit available in the area. The Lady in Blue was a Franciscan nun from Spain. She had the ability to project her soul to distant lands and speak to the people there. This was the way she spread the gospel to the New World, as the Europeans referred to North America. (The Lady in Blue, Texas Standard, 2019).note 1.
The Lady in Blue was one of the first to teach Native Americans about our Lord Christ Jesus and the Good News of his arrival. She taught the Jumano of our Lord Christ Jesus and our Lord God even before the first Spaniards arrived in the New World. The first Spanish expeditions came into Texas by following the Rio Grande, River north into present-day New Mexico and West Texas. The Jumano Indians were told by The Lady in Blue to send a delegation from their tribe and travel west until they found some Holy men. Then they were instructed to ask the Holy men to come to their homeland and construct a Mission so that they could worship Jesus and be baptized. When the Jumano Indians arrived at their destination in Southern New Mexico, the Jumano spoke of a beautiful woman dressed in blue and described the hammock she wore and how she had taught them all about our Lord Christ Jesus and how she saved many of them. Here is a quote from the Texas Standard concerning the arrival and request from a delegation of 50 Jumano Indians.
"The priests were stunned because they had no missions or missionaries in that part of what is today West Texas. They certainly knew of no nuns who had attempted missionary work there. How could this be? The head cleric in New Mexico, Esteban de Perea, asked two priests to go home with the Jumanos to verify these claims about the Lady in Blue. They traveled to the region that is today San Angelo and found that many of the Jumano said she had indeed come to them many times over the years. The priests immediately baptized 2,000 Jumanos, they say, because of Maria de Ágredas."
The Jumano Indians asked the Franciscan Priests if they would build a mission in their land. At that time, the Franciscan Priest and his companions were so stunned that the Jumano Indians already knew of our Lord God and our Lord Christ Jesus that they decided to consult with a higher authority before making such a decision. Eventually, the Franciscan Priests did submit to the Jumano request for a Mission in their land, and eventually, one was built near present-day San Angelo, Texas. It was the visits of the Lady in Blue that made the Mission in San Angelo possible. There is so much to this story I cannot relate it all here. Should you like to know more, please refer to both note 1 and note 2, at the end of this paper.
At the time, the land of the Jumano Indians in San Angelo, Texas was abundant with life. There are three rivers coursing through the land and joining as one, and three spring-feed creeks as well. It was a beautiful land flush with wildlife of all kinds. The Concho River had giant eels, huge catfish, bass, and perch to name a few. There were birds of many varieties enjoying the three rivers and three spring-feed creeks. At one time, present-day San Angelo was a bird paradise as hundreds of thousands of birds flocked to the plentiful waters and estuaries of the land of the Jumano Indians. Of course, some Jumano Indians living in present-day New Mexico also lived in beautiful land as well, although, not with as much estuary and richness in wildlife. However, they were happy with their lives as well. Once the Mission was complete, settlers began to come into the area, and in time the Jumano were forced to leave their very loved native lands. It was at this point that the Jumano became known as a warring people and the settlers decided that they must all be eliminated to secure peace for themselves and their progeny. So, ends yet another sad chapter for the native peoples of North America. To this day the legend of the Lady in Blue is still honored in this Central West Texas community. In fact, a statue of the Lady in Blue can now be viewed along the Concho River in San Angelo. Here are two photographs, one of a statue of the Lady in Blue and another statue of a Jumano warrior. He has a wild Turkey hanging low on his back.
Anyway, that ends the story of The Faith of Native Americans. I do hope you enjoyed the read and please visit the websites which provide additional information at the end of this story, right below the pictures of the Lady in Blue and a Jumano Warrior.
Adios for now my friends!
Typed by Wayne Hill.
Inspired by The Holy Spirit.
Note 1: https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/the-legend-of-the-lady-in-blue/
Note 2: https://sanangelodiocese.org/lady-in-bluebegin