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A Native Faith: Richard Twiss Shapes Portland's Youth and Beyond

A Native Faith: Richard Twiss Shapes Portland's Youth and Beyond

In a city still skeptical of white Christianity, Twiss's cross-cultural witness is gaining a hearing among citizens and leaders alike.

Interns will volunteer in after-school programs for tutoring and sports, attend powwows, and spend time with native elders, church, government and business leaders.

Twiss said the internship will draw applicants from across the country but the focus of the program is serving the youth, particularly Native American youth, in Portland.

"We are talking about advancing education, culture, family and spirituality; ultimately, we are helping youth navigate the challenges of life successfully."

Somber statistics for Native American youth is one of the driving motivations for The Salmon Nation, Twiss said.

"The [high school] graduation rate for Native Americans is one of the lowest in the nation, and we have among the highest numbers of kids in the foster-care system in Portland. We have huge economic disparities in Portland," he said.

One of the projects that interns will undertake is developing an economic plan for the house.

"They have to have the skills to succeed in that world rather than feel victimized by it, so they will work with business leaders in the community in actually developing a business plan," explained Twiss, noting that the details will largely depend upon the students.

Interns will also minister to the elderly, such as providing transportation for medical services.

"We want to serve the entire community, from youth to the elders, because that is how the community works," Twiss said. "We want to ask the question, 'How can a Christ-follower engage in loving conversation with those who differ religiously, culturally and ideologically?"

Richard has been able to energize that conversation, from Portland Oregon to Portland Maine, no matter the venue.

"Richard can speak with integrity as a follower of Christ, [even] in a bar," said Woodley of his friend. "That's the magic."

Freelance journalist Cornelia Becker Seigneur is the author of Images of America: West Linn and the faculty adviser for Muse student magazine at Multnomah University. Reach her at CorneliaSeigneur.com.


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April 12, 2012  8:04pm

It amazes me that you could still turn towards Christianity instead of run away from it after what Missionaries and Christianity have Historically done to your people. I'm not so sure I could be quite so forgiving. There are many people whom call themselves Christians on this internet that say you cannot intergrate your culture and religion into Christianity. That you are a false prophet because it has to be 100% "their" way or it is blasphmy. Haha! Guess there will always be people like that. I am not a Christian, I am a spiritualist but I read your book and was very moved by your efforts to bring both Christianity and your culture together. Good Luck and God Bless you Richard Twiss.

the cote' family

April 08, 2012  2:48pm

came across this article in a random search, brought tears to the eyes & smiles to our faces as always, wiconi remains in our prayers, may all of you continue to receive great blessings of Creator's Wisdom & Strength in building the healing bridge between our communities that is so desperately needed we love you all!

Robert Owen

March 06, 2012  7:05pm

Richard is reaching the Native People with the Word -- that all can understand. Native People are spiritual beings. It is how you reach out to each one that makes the difference. Blessings to Richard Twiss and his house in all they do.

Mark Maggiora

February 29, 2012  9:51pm

Those who may be interested in hearing more about efforts to better integrate the Native American culture into the American culture's traditional Christian mindset will appreciate this link related to efforts being instituted both through the: NW District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: http://www.nowlcms.org/ExpandingMinistries/DVD-FirstNations.aspx and through Lutheran Indian Ministries: http://www.lutheranmissionariesandpilots.org/video/ Enjoy

Mark Maggiora

February 29, 2012  9:42pm

Great to have you back working the Portland metro area in partnership building God’s Kingdom, Richard! Your giftings and learnings from years of engagement across cultural boundaries around the world will serve us well in rebuilding people’s lives and reclaiming the land for Christ as we create communities that honor the Spirit father’s grand design! Mark Maggiora, Executive Director (Northern Cheyenne) Americans Building Community In the Name of Christ (ABCINC) PO Box 5888 Vancouver, WA 98668 360-992-9969 office 360-852-8187 fax 360-713-8687 cell mark@abcinc.us http://www.abcinc.us “Transforming Neighborhoods, One Heart at a Time” A Community Development Corporation devoted to Neighborhood Revitalization in Vancouver’s 4th Plain Corridor. “The Word became Flesh and Blood, and Moved into the Neighborhood.” John 1:14 (Msg)


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