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Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice

SKU 9780827225282

by David Phillips Hansen


The Native American drive for self-governance is the most important civil rights struggle of our time — a struggle too often covered up. In Native Americans, The Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice, David Phillips Hansen discusses the church’s role in helping America heal its bleeding wounds of systemic oppression.

While many believe the United States is a melting pot for all cultures, Hansen asserts the longest war in human history is the one Anglo-Christians have waged on Native Americans. Using faith as a weapon against the darkness of injustice, this book will change the way you view how we must solve the pressing problems of racism, poverty, environmental degradation, and violence, and it will remind you that faith can be the leaven of justice.



“Hansen has created a well-researched, clearly written, succinct and nuanced handbook that churches and other institutions can use for reparative work that Hansen describes as urgent....Hansen ably shows how the church worked hand in glove in the colonization process, supporting and benefiting from land grabs and the destruction of millions of Native lives. He shows in painful detail how the church was part of an ideological war—Christianizing people who had their own religious beliefs and practices, especially through boarding schools.....Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice is a book that offers churches a road to conciliation, provided they have ears to hear and are willing to pay the cost of discipleship. Hansen has shown how every mainline church owes a debt to indigenous people in the US.
Evangelical churches, too, owe a debt; however, the emphasis in evangelicalism on individual salvation can make it more difficult for those bodies to recognize the existence of institutional responsibility. Hansen and others have pointed out that in general, evangelicals are opposed to individual racism but have a difficult time, because of that orientation, recognizing institutional racism and the need to take responsibility for reconstruction and reparation. This book can be a guidebook for changing that.” ― ‘Recognition, Responsibility, Reconstruction, Reparation: A Review of Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice‘ by Anna Redsand, Evangelicals for Social Action (

"David Hansen’s life and work provide a model for how the institutions of settler-colonialism can be challenged in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples’ liberation movements. His book is a beautifully told story and a guide for the ecumenical community.―Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

"Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice is a stunning achievement! An insider to a mainline church, David Phillip Hansen powerfully blends theological insight, rigorous history and personal experience to illuminate hard truths about the church's often repressive interactions with Native Americans in "Christianity's collusion with conquest." But his account is far more than critique. It is also a conceptually grounded pragmatic call to the church to engage with present-day Native Americans around acts of reconstruction (fundamentally remaking relationships) and reparation (repairing persisting cultural, economic and land-related damage). Moving all toward social healing through justice. Truly an essential read for all concerned about indigenous peoples and social justice.” ― Eric K. Yamamoto, University of Hawaii School of Law

Churches who seek to become open to others are on the right track, yet in order to make progress they need the guidance provided in this book. Little will change without digging deep into our histories of conflict, exploring genuine forms of non-patronizing relationships, and fundamentally transforming both church and world in the encounter with others. As the mainline begins to reshape its still troubled relationships with Native Americans, many other relationships will be reshaped as well.” ― Joerg Rieger, Cal Turner Chancellor Chair in Wesleyan Studies and Distinguished Professor of Theology, Vanderbilt University, and author (with Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger) of Unified We Are a Force

"Hansen captures in his book Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice the first steps that must be taken in a conversation that is far past due for members of mainline Christianity. Hansen’s book illumines the gradual and painstaking actions of the church to recognize the harms inflicted throughout history and more importantly harms being inflicted in this present moment. Without recognizing the sinful motivations of a society built on exploitation, true wellness and harmony cannot exist. Native Americans, the Mainline Church, and the Quest for Interracial Justice is a vital first step in putting together the pieces necessary for our society to achieve racial justice." —Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell, Jr., Executive Secretary of Native American & Indigenous Ministries, Justice & Relationships, United Methodist Church