Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Alternate Activity 1: Engagement

Preparation for Activity

  • Find an indigenous faith community with which to engage. Research local Native American tribes to see if outsiders are allowed to attend religious ceremonies. The NativeGatherings website maintains a comprehensive list of events, but do not assume all events are open to the general public; contact event organizers for more information. The American Indian Council of Mariposa County, California has a website with useful background information on pow-wows, or Native American gatherings. It includes the protocol guidelines for participants.
  • Seek a representative from a Native American religious group to host your group at a gathering. Invite the representative to speak with your group before the engagement.

Description of Activity

Participants engage with a community that embraces its indigenous religion.

Prior to the engagement, give youth information about the community and the religion you will engage with. If at all possible, have a host member of the community you will visit come to your congregation in person to prepare the youth; before that person comes, help the youth brainstorm questions to ask them-if needed, prompt the youth to ask how to be a respectful guest, including what to wear, how to behave, and anything else that will be expected of them.

After the engagement, process the experience. Ask participants:

  • What did you see? Was there an altar? Ceremonial decoration? Was special clothing worn?
  • Were languages spoken besides English? Was there music? What instruments were used?
  • Did the genders participate differently? How?
  • Were there different ways for different ages to participate? What did you observe?
  • Was there a sermon? Were there readings? Would the topics have been appropriate for a UU congregation?
  • Did anything surprise you? What did you not understand? Was there anything that spoke to you and your Unitarian Universalist beliefs?