Dr. Negiel Bigpond, a Native American scholar, founder of Morning Star Church of All Nations, and President and co-founder of Two-Rivers Native American Training Center (along with Dr. Jay Swallow), teaches Native Americans and others about strategic intercession and how to evangelize and minister to Native Americans.
He addresses the issues that have kept Native Americans from receiving eternal life. He notes the sad fact at less than 5% of the 3.5 million Native American population actually consider themselves “born-again.” He also notes that of the 580 Native nations in North America, there are at least 200 Native nations still unreached with the gospel message.
Dr. Bigpond’s lifetime of learning and personal discovery has taught him what we will discuss here, which he teaches in his Two-Rivers Training Center and Strategic Warriors at Training (SWAT) Bootcamp, as well as in speaking and teaching engagements throughout North America.
“There are four areas, which I call ‘battlefields’ that hinder all Americans, including Native Americans, from coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but that we have great authority in which to conquer,” says Dr. Bigpond.
As he explains, the first “battlefield” is that of unity. Dr. Bigpond says that unity is a huge issue that hinders first nations people. Though enduring intense sufferings through massacres, the Trail of Tears, other defilements, diseases inflicted upon them that they were not immune to, tribal factions and other plans of satan to disband and destroy the native peoples, it was not possible to fully destroy them as a people group because of God’s great love and purpose for them; much like satan could not destroy Job. Many Native people were lost, many suffered severely and many were traumatized, but Native people as a whole never gave up and never fully despaired.
They kept going due to their native songs, warrior strength and native languages which are all very powerful and continue to survive, keeping them together, explained this Native scholar. Dr. Bigpond says that disunity needs to be completely eradicated and that unity needs to be “retaken.” As Eph. 4:13 tells us just how important oneness is in equipping and perfecting the saints: “[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him” (AMP). It is that oneness as a people as well as oneness with Christ Jesus that is imperative, says Dr. Bigpond.
As Dr. Bigpond, a fourth-generation minister, further states: “We as Native peoples have authority because we have ‘been through it’.” He said that most living Native Americans did not personally have their land taken away – however, the trauma is in their DNA because of what their forefathers suffered. He said that some Natives use this to feed their own anger or fear instead of feeding their spirit with joy and the feeling of being victorious. He continued to say that many in the United States that are not indigenous people have also fed their fear and anger for a variety of reasons which in turn has fed dependency, depleting their victory and authority.
He continued to explain that the second “battlefield” or area hindering Native Americans from coming to a saving grace is that of boundaries. He stated that because we tend to look too much at natural or man-made boundaries, like the U.S./Canada/Mexico borders, state borders or tribal borders, we do not look at the territorial spirits that create borders, restrictions, divisions, and hindrances within family relationships, people groups and areas of land that can bring harmful influences. Harmful influences can include such things as drugs, human trafficking, diseases, harmful political and religious influences, along with good influences. He said that Native Americans tend to recognize man-made boundaries less than others but that spiritual boundaries need to be looked at more clearly, and that more strategic intercession and acknowledgment needs to be done in this area.
Dr. Bigpond noted that there has been chaos in the United States due to nationalities coming inside that influence the government and other entities. Acts 17:26 (AMP) states that God is one source: “And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes).” He emphasized that we need to establish/reestablish God’s boundaries of protection and unity, and His kingdom of salvation, faith, His Word, health, etc… all that our Lord’s kingdom holds, through intercession and declarations.
Dr. Bigpond reminds us that we have the authority to battle in the heavenlies to control and reestablish boundaries as stated in the Word. As an example, we can declare that the spirits that control drug use cannot enter our natural borders or our family group. He said that man “makes his own boundaries and tends to take God out of it”. He said that man does not take authority for God in God’s kingdom enough – “and that needs to change”. When we take authority and pray, for instance the Lord’s Prayer, that His kingdom comes into an area, a tribe, a family – then things start to change and we take dominion for the Lord.
Dr. Bigpond went on to say that the third “battlefield” keeping Native Americans (or anyone for that matter) from salvation is that of hope. He said that hope brought Native Americans through the Trail of Tears, the forced boarding schools, the wars, the slaughtering of their sources of food such as buffalo, diseases that they were not immune to and other things that decimated the tribes. Somehow those that survived had hope that they had the ability to come through.
Dr. Bigpond used the analogy from the Bible of the eagle, which can see very precisely both close and afar; that Native Americans and all Christians must have the ability to see both what is near and afar. He said that if we see only what is happening at present but not what can be by faith in the future, we are blinded and lose hope.
He also related that Native Americans have always been of a priestly culture with both men and women raised to be priests of the home and tribal groups. He said that Native Americans have a priestly circle council of unity, but that the Europeans separated that out of the Native culture with men as the head, without the women. He said that the only way to go into the chamber of God is in priestly order; that Natives are used to this and that there is much hope in true priestly order with women carrying equal responsibility in this as men.
He said that it is easy for America’s indigenous peoples to understand kingdom principles once they are saved due to their understanding of the priestly order because they know they are royal priesthood warriors. He said: “Hope is a royal weapon. We have royal confidence in Jesus Christ. The enemy doesn’t want us to spread hope as a weapon.” Romans 15:13 (AMP) says: “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.” Dr. Bigp0nd says “we must continue to battle for hope”.
And the fourth “battlefield” or stronghold to salvation is that of forgiveness. Dr. Bigpond said that of course there is reason that many Natives think they have a right to unforgiveness for the many atrocities done to them but that the Bible teaches that unforgiveness brings an inroad to bondage and curses. Dr. Bigpond reminds us that forgiveness assures us of godly authority, and that, as written in the Bible, we are not allowed to have unforgiveness.
Dr. Bigpond explained that a warrior’s heart is never broken. He said that the Lord has a warrior’s heart, that David had a warrior’s heart; and that both had unbreakable hearts. He reminds us that Eph 4:32 (AMP) says: “And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.” Dr. Bigpond says that this is true for us all – that unforgiveness can be a barrier to anyone’s salvation and blessings. He adds: “We must always battle for forgiveness to open eyes and hearts to salvation”.
Dr. Bigpond feels that when these “battlefields” are fought and won through prayer, strategic intercession and informed teaching, that more Native Americans will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
He states that more strides have been made as more Native American leaders have been recognized as well. As Billy Graham said in Arizona in 1968: “Native Americans are a sleeping giant until that sleeping giant is recognized”. For this reason as well, Native Americans have only recently come to be awakened to their rightful place and into salvation as should have been centuries ago when the first Europeans set foot on the Americas, intending to spread the gospel. Native American Christian leaders have only recently been honored and recognized as true leaders, he states.
As one, we can overturn this trend of lack of salvation in the Native American community by battling in prayer and taking authority over the battlefields of unity, hope, forgiveness and boundaries, as well as by recognizing God’s Native American leaders. Let us see revival start now in our magnificent Native peoples!