Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 3, 2008
Newman course focuses on native culture, spirituality
Aboriginal scholar hopes to create an appreciation of native spirituality
By RAMON GONZALEZ
“Reconciliation allows us to hear one another.”
Winkler says the Church must remain committed to reconciliation because for too long Aboriginal people have been silent and now that they have a voice they must be heard. “Reconciliation allows us to hear one another.” The courses at St. Joe’s, he said, will examine the long history of First Nations’ reconciliation—including techniques—that predates contact with the Europeans.
The course Winkler has been teaching at Newman College since early January—Theology and Culture—focuses specifically on the relationship between Christian theology and aboriginal culture. It introduces students to First Nations peoples and their spiritualities and illustrates how their spiritualities are integrated with the cultural, political and socio-economic realities of First Nations’ communities.
In the course, Winkler also examines the complicated relationship between First Nations’ people and the Christian churches and touches on themes such as liturgical and theological inculturation, sacramentality, prayer and reconciliation between groups of people. Seventeen people are enrolled in the course—many of them seminarians and lay leaders that work in areas where native people live. The course runs until the end of April but might be offered again in the future, said Newman’s acting dean Bob McKeon.
Winkler, a member of M’Chigeen First Nation, an Ojibway community on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario, has been a Basilian priest for 19 years. He has taught in Basilian high schools in Rochester, N.Y., Albuquerque, N.M. and Houston, Texas. After his ordination in 1997 he served as campus minister at New Mexico State University. While working on doctoral studies in theology at St. Paul University in Ottawa he was chaplain of Kateri Native Ministry and the Catholic Deaf Community.
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