The American Indian Church

Among the goals and legacies of conquest has been that of converting Native Americans to Christianity. Christian churches have been evangelizing on the San Carlos Apache Reservation since soon after Geronimo was captured for the last time and active resistance to the concentration policies on the reservation ceased in 1886. The first Lutheran missionaries arrived in 1893. There are Catholic and Baptitst churches as well. Fundamentalist missions are common. In conjunction with early U.S. government assimilationist educational policies at Off-Reservation Boarding Schools – intended to “kill the Indian and save the man” – and the Tribal Termination and Urban Relocation Program of the 1950s, Christian proselytizing has, in the opinion of many, helped to sever large numbers of Native Americans, including Apaches, from their cultural, spiritual, and linguistic origins.

The American Indian Church is a Pentecostal church on the San Carlos Reservation, its pastor, David Miles, a San Carlos Apache.