Richard Twiss (1954-2013) was an activist, author, pastor, and founder and president of Wiconi International, a nonprofit that works for the betterment of Native people and communities in the spirit of Jesus. 

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A Sacred Beat

by Richard Twiss 05-07-2015
How Native Christians are reclaiming tradition to create an "Indigenous hymnody" 

AT THE WORLD Christian Gathering of Indigenous People in 1996, our North American Native delegation was unable to find any “Christian” Native powwow music that we could use to dance to as part of our entrance into the auditorium. This was important at the time, as we didn’t feel the liberty to use “non-Christian” powwow music for a distinctly Christian event. A contemporary Christian song by a Caucasian worship leader using some Native words and a good beat was selected.

Except in a handful of cases (believers among the Kiowa, Seminole, Comanche, Dakota, Creek, and Crow tribes, to name some)—and those always in a local tribal context—Native believers were not allowed or encouraged to write new praise or worship music in their own languages utilizing their own tribal instruments, style, and arrangements.