We have not been able to see North American native peoples as human societies with culture and religion. Since Columbus' suggestion that he had reached Eden or its outer proximity, native peoples have been looked upon as either more or less than human. As such they were either to be destroyed or assimilated (i.e, made human). Once placed on reserves, government and church cooperated to educate, civilize, and Christianize them. This inability to appreciate fully human societies with culture and religion raises at least three theological issues for the church: 1) the church's relationship to the dominant culture; 2) the effect of the traditional method of doing theology upon the image of native peoples; and 3) the violation of 'justification by grace through faith' by the 'educate, civilize, and Christianize' approach.
Riegert, Eduard R.
"Indian awareness: can we see non-peoples as people?,"
Consensus: Vol. 6
, Article 2.
Available at: http://scholars.wlu.ca/consensus/vol6/iss2/2