God declares that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans:3:23). It is dishonest to treat native cultures as though they were immune to that indictment. Consider two young sisters, survivors of Oatman’s wagon massacre in 1851. Their captivity by Apaches and sale into slavery to another tribe is recounted in agonizing detail. The two girls spent some years with their Native American captors performing slave labor. The younger sister died from starvation. Most interesting was the reaction of the girls’ fellow “slaves” (the Indian squaws). Great was the women’s amazement when they learned how civilly the white man lived with his wife. They expressed the vain hope that they might escape and join so kindly a society.
Or who could forget the cruel massacre at the Marcus Whitman Mission in the State of Washington? Entirely unprovoked, it reflected the Indians’ tragic superstition that the god of these gentle missionaries had malevolently caused the deaths of some of their people. Indigenous people are as fallen and as prone to sin as are the rest of mankind. We cannot honestly sanitize any segment of society in our fallen world.
Margaret Mead’s book Coming of Age in Samoa sold millions of copies in numerous languages, was the recognized standard in anthropology for decades, and provided a key “scientific” justification for the sexual revolution which is still perverting today’s world and much of the church. The book, however, was a fraud put forth to justify her own adultery and lesbianism. More recent research in Samoa has shown that Mead’s representation of an idyllic native society unspoiled by sexual restrictions was totally false. The facts about Samoan life are exactly the opposite, yet the lie continues to provide “scientific” excuse for immorality worldwide.
In the Hawaiian Islands a revival of native religion, hailed as the recovery of lost tradition, has brought into the open witchcraft practices that survived in secret under a thin veneer of professed Christianity. One follower of native Hawaiian religion, who had been responding openly in an interview, suddenly clammed up when asked about the current use of “evil spells.” After a long, uncomfortable pause, the one being interviewed exclaimed:
“I cannot! I’m terrified of it. Nobody talks about the religion. Hawaiians are still being prayed to death by other Hawaiians.”