Archive for April, 2021

The Mission Mountains

April 15th, 2021

Montana’s Mission Mountains are a range of the Rocky Mountains system. The same geologic event raised the Rockies and its ranges. The Mission Mountains are located west of Swan Lake and east of the Flathead Native American Reservation in Northwestern Montana. Named in honor of a 19th Century Jesuit Mission that was established in St. Ignatius, Montana, the highest peak among the Mission Mountains is McDonald Peak (9,820 feet).

Isn’t it interesting that the mountain range only got named about 150 years ago after the Jesuits established themselves in the area? The Flathead Indians lived in the area for at least 14,000 years. Do you suppose that they referred to the range as “the mountains that have not been named yet” until the mid 19th century? Speaking of the Flatheads, they call themselves the “Salish people.” The name “Flathead,” was foisted upon them by French fur trappers in the area, who assumed (incorrectly) that the tribe had purposely shaped their children’s heads in order to have that “cool sloped look.” When the Lewis and Clark Expedition (sent by President Jefferson in 1804) traipsed through the area, they picked up on the name Flathead, which has stuck to the tribe to this day.

I love history, and I understand that the temptation is huge to slant the telling of history toward one’s interests. But, it is wrong to dismiss native history and treat succeeding generations of natives as anything but equals in American society. The State of Alaska has come closest at fairly representing their native people. In 1975, the Alaska State Legislature began a long battle with the U.S. Federal Government to expunge (completely remove) the name “Mount McKinley” from an Alaskan mountain (which is also the highest mountain in all of North America). In 2015, that name was removed and replaced with a native name: “Denali.” I like that, a victory for history and justice for Alaskan Native Americans.

The Christian Bible links the old history of mankind’s relationship with God to a tipping point (an important change) on how each of us should relate to God today. Web search Galatians 3: 23-25. This book within the Christian Bible was a letter written by the Apostle Paul in 49 AD (49 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ). As a founder of Christian Churches, Paul tried to reach both Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish) people in order to teach them what God had done for everyone by sending his son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice for the sins of humankind.

Paul recognized the purpose of both Jewish Law (obedience to God) and the teachings by the prophets that God would send a savior (the Christ). The Christ (Jesus) was sent, and he was sacrificed. Prophecy fulfilled means change. There are no more prophets and now, each person can have a personal relationship with God, through the resurrected Jesus. Christians include the law and the prophecies in the “Old Testament” of the Christian Bible. It is exciting to find the promises of God found there and to link them to the promises that God fulfilled through the ministry of Jesus that is located in the “New Testament” of the Christian Bible.