The Everlasting People
What does the cross of Christ have to do with the thunderbird? How might the life and work of Christian writer G. K. Chesterton shed light on our understanding of North American Indigenous art and history?
This unexpected connection forms the basis of these discerning reflections by the art historian Matthew Milliner. In this fifth volume in the Hansen Lectureship Series, Milliner appeals to Chesterton's life and work—including The Everlasting Man, his neglected poetry, his love for his native England, and his own visits to America—in order to understand and appreciate both Indigenous art and the complex, often tragic history of First Nations peoples, especially in the American Midwest.
The Hansen Lectureship series offers accessible and insightful reflections by Wheaton College faculty on the transformative work of the Wade Center authors.
"Matthew Milliner's careful exploration of Native American history and current circumstances draws unexpected inspiration from the works of G. K. Chesterton. Chesterton, who made only two short visits to the United States, turns out to have addressed themes that for Milliner illuminate Indigenous experience with unusual force. Art, history, contemporary reflection, and theology combine to make this a work of rare and sparkling insight."
"Taking Chesterton's baton to recognize the 'Red Indian,' Milliner continues the relay. His work of 'unexpected connections' looks at Native rock art, Christianity, and massacre sites left in the wake of westward expansion. Native rock art tells the story of a people who sought the same as the Christians—release from darkness, hunger, sickness, death, and threats from a hostile world. Milliner is a go-between between the worlds, following the greater relay, the cross of Jesus. Milliner's work recognizes the supplication, contradiction, and contagion of Native rock art. The Everlasting People is a reminder of the stain on America's history. For the Native Christian, however, behind the shroud of heavy sails was the light of Christ."
Foreword by Casey Church
Preface by G. Walter Hansen
Introduction: From the Holy Mountain to Spirit Island
1. The Sign of Jonah
Response: David Iglesias
2. The Cost of Chicago
Response: David Hooker
3. Mother of the Midwest
Response: Amy Peeler
Conclusion: Returning a Pipe