The Red Road was developed in 1999 when Charles Robinson was asked to speak to an elementary school classroom regarding Native Americans. Dressed in his tribal regalia, the teacher introduced him as “a real live Indian.” Charles discovered very serious misperceptions regarding Native Americans and has developed programs to reach students with historical facts about North America’s first inhabitants.
To Native Americans, The Red Road is a term used frequently which means to live a traditional lifestyle: no addiction to drugs/alcohol, respect for others, respect for yourself, respect for creation and to worship the Creator.
Charles began spending time on various reservations collecting information and items to share in the school presentations when he recognized a level of “hopelessness” among the youth in these Native communities. There exist many theories surrounding the birthing of this hopelessness: the most prominent being the erosion of the traditional Native American family due to the forced assimilation into Euro-American cultures. These changes were implemented over the past 130-500 years, depending on when the French, Spanish, British, US and Canadian governments were forcing their ways and beliefs across North America. The reservation system and boarding/residential school systems, though, were the proverbial nails in the coffin for Native traditional families. No longer were families able to hunt, dance, live their lives and raise their children in the same manner we had done for thousands of years. It was this process which introduced our Native people to alcohol, drugs, sexual abuse, etc. at the hands of the non-Native leaders of the schools.
This hopelessness has manifested itself in abuses (drugs, alcohol, physical, mental, sexual, emotional), dropping out of school, obesity and a general disregard for traditional values. Often times this hopelessness ends with alcohol-related deaths, homicides and suicides.
In an effort to bring hope back to the young people on the reservations, The Red Road works with other tribes, organizations and ministries to provide educational material and opportunities for them. Returning to traditional Native values (through ceremonies, languages, artwork, music, dancing, powwows, etc.) is viewed as the key to giving our Native youth hope for their future! To Native Americans, The Red Road is a term used frequently which means to live a traditional lifestyle: no addiction to drugs/alcohol, respect for others, respect for yourself, respect for creation and to worship the Creator.
Every Native American tribe has a name for Creator in their own language. It is interesting how many of these names are very similar and how they speak to the nature and character of the Creator. It is also worth noting that most of the translations of names greatly parallel the names and character of God in the Judeo/Christian Bible. With this in mind, The Red Road is also devoted to the teaching of God’s love for Native Americans by showing how He was at work in North American long before the arrival of the Europeans. Armed with this knowledge, we want to see our First Nations people (regardless of their “degree of Indian blood”) rise up on reservations, in First Nations communities, throughout North America and around the world to share the love of Jesus with everyone within their sphere of influence! Jesus said that if we want to follow him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). To this end, The Red Road also represents the blood-stained road that led Jesus to the cross.