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Abstract

Oral Roberts was proud of his blended white, Cherokee, and Choctaw heritage and spoke openly about it. To understand Roberts’ view of his own hybridized identity better, it is necessary to consider how his parents and grandparents negotiated the issues related to their mixed ancestry. His own view changed over time from conscious pride to overt activism on behalf of his fellow Native Americans. From the early years of the ministry, the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association engaged in a variety of creative outreaches to Native Americans where Roberts identified deeply with his brothers and sisters. Several Native American communities across the country responded positively to his work by publicly honoring Roberts in a variety of ways. During these outreaches, Roberts began his own creative exegesis that shaped his later addressing of racism during the Civil Rights era. Roberts used the words “spirit of immense struggle” to identify with the suffering his Cherokee Indian ancestors endured on the Trail of Tears.

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