George Tinker

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George E. "Tink" Tinker is a prominent American Indian theologian and scholar who is the author of many articles, the books Spirit and Resistance: Political Theology and American Indian Liberation, Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide, and co-author of Native American Theology with Clara Sue Kidwell and Homer Noley.


Despite being the son of a Lutheran mother and an Osage father, Tinker identifies more with his father’s culture and spirituality than his mother’s Lutheran background. Tinker’s identification with his American Indian cultural and spiritual heritage parallels his academic career, which can be broadly described as a critique of Western intellectualism and economic, political, religious, and social systems.


Tinker is professor of American Indian cultures and religious traditions at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, where he has taught since 1985. He earned his doctorate in Biblical studies at the Graduate Theological Union in 1983. He is also an ordained Lutheran pastor of Living Waters Episcopal/Lutheran Indian Ministry in Denver. Tinker is a member of the Osage Nation, and is also on the leadership council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado and director of the Four Winds American Survival Project.


Tinker's works can be categorized into many areas. Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide is a critique of how the Christian church and its missionaries, regardless of its best intentions was complicit with the cultural, political, and social genocide of Native Americans.

Spirit and Resistance: Political Theology and American Indian Liberation is concerned with eliciting the difference between Native American and White cultures and providing a critique of White categories of thought.

"A Native American Theology" explains how Native American cultural symbols can be used to re-interpret Christianity.

Throughout all Tinker's work he is concerned with the health of the environment, the recognition of communal, not individualistic, values, the importance of being tied to the land, and the interrelatedness with all of Creation that comes with living in a spatial, communal attitude.


  • Tinker, George E. "Spirituality Justice Reprint: Dreaming a New Dream Cowboys, Indians, Global Violence and the Gospel." Plenary address at CTA National Conference, Milwaukee, Wis., Nov. 5, 2000.[1]