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.


George E. Tinker is 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 received his B.A. from New Mexico Highlands University, and a M.Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.[1]


George Tinker is the Clifford Baldridge Professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado,[1] where he has taught since 1985. He earned his doctorate in Biblical studies at the Graduate Theological Union[1] in 1983.

He is 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.

The Rev. Dr. George Tinker was this year’s Bible Study Presenter at the 2014 National Workshop on Christian Unity, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His Bible study sessions were sponsored by the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus.[2]

Dr. Tinker's recent work examines the historical and institutional controversy and surrounding an atrocity where a book of Christian history that was bound in the skin of an Indigenous Man and gifted to Iliff School of Theology. Although the human skin was removed and given to American Indian Movement representatives in the 1970s, a non-disclosure agreement silenced the institutional role played by the school where the book was displayed for eighty years. With the support of the current president of the Iliff School, Thomas Wolfe, Dr. Tinker has worked to build awareness about the book and the lingering ways that institutions benefit from their participation in colonialism. More on this subject can be found in his article, "Red Skin, Tanned Hide."

Dr. Tinker acknowledges that his thinking has changed over his long career and he now distances himself from his earlier work contributing to the book, A Native American Theology.


  • "The intellectual and religious realms have been crucial to colonial political and economic domination of indigenous peoples."[3]
  • "...genuine justice necessarily will result in peace." [4]


  • Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide (1993)
  • Spirit and Resistance: Political Theology and American Indian Liberation (2004)
  • American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty (2008)
  • co-author of "A Native American Theology" (2001)
  • co-editor of Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance (2003).

"Red Skin, Tanned Hide: A Book of Christian History Bound in the Flayed Skin of a Native American" (2014)[5]


  • 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]
  • Treat, James. "Spirituality, Native American Personhood, Sovereignty, and Solidarity." Native and Christian: Indigenous Voices on Religious Identity in the United States and Canada. New York and London: Routledge, 1996.
  • A Visionary Theology: 2004 GTU Alum of the Year: George E. 'Tink' Tinker