Encouragement, Challenges, Healing, and Progress: The Bahá’í Faith in Indigenous Communities

Using Alfred Kahn's article as a starting point, presenters call for all people to participate in a conversation about the challenges of Indigenous Communities and to participate in community-building activities among Indigenous people.

  • Alfred Kahn Jr.

    Alfred Kahn Jr.: Son of Tina and Alfred Lee Kahn, Alfred is Osage People of the Middle Water on his mother’s side and born for Navajo Bit’ahnii clan on his father’s. He delivered a speech at the White House as a “Coming Up Taller” award recipient in 1997, and in 2000 ran for race unity by taking part in the Spirit Run from Seattle to New York. Alfred currently lives in Albuquerque, practicing architecture and teaching at the University of New Mexico. He also animates junior youth groups in South Valley and at the Isleta Pueblo reservation.
    Nephew of Franklin Kahn, the first Native American to be elected to the National Spiritual Assembly, Alfred shares his perspective on growing up among Bahá’í pioneers on Indigenous land. He also shares his candid assessment of the prophetic promises in the Bahá’í Writings about Native Americans’ potential to contribute greatly to the peoples of the world once they have reconciled their own traditional views and teachings with the global promises of Bahá’u’lláh.

  • John Fitzgerald Medina

    John Fitzgerald Medina is of Native American (Yaqui/Opata/Apache) and Latino ancestry. Medina has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and he worked for some years as an engineer with Hewlett Packard. He later acquired a M.A. in Education from San Diego State University and will soon start his 25th year as a public school teacher. Medina authored two books (Bahá’í Publishing) -- Faith, Physics, and Psychology, as well as America’s Sacred Calling . Medina has served as a Bahá’í children’s class teacher, animator for junior youth groups, study circle tutor, devotional host, and fireside facilitator.

  • Jeff Kiely

    Jeff Kiely (BA Interdisciplinary Studies-Prescott College; M.Ed.-Arizona State University) became a Bahá’í in 1971 and has since served the Faith in a variety of roles both in the US and as an international pioneer. He has lived and served on and near the Navajo Nation for 45 years, where in 1977 he married Navajo teacher Helen Yazzie and subsequently raised a family. The couple helped establish the first Local Spiritual Assembly in the Ramah Navajo Community and were among the founders and first administrators of the Native American Bahá'í Institute established in the late 1970s. An ANISA-trained educator and master group process facilitator, Jeff has worked for many years implementing and leading programs across a wide range of disciplines, including education, community development, regional economic development, strategic planning, and substance abuse prevention. He now operates his own consulting firm, Kiely Consulting.

  • Athena Cholas Pratt

    No biography available.


45th Annual Conference

In the Footsteps of ʻAbdu’l-Bahá: Contributing to the Discourses of Our Time


The views expressed in this recording are those of the presenters and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association for Bahá’í Studies, nor the authoritative explications of Bahá’í writings.