My name is James Luckie Bigman. I am full Navajo of the Bear Clan. My Mother and Grandparents raised me and my younger sister. The Navajo Reservation, also known as the Rez, is where I grew up until I was fourteen. We had many family members living close by.

My elementary schooling was on the Rez in Cameron close to where I lived in Gray Mountain and I attended Middle School in Flagstaff. I was awake before the sun came up to help with animals, garden and house chores before getting taken to the bus stop. School days were long ones after being dropped off from the bus to walk four to five miles and arrive back home by evening. By that time the sheep needed to be found and brought back to the corral from grazing, which was at least another hour of walking. Fire wood needed chopped and brought in along with filling up and bringing in water buckets for bathing, cleaning and cooking. Life was simple but not easy without electricity and running water, which we needed to haul, for personal needs and livestock use. The Navajo Reservation is a welfare state. Life was more about day to day survival and the area I grew up in was very dry and desolate, so there were only a few trees, water holes and wind mills here and there. The area was actually called the Forgotten People.

My Grandma Alice’s sheep (dibé) & goats (ł’ízí) in the corral.

Thanks to my mother’s dedication to hard work and wanting a different life for my sister and I, she worked very hard for us and instilled in us a strong work ethic and gave us the chance to move off of the Rez and not have to live in welfare conditions.

At age 14 I was sent to a Christian boarding school in Cottonwood, Az. named Montezuma Schools, which is where I met my wife Lanora. After 4 years there I saw my need for the Savior and was saved by accepting Christ into my life.

We graduated from high school together and I quickly found a job and a place to live in Flagstaff. We were then married and now have two wonderful kids, our son Camron and our daughter Madison.

Before we became Indian Bible College (IBC) students, we were involved with a local church for eight years. We had a craving for deep relationships and more community when God led us to start attending IBC. When my wife began taking classes, and I soon followed, we began to grow spiritually in ways that we could not have imagined and found the community we were seeking within the IBC family and eventually our new church family. During our first year at
IBC we began meeting and praying with other students and staff for guidance for planting a church that thrives among Natives and is the closest to the Early Church. We felt God’s clear direction to move forward and became part of the church plant now named SOMA, “the body.” We are very involved with SOMA as part of the leadership and will continue to see and trust God in His leading and growing our church body.

In December, 2018 I was asked to join the IBC staff, with much prayer I accepted the position to become the next Business Administrator. In June, 2019 as I transitioned from my full-time job of ten years to working part-time, I also began working part-time on campus. In the beginning of September I am longer working at my former job and am now able to focus on my work and training! I am currently functioning as Facilities Manager which has been a helpful step in moving towards taking on more responsibilities. I am very excited to be working with an amazing team at the Bible College and a bonus is working in this ministry alongside my wife.