Vol 36 No. 1 (2017)


McDaniel College
University of Tromsø
In this essay, in addition to introducing and contextualizing the articles by Margaret Lyngdoh, Minna Opas, and Lillia McEnaney and Seth Schermerhorn, we try to think more broadly about what mediating indigenous religions might mean. This, in turn, leads us to reflect on the study of religions as a practice and space of mediation.
Hamilton College
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Hamilton College
This article analyzes two Tohono O’odham photographic collections documenting transnational O’odham pilgrimages to Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico. These photographic collections are further contextualized through oral history interviews and ethnographic participant-observation. Altogether, these 559 photos illustrate two of the many ways in which the pilgrimage is envisioned within contemporary O’odham communities. Despite the differing ways in which the two photographers document O’odham pilgrimages, the findings demonstrate the ways in which both photographers exercise “visual sovereignty.” This article also contributes to ongoing discussions in the academic study of religion about the so-called “insider/outsider” problem.
University of Tartu
This article is based on primary fieldwork carried out between 2012 and 2017 in Chyrmang, Jaintia Hills. Among the Pnar of Jaintia Hills, Northeastern India, the practice of hiar blai or divine possession is significantly embedded in the everyday lives of the community members. I argue that possession rites mediate and regulate social norm and clan justice, through the intercession of the gods and goddesses in the village. The reflexive nature of fieldwork process sought to demonstrate the non-absolute positionality of the researcher, and informants and attempted to find ways how to articulate informant’s voices while at the same time protecting their identities.
University of Turku
Indigenous Theology was born in Central and South America in the 1950s and 1960s in response to a demand for contextual theology, which takes into account local socio-cultural realities and, in particular, the specific needs of the poor and the marginalized indigenous peoples in these contexts. The fact that for many indigenous peoples in Central and South America Christianity stood and stands for conquest, colonialism, discrimination, and the repression of indigenous lifeways has not inhibited the development of indigenous Christian theologies. Rather, within indigenous theologies, Christianity, with its controversial history, is seen to stand in a productive tension with Indigenous Spirituality. This paper examines this productive tension between Indigenous Christianity, Indigenous Spirituality and Western Christianity. It asks how both Christianity and indigenous spiritualities become (re)presented, (re)positioned and made meaningful—co-constituted—in relation to one another in a variety of ways in the public discourses of the World Council of Churches and Central and South American Indigenous Theologians. The paper shows how, from the point of view of indigenous theologies, to be simultaneously indigenous and Christian is to be engaged in an ongoing problematizing of questions of authenticity.