3. Were all religions at one time "Indigenous"?
Indigenous Religious Traditions in Five Minutes - Molly Bassett
Tyler M Tully [+]
University of Oxford
Tyler M. Tully is a doctoral candidate in Religion and the Arthur Peacocke Graduate Scholar in Theology and Science at the University of Oxford. As a fifth generation Oklahoman of settler and Native (Chickasaw) descent, Tyler’s interdisciplinary research and teaching engages intersecting entanglements between religion, race, gender, science, and colonialism.
This essay looks to the discourse on “Indigenous religious traditions” and “lifeways” in the academic study of religion, asking “Where all religions at one time ‘Indigenous’?” It interrogates assumptions at work in the terms “Indigenous” and “religion,” highlighting questions of power related to identity and place, before situating these within a larger colonial context. Next, it traces its titular query across the work of scholars foundational to the study of religion, such as Tylor, Frazer, Evans-Pritchard, Durkheim, and Eliade. Against the backdrop of this wider history and development, this chapter critically accounts for religion's longstanding dependence on theories and discourses of the "savage" and "primitive."