Indigenous Religions of North America
Leslie Dorrough Smith [+]
Steven W Ramey [+]
University of Alabama
This chapter explores and then interrogates four different representations of Indigenous traditions of North America. The first representation focuses on differences between Indigenous groups in North America, using a few example communities to highlight ways that their practices, in part, reflect elements of their local environments. The second representation presents and then analyzes romanticized representations of Indigenous religions in North America as containing unique wisdom or knowledge. The third representation concentrates on contemporary forms of Indigenous religions in North America, including interactions with settlers and missionaries. The fourth representation, which examines how Indigenous religions have had political influence, emphasizes interactions with non-Indigenous peoples. It considers the ways various descriptions of Indigenous traditions have been used to increase (or decrease) the political influence of both Indigenous and non-indigenous groups.