Native American Religious Societies

Nimachia Hernandez

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Native American Religious Societies


The traditional indigenous peoples of the Americas share much in common with indigenous peoples throughout the world who have been affected by the forces of globalization. At the same time the importance of their knowledge—spiritual, ecological, and social—retains its significance in this increasingly globalized world for myriad reasons. Among these are a respect for the natural environment and ecosystems that sustain life. Another is the quest for meaning in local traditions that is a counterpoint to modern development. Native American identity has been designated, decided upon, and forced upon Native Americans by social and political actions. This article focuses on Native American religious societies. First, it discusses the problem of definition and identity with respect to Native Americans. It then considers the diversity of Native American ways, creation stories based on “cosmovision,” sacred earth, sacred space, sacred sites, Native American identity through harmony with the land and life's cycles, Christianity and native traditions, and keeping Native American tradition intact in an era of globalization.

Keywords: Native Americans; identity; religious societies; globalization; creation stories; sacred space; Christianity; native traditions

Article.  4270 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations

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