Article

Indigenous Traditions

John A. Grim

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178722
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195178722.003.0013

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Indigenous Traditions

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No one term in an indigenous language may exactly translate, or even correspond to, the English terms “religion” or “ecology.” The term “ecology” is used here to express indigenous knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, or traditional environmental knowledge. Despite widespread cultural losses due to colonization and industrialization, many indigenous peoples still hold to their creation stories as the basis of their traditional symbols and rituals of spiritual and ecological intimacy. These creation stories provide the cosmological context for knowing self, society, and world. The indigenous traditions of the Americas provide the majority of examples of indigenous religions given in this article. This article also examines indigenous lifeways and the fourfold embodiment: the individual person (or embodied self ), the native society, the larger community of life in a region (nature or ecology), and the powerful cosmological beings typically present in ritual actions and mythic narratives.

Keywords: Americas; indigenous peoples; ecology; religion; indigenous traditions; rituals; creation stories; society; nature; indigenous lifeways

Article.  12106 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies

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