The Shaker Church

Thomas Buckley

in Standing Ground

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233584
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936447 | DOI:
The Shaker Church

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This chapter takes a look at the historical aspects of Yurok spirituality in an interpretation of the Indian Shaker Church that was introduced on the Klamath River in 1926. The Indian Shaker Church originated on Puget Sound in 1882 and was brought into native northwestern California in 1926. Early scholars viewed it as a minor crisis cult or revitalization movement, as opposed to a “real,” i.e. pre-contact, American Indian religion, and it offered a new, historically appropriate context for Indian doctors' use of their healing powers. Furthermore, the chapter argues that this Christian church was accurately understood by its adherents as a “continuation” or “evolution” of indigenous spirituality. Finally, the earlier Yurok jump dance, moribund since 1939, which reemerged in the 1980s through the efforts of individuals who viewed the Shaker Church as un-Yurok, is understood, rather, as a historically dialogical “evolution” of the church itself.

Keywords: Yurok spirituality; Indian Shaker Church; minor crisis cult; revitalization; American Indian religion; Yurok jump dance

Chapter.  5624 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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