Encyclopedia Article


In traditional Native American cultures, "religion" is an alien concept. Rather than religion, these traditional societies acknowledge, respect, and participate in what can be understood as a reciprocal relationship between the individual and other individuals, the community, nature and natural phenomenon, and sacred beings. This reciprocity has attained the level of ceremony and spiritual tradition over centuries of observance. It has also been augmented, and sometimes replaced, by the imposition of Christianity, especially, although not exclusively, Catholicism.

When Tony Hillerman writes "Zuni religion," for example, he is referring to the traditional Zuni way, one that predates Christianity or European influence.

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"False Kiva, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, May 11, 2012" by John Fowler is licensed under CC BY.

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