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REL 918 01 (10025) /F&ES861/EVST280/RLST282
American Indian Religions and Ecology
John Grim
TTh 2.30-3.45 PR77 A002
Fall 2013 
 
Areas DI (5), DI DIV, DI NXN
This course studies selected Native American religions drawing on several approaches, namely, environmental history, religion and ecology, anthropology, geography, and religious studies. We open with critical inquiry about the use of such terms as religion, ritual, symbol, and sacred, and the use of such referents as American Indian and Native American. Course texts are used to guide an examination of prominent Native American peoples and such rituals as the Plains Sun Dance, the Columbia River Plateau Winter Dance, and rituals of the Southwest Pueblos and Dineh Peoples. The course investigates relationships evident in these complex ceremonials between identity and place, self and society, (religious) ecology and cosmology, narrative and therapy. Throughout the course we explore regional historical questions drawing on native scholarly perspectives, where available, regarding American Indian religions and the impact of the West. We examine the historical ramifications on American Indian religions through the periods of: (1) contact and encounter, (2) population decline, (3) resistance and assimilation, and (4) reinvention and recovery. We conclude with considerations of decolonization efforts as contemporary native practitioners recover and reconstruct traditions.