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Indigenous Traditions

Caring for Creation: First Nations Teachings and Survival

Caring for Creation: First Nations Teachings and Survival

by Louise Mangan

There is a longer and lovelier story about the Earth than most of us have been taught. This older wisdom story is grounded in the beauty and goodness of the natural world.

Seeking Reconciliation after “Cultural Genocide”

Seeking Reconciliation after “Cultural Genocide”

by William Rees

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015) recently defined reconciliation as “establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.”

A Visit to the Yánesha, Indigenous Peoples of Central Peru

A Visit to the Yánesha, Indigenous Peoples of Central Peru

by Lyla June Johnston

The sky was black and beautiful. The stars shone above like glistening guardians of the night. Guided only by fire light, we scaled the Amazonian hillside.

Lifting Up Indigenous Stories

Lifting Up Indigenous Stories

by Vicki Garlock

Toward a Global Ethic – An Initial Declaration put forth by the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1993 provides important guidelines for achieving a sustainable and just world. But if we hold any hope of transforming those principles into reality, we absolutely have to start with kids

15 Facts on African Religions

15 Facts on African Religions

by Jacob K. Olupona

1. African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on. Because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people.

Cosmic Andogyny

The best known Androgyne figures in all of Africa were carved by the Dogon in Mali. This excellent example is filled with male/female symbolism.

A Chinese Cong

The object in the photo is a Cong, which was used in Chinese burial rituals dating back to the Neolithic period. The piece is usually, as in this case, a piece of jade hollowed out in a tube or circular pattern on the inside and a rectangular shape on the exterior. “The circle comes close to the edges of the squared enclosure. Seen from above, the view of a Cong is that of a circle-in-a-square, or a mandala.”

The Sacred Power of Indigenous Women Threatened

We were about to begin a workshop entitled “The Sacred Power of Women” at the Dialogo Multicultural Universal in Guadalajara, Mexico last month. I had been asked to facilitate a panel of four accomplished, powerful women. Laura, an American-Samoan Latter Day Saint, is a businesswoman and philanthropist. Yonina, an Argentinean writer and publisher, was a Hindu nun for nine years. Evelina is an Ecuadorian anthropologist, lawyer, and historian. And Patti, a local Indigenous leader of Irish-Mexican heritage, is a teacher and performer of sacred ritual dance.

Diálogo Multicultural Universal II

Diálogo Multicultural Universal II, a project of the Carpe Diem Interfaith Foundation of Guadalajara, has put Latin America on the international interfaith map as a major contributor to the interfaith culture emerging globally. Building on the initial Diálogo in 2012, more than 1,000 registrants from 50 countries gathered earlier this month for three days, attending 150 workshops, many of them drawing hundreds of participants. Workshops which attracted 20 or 30 could be equally powerful, was the word in the halls. The numbers swelled with those who registered just for a day or two of the three.

“Indigenous Knowledge” Helping Mend the Nature-Culture Divide

An extraordinary global solidarity movement is happening today, providing a place for all to contribute. The movement represents a confluence of the indigenous and environmental movements (the “red” and the “green”). Joining forces, they are addressing the dire ecological issues humanity faces – food and water scarcity, climate disruption, droughts and flooding, species extinction, increased toxicity and health problems, and social division, to name a few.

An Indigenous Call for Restoring the Sacred

The spiritual foundation of the reunion of the Condor and the Eagle is based in the understanding of the fundamental oneness and unity of all life. All members of the Human Family are part of the ancient Sacred Circle of Life. Since we are all part of the Sacred Circle of Life we are all Indigenous Peoples of our Mother Earth. This makes every Human Being responsible for the well-being of one another and for all living things upon Mother Earth.

The Finer Points of Getting to Know You

As an interfaith-active Wiccan who has developed strong relationships with indigenous leaders, I’m familiar with the uncomfortable silences that can jar relationships between indigenous practitioners and institutional religionists. Something is missing. You’re in the same room but don’t know how to talk to each other. Here are some suggestions to bridging that spiritual gap.

What Is Indigeneity?

Can indigenous peoples not practice indigenous religions? What if a non-indigenous person claims to practice their religion? Can people normally not considered indigenous have an indigenous religion? What if they claim they are reconstructing a tradition that died out? What does “indigenous” actually mean, and how does it relate to both people and religion? While I will offer some general suggestions of my own, the most important part of this essay explains why these apparently simple questions are so complicated.

Struggling to Keep the Cosmovisión Alive

Every town, every culture has a concept of reality which accords with their life experience. The Aztecs, Mayan and Incas, peoples indigenous to Central and South America, created their own cosmovisión, as a way of conceiving the universe.

Renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery/Reclaiming Mother Earth

Hidden Seeds of Natural Healing & Curing was held last July, a gathering of 33 indigenous representatives from six continents, including two youth, ages 13 and 14, a council of leaders gathered to reflect on the global situation they and their peoples face. Hosted by United Religions Initiative’s Global Indigenous Initiative, participants met for three days near Napa Valley in Northern California.

Opening the Indigenous Door

Opening the Indigenous Door
Full Disclosure – Don Frew and Paul Chaffee have been friends and colleagues in the interfaith vineyard for more than 15 years, and Don has been a TIO supporter from the time the idea first glimmered. However close this association, though, devoting a credible exploration of “Indigenous Traditions in the Modern World” and leaving him out would be impossible. For 30 years Elder Don Frew has been the official interfaith representative of Covenant of the Goddess, the world’s largest Wiccan tradition. Don is a witch, a misunderstood word which can repel those unacquainted with paganism. But his relations with leaders from all traditions, established and indigenous, and within his own community are a perfect antidote to that discomfort. A grassroots bridge-builder with a global reach, he has championed indigenous, Earth and Nature-based traditions around the world, developing ways for them to be in dialogue with the rest of the global interfaith/interspiritual community. If you are interested in pagan and indigenous interfaith relations, you need to know about Don Frew. Ed.

Restoring Bear Lodge’s Sacred Name

For the many Native Americans engaged with Religions for Peace USA through the National Congress of American Indians and other affiliations, sacred spaces and certain key geographic landmarks are essential components to their spiritual practices. They serve as places of prayer and as signs of their peoples’ identity and longevity in this country.

International Interfaith Festival in Guadalajara, May 3-9, 2015

As excitement builds for the Parliament of the World’s Religions next year in Salt Lake City (October 15-19), a second major international interfaith gathering has been announced, this one in Guadalajara, Mexico, set for May 3-9, 2015.

Climate and the People: September 19-23, New York City

Sunday, September 21, 2014, the UN International Day of Peace. The sky was clear, the sun shining, and the air was vibrating with excitement. You could sense an unmistakable whiff of history-in-the-making. Soon mid-town Manhattan would become a rolling wave of humanity, a moving festival of people of every age, race, ethnicity, nationality, and belief. Most wore casual attire, some religious garb, and others chose colorful costumes and body paint. An impressive assortment of headgear showed up as well: hijabs, turbans, kippas, garlands, feathers, panama hats, and baseball caps.

A Different Approach to Deity

Neopagan, Indigenous, and Earth-based Spiritual Practice