For This Land: Writings on Religion in America

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First Published in 1999. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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About the Author:

Vine Deloria, Jr., a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota and former director of the National Congress of American Indians, is Professor of History at the University of Colorado. He is the author of numerous books, including Red Earth, White Lies (1995), God is Red (1973), and Custer Died for your Sins (1969).James Treatteaches in the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma. He edited Native and Christian: Indigenous Voices on Religious Identity in the United States and Canada, also published by Routledge.

From Publishers Weekly:

In The Red Man in the New World Drama, Native American activist, lawyer and religious leader Deloria trenchantly declared, "While America has produced great businessmen and scientists, it has been unable to produce one great philosopher or theologian." Though controversial, Deloria's writings have challenged continually the ways that religious thinkers understand the relationship between the practices of American religion native and imported. From the beginning of the American experiment, Deloria notes, the unique beliefs and rituals of indigenous American religion have been replaced by the polity and practice of European Christianity. To return to the values of a distinctly American religion, he asserts, means recognizing that the American land serves as the fountain of human existence and the standard of religious revelation in this place. Deloria gathers in this collection of essays from 1965 to 1995 his most forthright reflection and writing on American religion, nicely divided into five sections examining such topics as "The Theological Dimension of the Indian Protest Movement," "Religion and the Modern American Indian," "Sacred Lands and Religious Freedom," and "Is Religion Possible?: An Evaluation of Present Efforts to Revive Traditional Tribal Religions." In his afterword to this volume, Deloria declares that the "old mainstream churches have hardly any relevancy for our time." Although he has sought unity between American Christianity and Native American religion for many years, he disdains religious expressions by either community that substitute the form of religious practice for an experience of the substance of the sacred. Finally, throughout these essays Deloria emphasizes, as he said in God Is Red, "Religion cannot be kept within the bounds of sermons and scriptures. It is a force in and of itself and it calls for the integration of lands and people in harmonious unity." Deloria's forceful and important essays deserve a wide reading.
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