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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

No one term in an indigenous language may exactly translate, or even correspond to, the English terms “religion” or “ecology.” The term “ecology” is used here to express indigenous knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, or traditional environmental knowledge. Despite widespread cultural losses due to colonization and industrialization, many indigenous peoples still hold to their creation stories as the basis of their traditional symbols and rituals of spiritual and ecological intimacy. These creation stories provide the cosmological context for knowing self, society, and world. The indigenous traditions of the Americas provide the majority of examples of indigenous religions given in this article. This article also examines indigenous lifeways and the fourfold embodiment: the individual person (or embodied self ), the native society, the larger community of life in a region (nature or ecology), and the powerful cosmological beings typically present in ritual actions and mythic narratives.

Keywords: Americas, indigenous peoples, ecology, religion, indigenous traditions, rituals, creation stories, society, nature, indigenous lifeways

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