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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces theological and philosophical uses of the notion of “spirit” in studies of Native religious belief, and argues that these uses that have separated matter from the immaterial, and thus the knowable from the illogical. Such binaries fuel inaccurate ethnographic representations, the consumption of Native American spirituality, and indigenous claims for sacred sites. Rather than framing indigenous religious action in terms of “spirit” and “spirituality,” this chapter argues for the value of an ontological attention to indigenous intersubjectivity and the multiple ways indigenous people maintain practical, logical, and physical relations among humans and other-than-human persons. The chapter proposes replacing the term “spiritual” with the word “related” in describing indigenous world views.

Keywords: colonialism, indigenous, intersubjectivity, materialism, ontology, religion, sacred, spirit, spirituality, relatedness

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