Spirit Wars: Native North American Religions in the Age of Nation Building

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University of California Press, Aug 28, 2000 - History - 274 pages
Spirit Wars is an exploration of the ways in which the destruction of spiritual practices and beliefs of native peoples in North America has led to conditions of collective suffering--a process sometimes referred to as cultural genocide. Ronald Niezen approaches this topic through wide-ranging case studies involving different colonial powers and state governments: the seventeenth-century Spanish occupation of the Southwest, the colonization of the Northeast by the French and British, nineteenth-century westward expansion and nationalism in the swelling United States and Canada, and twentieth-century struggles for native people's spiritual integrity and freedom. Each chapter deals with a specific dimension of the relationship between native peoples and non-native institutions, and together these topics yield a new understanding of the forces directed against the underpinnings of native cultures.

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Contents

Introduction I
1
The Conquest of Souls I
12
Learning to Forget
46
Medical Evangelism
92
The Politics of Repression
128
The Collectors
161
Apostles of the New Age
194
Conclusions
221
References Cited
229
Index
247
Copyright

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Page 35 - It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God...
Page 202 - Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness...
Page 82 - But you who are wise must know, that different Nations have different Conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our Ideas of this Kind of Education happen not to be the same with yours.
Page 89 - ... and they therefore pledge themselves to compel their children, male and female, between the ages of six and sixteen years, to attend school; and it is hereby made the duty of the agent for said Indians to see that this stipulation is strictly...
Page 82 - Offer, tho' we decline accepting it; and to show our grateful Sense of it, if the Gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their Sons, we will take great Care of their Education, instruct them in all we know, and make Men of them.
Page 82 - Several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were instructed in all your Sciences; but, when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor counsellors; they were totally good for nothing.

About the author (2000)

Ronald Niezen is Research Scholar in the History Department, University of Winnipeg, and is currently engaged in field research with the Pimicikamak Cree Nation. He has worked with a number of native communities in northern Canada and has served as a delegate to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations.

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