By By (author) Gary Rhine, Edited by Phil Cousineau By (author) Huston Smith
During this choice of illuminating conversations, well known historian of worldwide religions Huston Smith invitations ten influential American Indian non secular and political leaders to speak about their five-hundred-year fight for non secular freedom. Their intimate, impassioned dialogues yield profound insights into some of the most awesome instances of tragic irony in background: the rustic that prides itself on non secular freedom has resolutely denied those self same rights to its personal indigenous humans. With outstanding erudition and curiosity--and respectfully framing his questions in mild of the revelation that his discovery of local American faith helped him around out his perspectives of the world's religions--Smith skillfully is helping show the intensity of the audio system' wisdom and event. American Indian leaders Vine Deloria, Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux), Winona LaDuke (Anishshinaabeg), Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), Frank Dayish, Jr. (Navajo), Charlotte Black Elk (Oglala Lakota), Douglas George-Kanentiio (Mohawk-Iroquois), Lenny Foster (Dine/Navajo), Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga), Anthony man Lopez (Lakota-Sioux), and Oren Lyons (Onondaga) supply a magnificent evaluate of the serious matters dealing with the local American group this day. Their principles approximately spirituality, politics, family members with the U.S. executive, their position in American society, and the ongoing energy in their groups supply voice to a inhabitants that's all too frequently missed in modern discourse. The tradition they describe isn't really a relic of the prior, nor a ancient interest, yet a dwelling culture that keeps to form local American lives.
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Additional resources for A Seat at the Table: Huston Smith in Conversation with Native Americans on Religious Freedom
SMITH: Oh, you’re stirring up all kinds of opinions in me! Let me run this one by you. In the indigenous view, spirit is ﬁrst and, if anything, matter is a kind of “spin-off” from spirit, whereas in the modern scientiﬁc view, matter is fundamental, and spirit is like the foam on top of the beer. You can have beer without the foam—spirit—but you can’t have foam without the beer—matter. DELORIA: Yes, well, many tribes reverse that and agree with modern physics that the universe is essentially an idea.
SMITH: Can you speak speciﬁcally about your religion and the ﬁve hundred tribes, their differences and similarities? Can you tell us in your own words why you want to continue your religion and what you feel would be lost if you were to be assimilated into a dominant religion? I am curious about religion as an integral part of your daily life. Tell us why religion matters to native people. ECHO-HAWK: That’s easy. As I touched on brieﬂy earlier, religion is a mark of humanity. All people and races and cultures have religion.
Their religious conceptions are not theories to them (which, indeed, would have to be very curious theories to evoke tears from a man), but facts, as important and moving as the corresponding external realities. . “Why,” Mountain Lake said, “do the Americans not let us alone? Why do they want to forbid our dances? Why do they make difﬁculties when we want to take our young people from school in order to lead them to the kiva [ceremonial site], and instruct them in our religion? ” After a prolonged silence he continued, “The Americans want to stamp out our religion.