Racial Equity

How Indigenous Religions Can Widen the Interfaith Circle

October 8, 2021

A protest led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. (Jolanda Kirpensteijn/Unsplash)

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Often Native people fundamentally understand themselves as being from and of a place. In that place, often there’s a sense that that landscape is alive with sacred power.

AG: It’s important to understand that different sacred sites have different meanings. Part of the reason it’s important to think about, especially in an interfaith context, is that historically Native traditions have been severely persecuted by the federal government. It wasn’t until 1978 with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act that Native people had the legal right to practice their ceremonies.

One of the interviews that I did as a master’s student, an Ohlone young man said, “Our language comes directly from the land, so when we speak it the land can hear us again.”

All of these histories really invite us to think critically and deeply about what kind of future do we want? We actually have the power to create that, when we listen, when we come humbly, and when we do the work of being good relatives to one another.

Applications for IFYC’s Racial Equity & Interfaith Cooperation Awards are now open! Applications for college and university faculty and staff are due Nov. 21. IFYC alumni applications are due Oct. 28.