Indigenous Religions

Whanganui River

Sacred Rivers in India, New Zealand Granted Legal Personhood

March 31, 2017

Last week, India became the second nation this month to grant legal personhood status to a river, raising ethical and practical questions about how to regulate environmental protections.

As of Monday, March 20, the Ganges river and its main tributary, the Yamuna, will be accorded the rights and responsibilities of a living person. The rivers are the first non-human entities to be granted such a status, The Guardian reported.

The crux of the...

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Sun rising at Bears Ears National Monument

Native Americans Organize as Sacred Utah Monument Hangs in Balance

March 12, 2017

Just over 2 months after its inception, a Utah national monument is in danger of having its status revoked.

In his last weeks of office, then-President Barack Obama designated 1.35 million acres of southwestern Utah as Bears Ears National Monument. The act was praised as an important recognition of the land’s spiritual significance for local Native American tribes. National monument status, the coalition of 5 tribes...

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Pokémon Go Sweeps Nation Amidst Questions of Augmented Reality Ethics

Pokémon Go Sweeps Nation Amidst Questions of Augmented Reality Ethics

July 20, 2016

On July 6, American software company Niantic, Inc. released a gaming app that quickly cultivated a widespread and fervent fan base around the world.

Pokémon Go—an augmented reality game affiliated with the Pokémon franchise—has nearly 24 million daily users in the United States alone, outpacing popular mobile apps like Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook in users’ daily duration of use.

Pokémon Go uses a number of smartphone features—including location and mapping services,...

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“Best Ever” Parliament of World’s Religions Addresses Climate Justice

“Best Ever” Parliament of World’s Religions Addresses Climate Justice

October 23, 2015

Last Thursday, Salt Lake City, Utah, was filled with the sound of Native tribal drums. The music provided the soundtrack to a procession that kicked off the 5th Parliament of the World’s Religions. Referred to by some as “the Olympics of religion,” the Parliament is the oldest interfaith gathering in the world. This year’s Parliament outdid itself in terms of participants, volunteers, and diversity; among the nearly 10,000 participants,...

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The spirituality of Africa

The spirituality of Africa

October 7, 2015

Jacob Olupona, Harvard Divinity School Professor of indigenous African religions and Harvard University Professor of African and African American Studies, is interviewed in the Harvard Gazette on the persistence of indigenous traditions in Africa.

He comments:

[T]he word “religion” is problematic for many Africans, because it suggests that religion is separate from the other aspects of one’s culture, society, or environment. But for many Africans, religion can never be separated from all these. It is a way of life, and it can never be separated from the public...

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