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 Read more about Sacred Rivers in India, New Zealand Granted Legal Personhood

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 Read more about Native Americans Organize as Sacred Utah Monument Hangs in Balance

DAPL Protest Banners

Federal Government Halts Pipeline Construction on American Indian Sacred Grounds

September 13, 2016

Last Friday, the federal government issued a temporary halt to construction on a crude oil pipeline that would run near American Indian tribal lands.

The joint statement from several governmental agencies came just 15 minutes after a U.S. District Judge had ruled that construction could continue unimpeded Read more about Federal Government Halts Pipeline Construction on American Indian Sacred Grounds

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, Read more about Pokémon Go Sweeps Nation Amidst Questions of Augmented Reality Ethics

“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, Read more about “Best Ever” Parliament of World’s Religions Addresses Climate Justice

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 Read more about The spirituality of Africa

Cuba: Growth of a homegrown religion

Cuba: Growth of a homegrown religion

April 15, 2015

This week, The Economist’s Americas bureau pays attention to a growing trend in Cuba: Santería, which is gaining popularity as the Communist government takes a less aggressive stance toward religion.

Pope Francis is reportedly considering a fall trip to Havana, after helping the United States and Cuba reach a diplomatic breakthrough. When his predecessor, Pope Benedict, visited in 2012, Byron Pitts of  Read more about Cuba: Growth of a homegrown religion