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Native Traditions in the Americas Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

We invite individual paper and group proposals on any aspect of Native Traditions in the Americas (North, Central and South). In particular, we invite papers on the following topics:

In light of this year's theme "Violence, Nonviolence, and the Margin" we invite proposals for papers or panels that consider how Native people have responded to and engaged in  historical and contemporary forms of violence (and nonviolence), and how Native traditions have endured, resisted, adapted, or been represented despite these violences. This might include:

  • For a possible co-sponsored session with the Religion and Popular Culture Group: Explorations of popular media representations of Native traditions amid violent conditions, such as those seen in The Killers of the Flower Moon, Reservations Dogs, and other media. This session could also challenge stereotypes about Native traditions, including harmful stereotypes about the violence of the people and traditions, as well as the harm done by “positive” representations, such as “the ecological Indian.”
  • For a possible co-sponsored session with the Religion and Ecology group: Examination of work within Native communities to combat the violence against the land, waters, and plant and animal beings, and violent responses to non-violent land and water protection, with consideration to how Native religious traditions can or have influenced global and dominant discourses related to nature and the environment.
  • Reflections on the role of religious and spiritual resources within American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian student success and retention in higher education, including considerations of what it means to decolonize such institutions, particularly in light of the historically violent role that western education has played in Indigenous communities.
  • Examinations of the colonial justifications of violence and the role of religion in this violence from the perspectives of Native people. This could include the exploration of parallels between the experiences of colonial violence among Native people of the Americas and those faced by other Indigenous people around the world, and how religious traditions help communities endure and resist colonization.
  • Indigenous legal battles throughout the Americas for civil rights, treaty rights, and tribal sovereignty–and how these contests have been and continue to be shaped by religious sensibilities, motivations, and power.
  • Perspectives on religion and violence at the US-Mexico border, the border in San Diego, or other border areas in the Americas, as experienced by largely Native and Indigenous populations.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit sees its mission as the promotion of the study of Native American religious traditions and thereby the enrichment of the academic study of religion generally, by engaging in discourse about culturally-centered theories and encouraging multiple dialogues at the margins of Western and non-Western cultures and scholarship. The Unit is committed to fostering dialogue involving Native and non-Native voices in the study of North, Central, and South American Native religious traditions and to engaging religious studies scholarship in robust conversation with scholarship on other facets of Native cultures and societies.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members