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Indigenous Religions

Generally speaking, the term indigenous refers to thousands of distinct original societies, consisting of more than 200 million people, with their own cultures, languages, kinship systems, mythologies, ancestral stories, and homelands. Within these societies, indigenous religions emerge everywhere. Some are limited to small, remote communities in the rainforest, while others are just as visible and widely known as the world religions. However, since each of these societies is tremendously diverse, discussion about indigenous religions should be handled with care, so as not to impose meaning onto them.

Distinct from the “world religions,” such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, among others, what sets indigenous religions aside is a consciousness and responsiveness to the holistic relationship between material and symbolic life. As such, spiritual practices and ...

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