Indigenous Religions

The term indigenous religions is now commonly used as a collective phrase to designate societies that in earlier literature were referred to as ‘primitive’, ‘tribal’, ‘preliterate’, ‘savage’, ‘primal’, and ‘fetishistic’, among others. In more recent times, these pejorative terms have been replaced increasingly by ‘Indigenous’, often with an initial capital to indicate an equal status with the world religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism. Redressing previous prejudiced views of Indigenous peoples through terminological reform, however, does not solve the overriding problem of how to define Indigenous Religions as a collective unit, since Indigenous peoples, who are found throughout the globe, vary markedly in their social structures and cultural expressions.

Some scholars have suggested that Indigenous societies share certain characteristics in common, such as ...

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