The category indigenous religions denotes religions practiced by peoples with ancestral or longstanding cultural ties to local places. Despite the persistence of the category world religion and its identification with or denotation of particularly widespread religions (Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism), indigenous religions need not be read either in contrast to “world religions” or in isolation from those traditions. In fact, indigenous religions are global traditions in at least two senses: first, indigenous peoples practicing traditional religions live on every inhabited continent, literally around the globe; and second, the diversity of indigenous peoples, whose cultures and religions reflect their engagement with myriad local environments, reflects the stunning heterogeneity of human societies.

Contact, colonialism, and their consequences complicate the picture of ...

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