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Indigenous Religions

A research paper on indigenous religions discusses a wide variety of topics. Throughout history, religions have been oppressed for a wide variety of reasons. In some cases, this oppression has included the undermining and even destruction of religions. This has been particularly true of indigenous religions. This term paper will examine why indigenous religions, such as African American and Native American religions, are more vulnerable to extreme oppression. By examining oppressed indigenous religions of Africa and America in the term paper, this discussion will demonstrate that several factors contributed to their vulnerability. However, the indigenous view of nature as divine proved to be a critical vulnerability against the monotheistic belief in man's dominance over nature.   

Indigenous Religions

The concept of indigenous religion is typically associated with primitive beliefs by many Western observers. The practice of these religions has been considered wild by some, while for the millions of indigenous people of Africa, Latin America, and the United States view their indigenous religion as a vital connection to the world around them. These indigenous religions reflected their relationship to their environment, the organization of folk knowledge, cultural beliefs and history in a way that enhanced their lives.

In both Africa and America, where indigenous religions were practiced for centuries, Christian missionaries were able to oppress native religions by promising material gains and treasures of the West, including schools, hospitals and even trinkets. In addition, the followers of Western religion often possessed superior technology, such as guns, which made them stronger than those they were attempting to oppress. In addition, there were political and economic motives for oppressing indigenous religions, such as colonization, access to natural resources and cheap labor. For the practitioners of indigenous religions, economic or political benefits only came if they converted and submitted to the religious oppression. For these reasons, the "natural and harmonious" foundation of indigenous religions made them vulnerable to the more dominating monotheistic religions that oppressed them.

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