Dream Catchers - pb-

SKU: 0195189108

Philip Jenkins
Grade Levels:
College, University
Multiple Nations
Book Type:
Oxford University Press
Copyright Date:

Sale price$33.00


Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality is a recent book by a US history and religious studies professor who describes the recent phenomenon of New Age appropriation of Native North American Indian spiritual beliefs. Written without academic jargon, this text examines the sources for non-Native interest in Aboriginal spirituality and ceremonial practices. Tracing Americans interest in Native Peoples from the colonial period to the present, Jenkins notes that white America originally viewed Native People to be without religion. From Victorian times to the early 1900s, notions about Indians being the Lost Tribe of Israel and other stereotypes abounded in popular and academic circles. In the 1930, critical thinkers began a revision of their views on Native Americans and their spirituality. Taking aim at wannabes, New Age shamans, white feminists, and others, this book shines a light on the many ways Americans appropriate, misuse, and exploits Native spiritual beliefs. Using popular literature, films, and scholarly works by non-Native and Native writers, the author examines how the period of the 1960s to the New Agers have influenced America's perspectives on Native People and their beliefs. Whether it is Lynn Andrews, Carlos Castaneda, Mary Summer Rain, or Sun Bear, the author provides an absorbing look at how America uses Native beliefs to the fill the void of their spiritual wasteland. The author paints an interesting picture of how white shamanism has appropriated a variety of tribal traditions such as sweat lodges, vision quests, peyote, and smudging mixing them together into something that no longer remains true to specific tribal beliefs and ceremonies. Ideas about Mother Earth, authenticity, identity, ecology, feminism, and prophesies are explored. The author concludes that the appropriation and stereotyping of Native spirituality may be beneficial to contemporary Native Americans. He also looks at why America is so interested in Native spirituality and how it fills the void left by declining Christian religions. On the whole, the book is thought-provoking and readers should be aware that this work does not offer descriptions or analysis of actual Native spirituality. A hardcover edition is also available.

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