Which of The Following Best Describes The History of American Indian Religions In The US?


Which of The Following Best Describes The History of American Indian Religions In The US?

Answer In Short: After The US (13 colonies) Independence From Great Britain, The United States Government And Christian Religious Institutions Collectively Pursued Hostile Policies Against American Indian’s Religious Beliefs And Forcefully Imposed Christianity On Them.

Even Sometimes, They Used Violence As A Tool To Make Them Oblige To Accept Christianity.

The United States Governments And Christian Religious Institutions Kept Implementing These Religious Persecutions Until 1978.

However, The Passes of 1978’s American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) Reduced Religious Suppression Against Indians, Quite A Lot.

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Description – A Brief History of American Indians Religion In The US

Earlier, when the European settlers were just started migrating to the new world (Americas), they saw – indigenous people (Indians) here practicing different religious beliefs of their own

Even they noticed small groups as each having their own unique religious ideologies.

Primarily, American Indians believed in Animism, Monotheism, Polytheism, Henotheism, Shamanism, and Pantheism.

But from the 16th-century beginning when Europeans started migrating here, they focused on converting these indigenous people into Christianity (both Protestant and Catholic).

Even in many cases, Europeans preferred using violence for religious alteration.

Especially, after the United States’ independence, religious suppression increased much higher than ever before. For example, in 1890, the US government violently eradicated American Indians’ Ghost Dance culture. 

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Implementations By The US Governments To Suppress American Indians’ Religious Belief

1. The United States government removed American Indian children from their own families and sent them into some government and Christian Church-operated boarding schools.

At that time, these boarding schools went popular as Indian Residential Schools.

These boarding schools were first established by Christian missionaries in the 19th century.

Although, European-origin American people said those schools’ main objective was to make the Indians civilized and help them to assimilate with Europe’s rich culture; but in reality, these institutions were meant to destroy Indians’ cultural elements (religion, language).

Even these institutions vilified and taught children to hate their own culture.  

Did you know? Because of all these reasons, till the beginning of the 21st century, the number of American Indians’ own religious belief followers reduced to only 9000 people.

2. Via passing laws, the United States government banned Indians’ various traditional religious practices; such as Sundance, Sweat lodge, Ghost dance, etc.

However, some of these practices had violent forms. For example, in the Sundance tradition, individuals make self-sacrifices to satisfy some supernatural powers.


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