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We invite individual paper and group proposals on any aspect of Native Traditions in the Americas (North, Central and South). In particular, we invite papers on the following topics:

In light of this year's theme "Religion, Poverty, and Inequality: Contemplating Our Collective Futures," we invite papers on issues related to social and economic justice among Native American communities, including settler colonialism, how it operates and structurally divides resources; definitions of wealth and poverty within Indigenous communities; feast economies and Indigenous feasting traditions; and the impacts of borders and the border wall on Native communities and access to resources.

Papers are also welcome that explore the impacts of and responses to COVID-19 or other pandemics, with emphasis on Indigenous communities, grieving, resiliency, and healing.

For a possible joint session with the Religion and Cities Group, we invite papers focusing on Indigenous communities in urban spaces, their diversity, resiliency, and creativity. Of particular interest are papers exploring the unique challenges Indigenous peoples face protecting the sacred (burial grounds, ceremonial spaces, water, etc.) within urban contexts.

We also invite papers for a possible joint-session with the Religion and Human Rights unit and the Indigenous Religious Traditions unit titled "Indigenous Religions, Rights, and Borders." This session will concern Indigenous rights across borders, land repatriation, religious freedom, and the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous People. Any papers on these topics will be considered. Given the location of the Annual Meeting in San Antonio, we especially encourage papers that explore the southern border of the U.S,. rights and critiques of rights from Native American perspectives, and mythologies about colonial expansion in the Southwest.

In conjunction with the Catholic Studies Unit, we seek proposals that explore the way Native communities in the Americas have been shaped by, engaged with, resisted and/or indigenized Catholicism. Proposals might include analysis of indigenous Catholic practices, including memorialization, ritual, protest, education, and family life. We likewise welcome proposals that shed light on the borders between indigenous communities and their non-indigenous contemporaries, as these borders have been defined in conversation with Catholicism.

Of interest as well are papers addressing pedagogical strategies for teaching place-based religious traditions in an on-line learning environment.

Mission Statement:

This Unit sees its mission as the promotion of the study of Native American religious traditions and thereby the enrichment of the academic study of religion generally, by engaging in discourse about culturally-centered theories and encouraging multiple dialogues at the margins of Western and non-Western cultures and scholarship. The Unit is committed to fostering dialogue involving Native and non-Native voices in the study of North, Central, and South American Native religious traditions and to engaging religious studies scholarship in robust conversation with scholarship on other facets of Native cultures and societies.

Method of Submission:




Suzanne J. Crawford O'Brien, crawfosj@plu.edu

Andrea McComb Sanchez, amccomb@email.arizona.edu


Steering Committee:

Natalie Avalos, natalie.avalos@colorado.edu

Abel Gomez, abgomez@syr.edu

Tiffany Hale, tmhale@barnard.edu

David Walsh, dwalsh@gettysburg.edu

Michael Zogry, mzogry@ku.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 2 – Two 2-hour sessions

Next Review: 2022