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Spirits of Blood, Spirits of BreathThe Twinned Cosmos of Indigenous America$
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Barbara Alice Mann

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199997060

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199997060.001.0001

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“Grandfather God” and the Missionaries: “Totally Good for Nothing”

“Grandfather God” and the Missionaries: “Totally Good for Nothing”

(p.15) 1 “Grandfather God” and the Missionaries: “Totally Good for Nothing”
Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath

Barbara Alice Mann

Oxford University Press

Beginning with the first wave of invasion, Christian Europeans sought to destroy Indigenous spiritualities. From 1819 on, forced assimilation was US governmental policy, heavily implemented when the Grant Administration (1869–77) parceled out reservations to various Christian sects, which banned Indian spiritualities. Crushing Sun Dances and Ghost Dances, from 1881 to 1991, the US Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) governmentally forced assimilation on Indian children through its criminally run “boarding schools.” Meantime, Western scholars misrepresented Indian spiritualities through the twentieth century. The unconstitutional ban on Indian spiritualities continued until outlawed by the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act of 1978, which to be enforced had to be clarified by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Although early Indian writers including George Eastman gingerly corrected the record, it was not until the 1980s that open repudiation of Western impositions began, with beginnings by Vine Deloria, Jr., and Paula Gunn Allen.

Keywords:   BIA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, boarding schools, forced assimilation, American Indian Freedom of Religion Act, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Charles Eastman, Vine Deloria, Jr., Paula Gunn Allen

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