About a week ago, I participated in a series of talks my local church sponsored called, “Gutsy Women of Faith.” My assignment was to go through my just-published book, “Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans,” choose a number of Native women who had spoken to me about faith and discuss them.
Like everything connected to Native Americana, at least in my view, things were complicated.
For starters, I realized I had never specifically asked any of the women, or men, about their beliefs. Instead, they themselves broached this most personal subject, as they broached many, many other personal subjects, such as their backgrounds. Read: non-Native grandparent or parent or spouse. As I glanced up from my computer screen to my frequently consulted Map of American Indian Nations, whose land base looks to comprise about one percent of the United States, I realized that virtually every person I interviewed had spoken about faith, either in terms of religious practice or beliefs. (This is unlike the majority of my non-Native friends, who rarely bring up the subject.)