Pagan and Indigenous Communities in Interreligious Contexts
Interrogating Identity, Power, and Authenticity
Keywords:Interfaith, Interreligious, Contemporary Paganism, Indigenous, Parliament of the World’s Religions, United Religions Initiative
This study surveys the relationships between contemporary Pagan and indigenous communities within interreligious contexts and interrogates the description of contemporary Pagan religions as "indigenous European traditions" by some Pagans in these arenas. Contemporary Pagan constructions of authenticity located in claims of "indigeneity" raise a number of questions concerning identity and power, as well as about what defines the contested category of "indigeneity." This essay argues that white (Euro-American and European) Pagans should avoid enhancing their aura of authenticity by employing "indigeneity'"as an identity marker, because to do so distorts and erases the ongoing structural oppressions resulting from the history of European colonialism. It purchases political legitimacy for Pagans on the interfaith stage, but does little to make reparations to generationally traumatized and impoverished indigenous peoples.
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