Pagan and Indigenous Communities in Interreligious Contexts

Interrogating Identity, Power, and Authenticity


  • Lee Gilmore San José State University



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.

Author Biography

Lee Gilmore, San José State University

Lee Gilmore is a lecturer in the Humanities Deptartment at San José State University.


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How to Cite

Gilmore, L. (2019). Pagan and Indigenous Communities in Interreligious Contexts: Interrogating Identity, Power, and Authenticity. Pomegranate, 20(2), 179–207.