Shamanism and Christianity: Native Encounters with Russian Orthodox Missions in Siberia and Alaska, 1820-1917

Front Cover
Greenwood Press, 1999 - Religion - 306 pages
The interaction of 19th-century Russian missionaries with three indigenous groups, the Chukchi and Altaians in Siberia and the Dena'ina Indians in Alaska, resulted in widely different outcomes. The Chukchi disregarded the missionary message, the Dena'ina embraced Christianity, and the Altaians responded by selectively borrowing from Orthodox religion. Znamenski--in the first work of its kind in English--argues that the relationships between indigenous shamanism and Orthodox missionaries in Siberia and Alaska were essentially a dialogue about spiritual, political, and ideological power, and challenges both the widespread conviction that Christian missionaries always acted as agents of colonial oppression among tribal peoples and the notion that native peoples maintained their "pristine" traditional cultures despite years of interaction with Western society.

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Contents

Indigenous Landscapes in Siberia and Alaska
15
Missionary Landscapes in Siberia and Alaska
47
Denaina
95
Chukchi Dialogues with
139
Altaian Natives
193
Bibliography
273
Index
299
Copyright

About the author (1999)

ANDREI A. ZNAMENSKI is Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Humanities at Alabama State University. His current research focuses on the history of native peoples of Siberia and Alaska. His publications include articles in Alaska History, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Russian Review, European Studies Journal, Social Sciences, and ITINERARIO.

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