Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality

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Oxford University Press, Sep 21, 2004 - Religion - 320 pages
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In books such as Mystics and Messiahs, Hidden Gospels, and The Next Christendom, Philip Jenkins has established himself as a leading commentator on religion and society. Now, in Dream Catchers, Jenkins offers a brilliant account of the changing mainstream attitudes towards Native American spirituality, once seen as degraded spectacle, now hailed as New Age salvation. Jenkins charts this remarkable change by highlighting the complex history of white American attitudes towards Native religions, considering everything from the 19th-century American obsession with "Hebrew Indians" and Lost Tribes, to the early 20th-century cult of the Maya as bearers of the wisdom of ancient Atlantis. He looks at the popularity of the Carlos Castaneda books, the writings of Lynn Andrews and Frank Waters, and explores New Age paraphernalia including dream-catchers, crystals, medicine bags, and Native-themed Tarot cards. He also examines the controversial New Age appropriation of Native sacred places and notes that many "white indians" see mainstream society as religiously empty. An engrossing account of our changing attitudes towards Native spirituality, Dream Catchers offers a fascinating introduction to one of the more interesting aspects of contemporary American religion.
 

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Dream catchers: how mainstream America discovered native spirituality

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Once viewed with contempt by white America, Native American spirituality has now been embraced. In this well-researched history, Jenkins (history & religious studies, Pennsylvania State Univ ... Read full review

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Contents

1 Haunting America
1
2 Heathen Darkness
20
3 Discovering Native Religion 18601920
47
4 Pilgrims from the Vacuum 18901920
65
5 Crisis in Red Atlantis 19141925
92
6 Brave New Worlds 19251950
113
7 Before the New Age 19201960
135
8 Vision Quests 19601980
154
9 The Medicine Show
175
10 Thinking Tribal Thoughts
197
11 Returning the Land
223
Real Religion?
245
Notes
257
Index
299
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Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading religion scholars joined Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion as Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion.

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