Native Americans, Christianity, and the Reshaping of the American Religious Landscape

Edited by Joel W. Martin, Mark A. Nicholas

Foreword by Michelene Pesantubbee

344 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 2 maps, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7145-4
    Published: October 2010
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-9966-3
    Published: October 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8461-9
    Published: October 2010

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In this interdisciplinary collection of essays, Joel W. Martin and Mark A. Nicholas gather emerging and leading voices in the study of Native American religion to reconsider the complex and often misunderstood history of Native peoples' engagement with Christianity and with Euro-American missionaries. Surveying mission encounters from contact through the mid-nineteenth century, the volume alters and enriches our understanding of both American Christianity and indigenous religion.

The essays here explore a variety of postcontact identities, including indigenous Christians, "mission friendly" non-Christians, and ex-Christians, thereby exploring the shifting world of Native-white cultural and religious exchange. Rather than questioning the authenticity of Native Christian experiences, these scholars reveal how indigenous peoples negotiated change with regard to missions, missionaries, and Christianity. This collection challenges the pervasive stereotype of Native Americans as culturally static and ill-equipped to navigate the roiling currents associated with colonialism and missionization.

The contributors are Emma Anderson, Joanna Brooks, Steven W. Hackel, Tracy Neal Leavelle, Daniel Mandell, Joel W. Martin, Michael D. McNally, Mark A. Nicholas, Michelene Pesantubbee, David J. Silverman, Laura M. Stevens, Rachel Wheeler, Douglas L. Winiarski, and Hilary E. Wyss.

About the Authors

Joel W. Martin is Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, Dean of the Faculty, and Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of Sacred Revolt and The Land Looks After Us.
For more information about Joel W. Martin, visit the Author Page.

Mark A. Nicholas is an independent scholar living in Philadelphia.
For more information about Mark A. Nicholas, visit the Author Page.


"Martin and Nicholas' valuable essay collection . . . incorporates multiple disciplines, including history, religious studies, Native American studies, anthropology, and literary studies. . . . Each essay is well researched, eloquently written, and significant to the understanding of Native experiences in and with Christianity. An important contribution to a variety of disciplines, most importantly US Christianity, Native peoples and U.S. history. Highly recommended."--Choice

“[An] outstanding collection of twelve essays….[which] break new ground because they are the product of serious, insightful, and well-grounded scholarship.”--Church History

“These essays contribute valuably to a healthy scholarship on indigenous Christianities . . . . [and] capture a crucial insight.”--Catholic Historical Review

“An important, wide-ranging, and insightful collection of essays. Readers interested in cross-cultural exchange, and in the history of Christianity in early America will benefit from its ideas and findings.” --Journal of Southern Religion

“This remarkable collection of essays demonstrates that what is being said in Native American Studies is well worth hearing.”--The Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

"This is an excellent book, poised to make a major contribution to the fields of early American history, Native American history, and American religious history. The contributors are all well-established scholars who bring cross-disciplinary dialogue and borrowing to this interesting, timely, and significant topic."--Richard Pointer, author of Encounters of the Spirit: Native Americans and European Colonial Religion