8 Pages


Problems, Research Context and Overview

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the history and development of the study of Indigenous Religions in academic institutions and note how scholarly publications on indigenous peoples have influenced widespread popular perceptions. It discusses the problems entailed by making 'indigenous' a comparable category to terms used in other environments to classify 'world religions'. The chapter examines two case studies drawn from entirely different geographical settings in order to highlight the problems associated with generalizing about specific social and cultural contexts and as a means of testing the definitions. It examines traditional ritual practices and oral traditions of the Yupiit peoples of the south western regions of Alaska. From 1981 to 1986, the author worked in Anchorage, from which the author made research trips to various parts of the state.