Religiosity and Spiritual Engagement in Two American Indian Populations

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Abstract:

Social scientific investigation into the religiospiritual characteristics of American Indians rarely includes analysis of quantitative data. After reviewing information from ethnographic and autobiographical sources, we present analyses of data from a large, population-based sample of two tribes (n = 3,084). We examine salience of belief in three traditions: aboriginal, Christian, and Native American Church. We then investigate patterns in sociodemographic subgroups, determining the significant correlates of salience with other variables controlled. Finally, we examine frequency with which respondents assign high salience to only one tradition (exclusivity) or multiple traditions (nonexclusivity), again investigating subgroup variations. This first detailed, statistical portrait of American Indian religious and spiritual lives links work on tribal ethnic identity to theoretical work on America's “religious marketplace.” Results may also inform social/behavioral interventions that incorporate religiospiritual elements.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2009.01461.x

Affiliations: 1: Boston College and Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado Denver 2: Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado Denver 3: Center for Applied Social Research at the University of Oklahoma 4: Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the University of Colorado Denver and the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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