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  • Writer's pictureGregory Shushan

Near-Death Experience and Native American Cultural Revitalization (Indigenous Peoples' Day)

Can NDEs be a source of political action and religious-cultural revitalization?

There are many examples of NDEs inspiring movements that assert indigenous rights, in direct reaction to colonization and the threat of cultural dominance. This article - free to download in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day - explores such cases in Native American cultures, though examples are also known from indigenous South America, the Pacific, and elsewhere.

The Sun told me I would be restored to life”: Native American Near-Death Experiences, Shamanism, and Religious Revitalization Movements. Journal of Near-Death Studies vol. 34 no. 3 (Spring 2016), p. 127-150.

The image is by a Kiowa prophet named Bi’anki, and it depicts the otherworld as seen during his own NDE. The figures on horseback are friends and relatives he had known in life, and behind them is the spirit village and its Ghost Dance circle (from James Mooney (1896). The Ghost-Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office).

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