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Opinion
Tim Giago: Indians never forced religion on others


"News commentator Bill O’Reilly says that 85 percent of Americans are Christians and therefore majority rules. There was a time not so long ago when the American Indian was in the majority. The difference was that the Indian people did not try to force their religious beliefs upon the new comers. The immigrants from Europe believed that since the Indians were not Christians, they were therefore heathens to be converted to Christianity.

As the new settlers grew in numbers that soon overwhelmed the indigenous population, they not only forced their religion upon the Indians, they outlawed the religious practices of the indigenous people. Shaman and holy men were oftentimes imprisoned and more often than not, executed.

I attended a Catholic Indian mission on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. We did not have a choice of whether we could study Darwin’s theory of evolution or the creationism theory of the Holy Bible. We were indoctrinated into the creationism theory without question."

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: Notes from Indian Country (The Native American Times 11/14)

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