Liberation Theologies in the United States: An Introduction

By Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas; Anthony B. Pinn | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Native Feminist Theology


Historical Backdrop

While liberation theologies rooted in diverse communities of color have proliferated, the development of Native liberation theology, particularly Native women’s theology, has been a slow process.1 Nonetheless, Native women’s perspectives on spirituality and social justice have much to contribute to the field of liberation theology.

There are a number of reasons for the reluctance of many Native religious scholars to embrace theology. First, theology’s generally traditional emphasis on proscribing proper doctrines and beliefs often runs counter to indigenous spiritual practices. Jace Weaver argues that theology is inconsonant with indigenous worldviews, which hold that systematic study of God is both presumptuous and impossible. “Traditional Native religions are integrated totally into daily activity,” Weaver argues. “They are ways of life and not sets of principles or creedal formulation…. Native ‘religion’ does not concern itself—does not try to know or explain—‘what happens in the other world.’”2

Vine Deloria Jr., whose work became the foundation for almost all Native scholars in the field of religion or theology, argues that even liberation theology is grounded on a western European epistemological framework that is no less oppressive to Native communities than is mainstream theology. “Liberation theology,” Deloria cynically contends, “was an absolute necessity if the establishment was going to continue to control the minds of minorities. If a person of a minority group had not invented it, the liberal establishment most certainly would have created it.”3 According to Deloria, Native liberation must be grounded in indigenous epistemologies—epistemologies that are inconsistent with western epistemologies, of which liberation theology is a part: “If we are then to talk seriously about the necessity of liberation, we are talking about the destruction of the whole complex of Western theories of knowledge and the construction of a new and more comprehensive synthesis of human knowledge and experience.”4 Even if we distinguish the “lib


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Liberation Theologies in the United States: An Introduction


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 246

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?