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God Is Red: A Native View of Religion

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,179 ratings  ·  88 reviews
First published in 1972, God Is Red remains the seminal work on Native religious views, asking new questions about our species and our ultimate fate. Celebrating three decades in publication with a special 30th anniversary edition, this classic work reminds us to learn "that we are a part of nature, not a transcendent species with no repsponsibilities to the natural world. ...more
Paperback, 30th Anniversary Edition, 325 pages
Published September 9th 2003 by Fulcrum Publishing (first published 1972)
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Michaela Wood
I really was amazed with the things Vine Deloria Jr. can tell you that you never thought to ask. His writing is a strong call to the kind of self-analysis that helps white Americans to grow up, examine their values, and shamed-faced ask the questions that have never occurred to them before. I feel like I could listen to these thoughts for the rest of my life on loop and only be the better for it.
Oh dear... I agree with the overall thrust of this book, but the "scholarship", such as it is, to back up the claims is at best shallow and at worst absurd. Deloria combines a disdainful and incredibly superficial "analysis" of Christianity, compressing 2,000 years of human religious thought into a handful of shameful or embarrassing anecdotes, with a rosy and almost equally superficial "analysis" of Native religion. He confuses concepts, refuses to define his terms, and resorts to outlandish fa ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Katherine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in native american issues, indigenous people, religion, the environment
I put this on the back burner, as it's not exactly "read for 10 minutes before bed" material, but it has given me many new things to think about. So far, his main point has been the difference between an emphasis on history and an emphasis on place. He argues that Native American religious belief is based on a strong connection to place, while many other belief systems emphasize history (especially Christianity, but he also mentions many other major religions). I'm pretty sure you could say the ...more
This is a dense book that deals with a lot of issues, and I'm not going to be able to cover them all here because I have limited space and my reviews are long enough anyway. So, I'm not going go into depth on Native American history leading up to the 1970s, the legal basis for depriving the Native Americans of their land (though see Conquest by Law for an in-depth treatment on that), the romanticization of long-dead Indians while ignoring modern Indians' struggle for justice, and so on. They are ...more
The view of religion presented in this book was unlike anything I have heard taught in school (or church). I started reading this book while taking a comparative religions class. I wish I would finished it before the class ended; it would have given me much more to discuss. For instance, in class we learned about the evolution of religion, and how religions naturally go through several stages, ending in a monotheistic savior-God style of religion... hmm. Deloria attacks this type of thinking and ...more
An important book, especially for anyone who likes to rock-climb or got four-wheeling. Deloria is perhaps what today we call a religious extremist, but his university educated mind channels the point of view sorely lacking in today's discourse in religious tolerance: that of Native peoples. In a world where we are told that we need to listen to the shrill, self-serving tripe of "Creationists" demanding that we teach "Intelligent Design", this book presents, what may be fundamentally similar view ...more
Deloria gives a thorough, and often humourous, attack on American Christianity. In short, it has failed to save humanity, but has actually contributed to deep flaws within contemporary life. Many of Christianity's basis assumptions are suspect. His analysis of the problem -- separation from the land. Whereas Christianity may have made sense in a Near Eastern landscape, it has escaped its land and its ethnicity.

In response Deloria offers the spiritual practices of Native American religion, which
Deloria makes some really brilliant, succinct points about Native American religion, Christianity, and the Western world. At the same time, his thought process seems to be scattered with his writing being at times too abstract and wandering to be easily followed. At the same time, he tries to cover so many topics that I never felt as though anything (except the points I will mention in the next paragraph) was really explored in-depth. He is a very biased author, but then that is by his own admis ...more
Byrd Alyssa
Appreciate the alternative perspective Vine Deloria presents in this important work. God is Red is fresh as ocean air, laden with honest introspection uncommon in books treading religion. Deloria encourages critical dialogue with thought provoking alternative theories to many timely religious topics and debates which are more relevant today than ever. Christianity is a core topic throughout this work and Deloria encourages even the most devout to reflect unsparingly at the historical context in ...more
Sarah Beaudoin
I wish I had read the first edition of this book, instead of the revised 30th anniversary edition. I picked this book up because it is known as one of the foremost books on Native American religion. However, it read much more as an criticism of Christianity, which is fine, except that was not the book I was hoping for. Because must of the commentary examining Christianity concerned recent events, I am curious if the earlier editions focus more on Native American religion.

I would not hesitate to
I really was expecting to hear the native view of God with stories from the various tribes. Instead it seemed to be an attack on Christian religions, and while I think there's a lot to be criticized about the way Christian religions are run, I could read that in any number of other books. I wanted a NATIVE view. I probably should have give this 1 star.
Kevin welter
Vine Deloria Jr. does for spirituality and responsibility to the earth and community with God is Red, what he did for history and perception of policies in Custer Died For Your Sins he sets it straight. He offers an interesting missing piece and alternative history for all that seek to find the truth.
Honestly, read allison's earlier review below. She said everything I would say, but more eloquently than I could.

While I feel this is an important subject, circular and flawed logic is not the best way to examine it.
Vine Deloria describes the state of religion in the United States as it pertains to both caucasian history and beliefs and native history and beliefs. He describes the way that the Christian religion has failed the earth and is now failing people and the ways in which tribal religions are better able to help people live good and fulfilling lives in harmony with each other and with the planet. Some highlights include: a rationalization of the 'ancient astronauts' theory, a log of how natives have ...more
Sep 16, 2008 Holly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Holly by: Dr. Sandra Lubarsky
Shelves: sus-601
Really solid book. Great reading and left me with much to think about.

Pretty intense book to read and then to watch THE SNOWBOWL EFFECT - a documentary about what's going on at the Snowbowl, a ski resort in the San Francisco Peaks just outside of Flagstaff. (Basically, Humphry's Peak is the central altar for the Hopi and a sacred place for 13 tribes in the Southwest. The Snowbowl wants to use reclaimed wastewater to make snow there for skiing. The wastewater is coming from businesses, the hospi
Gwendoline Van
Deloria compares and contrasts Christianity and Western religion to the indigenous religions of the Americas, culminating to and revolving around his primary revelation--Christianity is temporal and linear, whereas Native religion is grounded and spatial.

From this core divergence, entire worldviews and historical legacies emanate, including the ongoing friction between and assault from a hegemony that strips everything down to economy and money.

Written at a time when hardly anyone gave credenc
Don't fooled by the title. This book is only about the litagation the 652 federally recognized tribes have used to obtain the rights they deserve. Litagation that is still in the process in some cases. If you are a law student, Native American (American Indian) Studies Major, or highly political, you should read this book.
Jul 28, 2007 Janie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Native American Studies, Missiologists
This book really changed my missiology. Deloria's work (primarily this book and Custer Died for your Sins) allowed a look at my own white, western, Amer-European culture, especially as it related to how my own belief system is perceived by the oppressed.
Short review: Oftentimes fascinating explanation of Native American spirituality/culture, but compare-contrasts with Christianity frequently become unnecessarily snarky and condescending of "the other side." Half enthralling, half aggravating book.
Echoing a number of other reviewers:

-There's no defining of "native". Is he talking about American tribal groups, North American tribal groups, USA tribal groups, or all indigenous peoples in particular? These are all conflated at various times to suit his argument.

-A shameful belief in pseudo-science to explain why "all" religious practices contain stories about catastrophic natural events (ie. floods) and how these must have actually happened at one point.

-More than half the book is just an at
What a refreshing view! I'm going to reread this once I've finished because it has given me so many things to reflect upon.
If your theology could stand a review/renewal, try reading Deloria's GOD IS RED.
Loren Toddy
You just have to read it and engage every idea that is presented. You may agree or not agree with his writings but you have to admit that this is coming from a very intelligent place. Great book.
is it possible to experience the spiritual without mystery, without transcendence, without community? in this powerful book, Vine Deloria compares and contrasts Native American religious beliefs and practices with those of modern Christianity. his criticism of holier-than-thou hypocrisy is particularly sharp. he asks the question: is religion, as practiced in the mega-churches of the United States, making people better Christians, in the Sermon on the Mount sense of the word, or is it simply mak ...more
Purnacandra Sivarupa
This is a remarkable and important book. Much as Rajiv Malhotra, in his intellectually explosive Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism, more recently "turned the gaze" of Indian Dharmic thought back on its Western colonial and post-colonial-imperial accusers in order to bring to light great intellectual and ethical weaknesses in Western and Abrahamic thought and behavior, so does Vine Deloria in "God Is Red". Incisive, often funny, observations on both past and present app ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Shash rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Heartfelt, truthful, thought provoking and in Vine's glorious way..........frank
Dec 19, 2009 Lisa marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
God Is Red: A Native View of Religion by Vine Deloria Jr. (1994)
So conflicted about this book. The last few chapters present the clearest, most focused arguments, but man, getting there was a struggle! Deloria’s journey is long and winding—though he makes specific points along the way, they rarely address the “native view of religion.” I don’t mind the rants about Christianity’s violent past and possible detriment to the present and future, but I can find that in plenty of other places. Perhaps Deloria’s scope regardling the Native view is unrealistic: is a ...more
Mitch S
Where to start? The simple title and byline do little justice to this amazing report by Vine Deloria Jr. This read will take you on a journey through history from a native american perspective. It is full of clever insights, native cheekyness and profound observations. I lol'd in public quite a few times and I shook my head with shame for the human race. The book documents many atrocities and the christian "justifications" for genocide. You will feel heavy hearted many times and rethink what yo ...more
Patricia Mccrystal
With a voice both incredibly perceptive and characteristically bold, Deloria discusses the vast differences between Euro-American Christian paradigms and Indigenous modes of thought; examining the social, political, and environmental implications of the two diverging approaches to spirituality. Deloria explains how recognizing humanity’s interconnectedness with all living things promotes tolerance and respect across cultures, while universal dogmas historically breed violence and injustice.
Even in 1986, this was a hot revolutionary read among other UWGB students minoring in Indian-American Studies. My main memory of this book is the young 17-year-old freshman lass that gave it to me. We both had work-study jobs in the reference department at the Library Learning Center. This recent high school grad had the hottest nubile body, I could ever imagine even possible. She was a right-wing radical born-again Christian from Little Suamico. Just the sweetest girl you ever saw. Whenever she ...more
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Vine Victor Deloria, Jr. (March 26, 1933 – November 13, 2005) was an American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist. He was widely known for his book Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (1969), which helped generate national attention to Native American issues in the same year as the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement. From 1964–1967, he had served as executive director of the Nat ...more
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