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God Is Red: A Native View of Religion

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,571 ratings  ·  124 reviews
First published in 1972, Vine Deloria Jr.'s 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 responsibilities to ...more
Paperback, 30th Anniversary Edition, 325 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Fulcrum Publishing (first published 1972)
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4.09  · 
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 ·  1,571 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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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
Michaela Wood
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: native-american
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
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: native-people
This scholarly work by Vine Deloria, Jr. is a difficult read. You must really have a desire to learn Native American history accurately, and Vine Deloria is the right person for this endeavor as he was a Native American author, theologian, historian, and activist. I can imagine that this book is being used in colleges in their Native American classes, and I believe I would have preferred to have studied this with a professor than to have read it on my own, as I would have learned so much more th ...more
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
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
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
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
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sarah Beaudoin
Oct 18, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Kevin welter
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Dec 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Richard Reese
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
God is Red fascinated me. Vine Deloria Jr. (1933–2006) was a Yankton Sioux activist. His great-grandfather was a medicine man. His grandfather was a chief who became a priest. His father rose to an executive position in the Episcopal Church. Deloria graduated from a seminary, but chose not to become a minister, because of his father’s frustrations. He sought a path that could be of greater benefit to Native American people.

There are three editions of God is Red (1973, 1992, 2003), spanning a tu
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Finally finished (skimmed through the last 100 pages), not as impressed as I thought I would be. Some of the sentiments, of course, were beautiful and real, and I appreciate this book for saying all of that. But there were elements that were so far above my head I felt on a completely different level, and there were also elements so over-simplified I felt more intelligent than the target audience. I think this is why I don't read nonfiction very often.

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
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: franklin-library
Angry and polemical. Deloria has some painfully valid points, but he throws the baby out with the bath water along with the tub, shampoo and shower curtain. In relegating all but native religion to a nightmarish Oral Roberts/Jerry Falwell bogeyman of conservative evangelicalism, he damns his own thesis which, ostensibly, calls for respect and mutual flexibility. I don't deny the horrors that American Christianity has brought upon the First Peoples, but I do resent Deloria's assumption that Chris ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Nov 23, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
God Is Red: A Native View of Religion by Vine Deloria Jr. (1994)
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Heartfelt, truthful, thought provoking and in Vine's glorious way..........frank
Jul 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: native
I was so disappointed with this novel. What I had hoped was a thorough perspective of Native American religion was more of a political platform for the author.
Loren Toddy
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Rachel Jackson
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
"No one who reads Vine Deloria Jr.'s books remains neutral."

These are the words written in the foreword to the 30th anniversary edition of God is Red, and immediately I knew I was in for a wild ride. Prior to reading God is Red I had read Deloria's Custer Died For Your Sins, which was a monumental book that opened my eyes and blew my mind. Deloria's straightforward analysis and assault of American institutions in that book, referencing historical and cultural genocide and blatant racist treatmen
Victoria Haf
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Este libro trae ideas bien interesantes, mi favorita es cuando compara el pensamiento occidental cristiano con un pensamiento basado en el tiempo (en la historia) y el pensamiento nativo americano que está basado sobre el espacio (la geografía). Es un cambio de paradigma gigante y creo, muy importante.
Otra son las tres cosas básicas que debe abarcar una religión: tierra, etnicidad y salud, o sea la geografía que se habita, la comunidad y las personas que saben curar. Justo hace unos días me hice
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Vine Victor Deloria, Jr. 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 National Congress of American Indians, i ...more