Wildlands Memorialization: Messianism Mapped

  • James W. Perkinson
Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)


Writing about Christianity at this particular juncture of history demands a certain focus. In a US landscape soaked in half a millennium of colonial bloodletting, whose conquering culture has yet merely to acknowledge, much less redress, that unrelenting violence, confession stands paramount. Recent work by native scholars, such as Shawnee/Lenape Steven Newcomb’s Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, has begun detailing the degree to which a fundamentally religious idea has anchored the entire project of Euro-conquest here (and indeed, around the globe). That idea is Christian in derivation, absolute in its effect, and foundational for the whole colonial edifice. Its essential presumption, conjured out of thin air, was the supremacy of Christianity to all native practice thereby designated and denigrated as “heathen.” Its explicit assertion was the legal claim of Euro-sovereignty wherever land might be “discovered” to be unclaimed by any other “Christian” power. And its clear consequence was ruthless takeover.


Indigenous Culture Ritual Practice Pastoral Nomad Settle Agriculture Native Practice 
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© James W. Perkinson 2013

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  • James W. Perkinson

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