Religiosity and spiritual engagement in two American Indian populations

Eva M. Garroutte, Janette Beals, Ellen M. Keane, Carol Kaufman, Paul Spicer, Jeff Henderson, Patricia N. Henderson, Christina M. Mitchell, Spero M. Manson, Cecelia K. Big Crow, Dedra Buchwald, Buck Chambers, Michelle L. Christensen, Denise A. Dillard, Karen DuBray, Paula A. Espinoza, Candace M. Fleming, Ann Wilson Frederick, Joseph Gone, Diana Gurley & 66 others

Publication Date: 09/15/2009

Social scientific investigation into the religiospiritual characteristics of American Indians rarely includes analysis of quantitative data. After reviewing information from ethnographic and autobiographical sources, we present analyses of data from a large, population-based sample of two tribes (n = 3,084). We examine salience of belief in three traditions: aboriginal, Christian, and Native American Church. We then investigate patterns in sociodemographic subgroups, determining the significant correlates of salience with other variables controlled. Finally, we examine frequency with which respondents assign high salience to only one tradition (exclusivity) or multiple traditions (nonexclusivity), again investigating subgroup variations. This first detailed, statistical portrait of American Indian religious and spiritual lives links work on tribal ethnic identity to theoretical work on America’s “religious marketplace.” Results may also inform social/behavioral interventions that incorporate religiospiritual elements.