NATIVE American

Atheism among the Pit River People

Jaime de Angula, speaking about the Pit River people of Northern California in the 1920s, describes their ways of experiencing the world and its mysteries:

... the reader will ask, if they have no religious ceremonies, no priesthood, no ritual of any kind, and not the slightest approach to any conception of [god] how can one speak of their having spiritual or religious values? ... I must answer that ... the life of these Indians is nothing but a continuous religious experience .. To them, the essence of religion is ... the 'spirit of wonder' ... the recognition of life as power, as a mysterious, [ever present] concentrated form of non-material energy, of something loose about the world and contained in a more or less condensed degree by every every object -- that is the [way] of the Pit River Indians.

(de Angulo, 1926:354) "Background of Religious Feeling," American Anthropogist, Vol. 28, No. 2 (April-June) 1926, in
Chapter 1, "Seeking Life: Definitions of Religion and the Sacred", _The Sacred: ways of knowledge, sources of life_, Peggy V. Beck, Anna Lee Walters (Navajo Community College Press, Tsaile, Arizone 1992)

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