Teaching Spirits offers a thematic approach to Native American religious traditions. Within the great multiplicity of Native American cultures, Joseph Epes Brown has perceived certain common themes that resonate within many Native traditions. He demonstrates how themes within native traditions connect with each other while upholding the integrity of individual traditions. Brown and Cousins illustrate these themes with in-depth explorations of specific native cultures including Lakota, Navajo, Apache, Koyukon, and Ojibwe. They also demonstrates how Native American spiritual values provide an alternative metaphysics that stands opposed to modern materialism. These values provide material for a serious rethinking of modern attitudes, which may help non-native peoples develop a more sensitive response to native concerns.
The late Joseph Epes Brown was a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Montana. A renowned author in the fields of Native American Traditions and World Religions, Brown was one of the founders of Native American Studies and was largely responsible for bringing the study of Native American religious traditions into American higher education. His publications include The Sacred Pipe (1953), Animals of the Soul (1992), and The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian (1982). Emily Cousins, a writer and editor, received a degree in Religious Studies and Art History from Harvard University. She coedited the new edition of Brown's Animals of the Soul and the forthcoming Honor Song, an anthology compiled in honor of Brown's work.
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