In this overview of encounters, we're attempting to find some interpretive themes that provide a portal or a way into Native American religions and ecology. These early encounters with Native American peoples were understood in the context of Christian worldviews. These encounters varied a great deal as held by Spanish, French, English, and Portuguese explorers, traders, and settlers. A first broad interpretive frame of the early encounter is evident in this old seal of the state of Massachusetts in which a native Algonquin person stands with a banner coming out of his mouth saying, "Come over and help us." You'll notice that the native person appears almost like the figure of Christ, the shepherd. We see that the Christian iconography carried over into native people and the Latin inscription on the outside surrounding this native person the sense of the Christian worldview, but the native is read as a human. This first interpretive pattern, the humanity of the encounter, but also the banner coming out of the mouth of the native person, "Come over and help us," suggest an inferior human who needs to be lifted up. The Puritan settlers of Massachusetts presented themselves as the ones helping native peoples namely as lifting them into civilization. This type of positioning of native peoples not only makes them inferior, it also erases the possibility for understanding native cultures and civilizations. This illustrates an example of encounter in which native people were considered fully human and capable of change but situated in a way that was lower. A second interpretive position and a theme that we can draw out is evident in this image that links all Indigenous people with the Garden of Eden. In the Christian biblical tradition, all peoples descended from Adam and Eve, thus when the settlers and colonialists encountered Native people, they immediately associated them with this garden and Edenic theme. Thus, the closeness to nature and the profundity of Indigenous life ways activated a mythic theme. It activated this mythic theme among Europeans in which they mapped the concept of the creator God of this Edenic site, and it's overlaid on native peoples. This continues in many interpretations of American Indians as romantic savages. This brings us to a reversal of the Edenic themes or a reversal of this theme appears in the third encounter and an interpretation of native peoples as under the sway of Satan. That is, if Indigenous peoples are understood as the offspring of Adam and Eve but they are not Christian, then the devil must have shaped them in the world in which they live. Thus, the demonic was mapped onto native peoples and American landscapes. This interpretation justified the colonial missionary drives to evangelize and redeem the heathen or pagan which we see in this slide here where the missionary is preaching to native people associated with the darkness of the natural world, the sense of this satanic presence. Also, this image of the warrior brings us to our next encounter, and it's bridging between the two, namely the sense of the savage warrior, but also a fourth image which we see specially different than the Edenic or satanic paradigm. This fourth interpretive pattern derives from Classical Greece. This is evident then in the paintings of John White which is pictured here who sought to portray in a classical style, the native peoples encounter by the Roanoke Island Colony which is now in North Carolina. Unlike the biblical image of the garden, we have here image of the site of native people in the sense of order. We'll consider this slide separately. But this moves beyond the garden image or the demonic image. This view opens the possibility of understanding that the cosmos or order also engage Native American thinkers. This particular painting here of John White, this ring dance painting, there is a conflation here of the demonic and classical readings in which ecstatic dancing suggests a loss of order in the tumult of natural presences. We see here the faces. It's somewhat difficult to see but if you look closer, there are faces on the poles, and these faces make present the spiritual presences in the natural world and placed on the poles. These echo then the Christian charges of paganism, of the worship of nature. Those charges echo even older biblical charges of Pantheism and Paganism. We see mapped onto native peoples here a confusing conflation at times of the classical sense of order and also an encounter with something which is radically new. But what these Western European perspectives largely miss is native perspectives on human society and the natural world. John White's paintings do provide possibility for seeing themes or shared family resemblances among native peoples that will resonate with later encounters and growing understandings of Native American religions and ecology. Let's go back and look again at the image of the flyer, one of John White's early painting. Here, the ecstatic dancer's classical embodiment is suddenly accentuated by an animal skin loincloth and with a bird adornment in his hair. This natural religiosity of the flyer attests to human ecology perspectives among Indigenous people. It seems to ask, what are the religious connections of native people to the natural world? Also, White's settlement image, and it's all seeing perspective, we stand outside of and above this settlement, and we look down into it. Almost suggestive of this imperialist or colonialists position of the superior, and it's all seeing perspective. But it's suggests that White saw social order and differentiated architecture among these Algonquin peoples, but what did he miss in his assessment of Indigenous social dimensions? For example, is there a communitarian ethics implied in this image with its circular structure and defensive stockade and the different functioning buildings and the centering ritual celebration? If so, how did this communitarian ethics bridge into the natural world from this community setting? How did the natural world influence human behavior in this setting? Finally, the importance of ritual in Native American religion and ecology obviously impressed outsiders from the very first encounters. If we consider the John White's ring dance again, themes emerge in this painting that resonate throughout the cultural difference among Native North American peoples. First, the emphasis here on dance is so strong and the presence of dancing in the presence of the sacred suggests a particular and ongoing role for religious embodiment. It brings us to the question, in what ways did the body and embodiment become vehicles for expressing the sacred in Native American religions? This will be a recurring question. For example in the middle of the ring dance scene, we see this intimacy of people joined together, hugging together. Is this a healing moment? Is this a transforming moment? We do not have a ethnographic description of the ring dance painting, but it's very suggestive of what we will encounter in Native American rituals as we go through this course. Also, we see the dancers with rattles and the presence and importance of percussive sound among native peoples. It brings us to the question in what ways do percussion and rhythm mark religious moods and transitions for native peoples? Is natural symbolism embedded in these instruments that mark somatic and sensual transitions into religious ecstasy. Finally, the poles themselves, the beginning of a structure and the faces carved into the polls, they make present the sacred as having qualities of personhood, a person with intention and will in the natural world. These poles and these faces, are they anthropocentric symbolism , human-centric symbolism, or is it misleading to reduce this Native American experience of the sacred as something human-like? Does this image suggest a relational symbolism in which humans understand themselves in something larger that shapes guides and orients them? These themes will be unpacked in this course. But let's conclude this opening discussion by briefly considering contemporary manifestations of these religious activities in environmental resistance. One particularly powerful example is that of the Lummi people of the Northwest coastal region in Washington State. We see then the Native American religions and ecology brought to this specific example of Blockadia by using Totem poles, again this symbolic presence. There's actually no easy transition from the early encounter period of Native American peoples with Europeans, centuries of conquest and resistance to that conquest, as well as broken treaties and cultural fragmentation, stand as testimony to that period. While we consider these issues in later lectures and discussions, we conclude with one example here in which several of the religious themes we have mentioned appear in a form of environmental resistance by the Lummi people of Washington state. In the summer of 2015, the Lummi people and environmental activists joined together and made a journey with this Totem pole made by the master carver, Jewell James, who was also a director of the Lummi Nations Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office. This 19 foot poll was taken on a journey to Wyoming and to other Western states, Idaho and Washington State, and it was used to focus attention in this three week journey to protest the efforts of oil and coal industries to build fossil fuel shipping terminals in coastal fishing territory long used by the Lummi people. This Totem pole had a particular blueprint in its early formative periods. Jewell James has shared that with us in which Mother Earth and the planning was to hold a child and four warriors in her skirt and the Snake underneath. But you can see, the pole was slightly changed and the child was replaced in the womb of Mother Earth, the four warriors in red are here, and the green snake, the Earth, supporting this whole sequence of the Earth life community. Here, we have on top, the ancestral life form with Turtle Island. All of North America that Mother Earth is holding up. Mother Earth, lifting a child. This symbolism lifts not only the child receiving teachings from the sky beings above but also the ancestors who were buried in this fetal position. The four warriors that the theme continues support the Earth and form her dress, all of these symbols then flow out of a snake, coiling up the poll and drawing attention to Earth's power in orienting reality. These ancient religious images ground this environmental resistance by Lummi peoples who joined with other Native American groups and alliances with environmental resistance to fossil fuel extraction and shipping. Here then is an introduction to Native American religion and ecology in which we see the convergence of ancient religious lifeways with concern for treaty rights and resistance to life threatening environmental projects.