Encounters of the Spirit: Native Americans and European by Richard W. Pointer

By Richard W. Pointer

Historians have lengthy been conscious that the stumble upon with Europeans affected all elements of local American existence. yet have been Indians the single ones replaced through those cross-cultural conferences? may possibly the novices' methods, together with their spiritual ideals and practices, have additionally been altered amid their myriad contacts with local peoples? In Encounters of the Spirit, Richard W. Pointer takes up those interesting questions in an leading edge learn of the non secular stumble upon among Indians and Euro-Americans in early the USA. Exploring a sequence of episodes throughout the 3 centuries of the colonial period and stretching from New Spain to New France and the English settlements, he unearths that the circulation of cultural impression was once extra usually reciprocal than unidirectional. (2008)

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For too long, that simple but profound reality has escaped our accounts of what transpired in early America, especially when the discussion has turned to early American religion. Redressing that oversight or omission, at least to the extent of enticing other scholars and the general public to be alert to the important roles played by Native Americans and to the reciprocal nature of religious exchange, is the hope of this project. If it succeeds, then in my view that will be one small step toward affording all those who were a part of the encounters of the spirit in early America their proper due.

60 Such was the splendor of some, though certainly not all, of Mexico’s new places of worship. THE SOUNDS OF WORSHIP 29 Why were members of mendicant orders so eager to build churches and convents whose look and feel seemingly stood at odds with their own vows of poverty? Was it simply a matter of spiritual pride and oneupsmanship among competing religious orders? 61 While all of those factors may have played some role, the friars themselves claimed that the luxurious decorations were warranted because such accoutrements were an effective tool of evangelism.

30 Adult cantors and instrumentalists often filled multiple church positions and with the fiscales exercised important religious and social leadership. According to one recent assessment, they ‘‘prepared the dying for confession or death; helped them write their wills; administered baptism in the absence of the priest . . taught catechism and announced the feast days . . ’’31 Just how ubiquitous Nahuatl musicians and music making became in New Spain’s churches may be gauged from statistics provided by music historian Robert Stevenson.

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