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Book: Indigenous Religious Traditions in Five Minutes

Chapter: 76. Did colonial missions destroy Indigenous religions?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.43191


European colonization in the Americas dramatically impacted pre-contact Indigenous lifeways. In their work of territorial dispossession, monarchs employed missionaries to either extirpate or convert Indigenous spaces, bodies, and customs. Extirpation campaigns set out to discover and destroy powerful objects as well as challenge the authority of Indigenous ritual leaders.

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