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A Seat at the Table: Huston Smith In Conversation with Native Americans on Religious Freedom Hardcover – December 6, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 253 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (December 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520244397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520244399
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In 1999, Smith, renowned authority on world religions, accompanied a delegation of Native American religious leaders to the World Parliament of Religions in Cape Town, South Africa. These delegates contended that understanding the world's religions was impossible without considering the indigenous religions of the New World, which had so often been overlooked. This book grew out of a documentary film of the sessions at the parliament called A Seat at the Table: Struggling for American Indian Religious Freedom. Smith interviewed Native American leaders ranging from the well-known (Vine Deloria Jr., Walter Echo-Hawk and Charlotte Black Elk) to the less widely recognized, such as Lenny Foster and Tonya Gonella Frichner. The remarkable conversations trace the common thread that Native Americans follow a spiritual path imbuing all their life, encompassing art, morality and literature. Topics include the fight for prisoners' rights, ceremonial rituals, the role of elders and the genius of oral traditions. Smith's interlocutors plead for a restoration of religious freedom so long repressed by an American government they believe is seeking to displace tribes from their lands and rob them of their tribal and spiritual identities. The interviews provide a fine introduction to Native American religions. (Nov.)
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From the Inside Flap

"A Seat At The Table is a valuable and insightful book about a too long overlooked topic - the right of Native American people to have their sacred sites and practices honored and protected. Let's hope it gets read far and wide, enough to bring about a real shift in policy and consciousness.”—Bonnie Raitt

"Phil Cousineau has created a fine companion book to accompany the important film he and Gary Rhine have made in defense of the religious traditions of Native Americans. [Native Americans] are recognized the world over as keepers of a vital piece of the Creator's original orders, and yet they are regarded as little more than squatters at home. This book features impressive interviews, beautiful illustrations, and gives a voice to the voiceless.”—Peter Coyote

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LuLu on July 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, I love Mr. Smith's style of sharing conversations instead of just giving facts and figures. I had no idea that Native Americans were not allowed to practice their faith or that they needed permits to go to their sacred mountains! What an eye opener this book was for me. The Native American culture of revering Mother Earth and all that dwells on it resonates with me and I'm so deeply saddened when I think what has happened in the past and what we are still doing to harm the Earth.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GBM on May 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
an utterly honest and open-minded book that describes clearly the point of view of the native American people, explains it and then validates it as equal with all other religions and cultural approaches to the world. It showed me that we would, in fact, be better off as human beings if we subscribed more to the native American point of view than we have to the values we are so ardently espousing in our behavior and our judgments. Truly, this takes us back to basics and to an old new way of being in the world.
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By Pammy on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an assigned book for my Native American Religions class. It has many interviews of Native Americans and discusses their view regarding various subjects. It's a very interesting read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in Native American cultural perspectives.
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