Pagan to Primitive: Necromancy, Colonization, and the Haudenosaunee
Demchak, Stephen J.
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines the early foundations of the Western European Christian doctrine that manipulated perceptions of the Indigenous people of the New World as “pagans,” “heathens,” and “savages” for centuries to come. Based on Christian prejudices, this Eurocentric schema became foundational to colonizing the New World and to the formation of the United States. Many of the primary Western religious theoretical arguments can be found in the Bible however, many theologians, philosophers and emperors would amalgamate decrees over the centuries to validate their authorization of the enslavement and genocide of non-Christians in European quests for land and wealth. The anti-pagan, witchcraft religious decrees and literature are well entrenched in Western European history and these doctrines promoted severe consequences for non-believers of the Christian faith. Because of the centuries old Christian dogmas the established colonies and later their inheritors that would create the colonial governments who devised their laws against Indigenous people based on these statutes. These anti-pagan, witchcraft proclamations served as the origins of Eurocentric colonization theories like, divine right, eminent domain, terra nullius, natural selection, heteropatriarchy and later American exceptionalism. To balance this dissertation, a focus on the Haudenosaunee Creation Story, The Great Law, and the Gaíwíío, helps us to understand the philosophy of having a “good mind.” Presenting this will enable people to understand that Indigenous/ Haudenosaunee spirituality is not primitive- pagan idolatry, but that it is just as powerful and spiritual as Christianity.