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Upward, Not Sunwise : Resonant Rupture in Navajo Neo-Pentecostalism, Hardback Book

Upward, Not Sunwise : Resonant Rupture in Navajo Neo-Pentecostalism Hardback


Upward, Not Sunwise explores an influential and growing neo-Pentecostal movement among Native Americans characterized by evangelical Christian theology, charismatic "spirit-filled" worship, and decentralized Native control.

As in other global contexts, neo-Pentecostalism is spread by charismatic evangelists practicing faith healing at tent revivals.In North America, this movement has become especially popular among the Dine (Navajo), where the Oodlani ("Believers") movement now numbers nearly sixty thousand members.

Participants in this movement value their Navajo cultural identity yet maintain a profound religious conviction that the beliefs of their ancestors are tools of the devil. Kimberly Jenkins Marshall has been researching the Oodlani movement since 2006 and presents the first book-length study of Navajo neo-Pentecostalism.

Key to the popularity of this movement is what the author calls "resonant rupture," or the way the apparent continuity of expressive forms holds appeal for Navajos, while believers simultaneously deny the continuity of these forms at the level of meaning.

Although the music, dance, and poetic language at Oodlani tent revivals is identifiably Navajo, Oodlani carefully re-inscribe their country gospel music, dancing in the spirit, use of the Navajo language, and materials of faith healing as transformationally new and different.

Marshall explores these and other nuances of Navajo neo-Pentecostal practices by examining how Oodlani perform their faith under the big white tents scattered across the Navajo Nation.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 270 pages, 18 illustrations, 2 maps, 2 tables, index
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Social & cultural history
  • ISBN: 9780803269767

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