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Mother Earth: The Near Impossibility of a Public

Mother Earth: The Near Impossibility of a Public

(p.121) 5 Mother Earth: The Near Impossibility of a Public
Who Owns Religion?
Laurie L. Patton
University of Chicago Press

This chapter reviews the controversies of the 1980s and 1990s. It talks about Sam Gill who wrote a book called Mother Earth: An American Story in 1987. Gill argues that the basic idea of Mother Earth is an idea and an adept use of metaphor that the Native Americans had to employ in their negotiations with the US government, but never an actual goddess. Gill's argument is that the concept of Mother Earth was not originally or fully indigenous to Native American people. The chapter also describes Native American leaders, such as Russell Means, Ward Churchill, Deward Walker, Vine Deloria, and others that became activists against Gill during the 1990s that spoke at several Indian conferences and powwows throughout the country.

Keywords:   Sam Gill, Mother Earth, metaphor, Native American, US government, Indian conference, powwow

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