The Conservative Fabric of Native American Culture

Sociology / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
An examination of the difference between the worldview of Native Americans, who generally treat the earth with respect, and the capitalist worldview of Protestant Europeans, who have a different view of this world.

“Worldview is one aspect of Native American society that contributes strongly to their conservatism; this contrasts Western society, which has what Weber describes as Protestant Calvinism. Weber argues that the doctrine of Calvinism provided cultural motivation for the rise of capitalism, and more generally, modernity, with its emphasis on change and process. This is contrary to the Native aspect of worldview, which contains hundreds of religions with different relations with the sacred. One aspect of Calvinism that fosters a strong tendency towards change, in contrast to the Native American heritage is the dualism between this-worldly and otherworldly orientations. Within Calvinism this earth is evil, tainted with sin and disease, the primary world is the other world, or heaven. This has enormous implications on the treatment of this earth, as Christians are given the task of transforming it into a more heaven like utopia. This is done through subjugation of raw materials, population of the world and conversion of its inhabitance to the Christian faith (Champagne, The Cultural and Institutional., p. 29). Also, since the other world, or heaven is the only sacred world, institutions on earth must always be in a process of change and improvement, adapting to the changing environment, and creating what Weber called, the “spirit of capitalism”, and the emergence of modernity.”


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