Let's Talk Native... with John Kane, #412: Worship in the Age of COVID-19!



Let's Talk Native... with John Kane, #412: Worship in the Age of COVID-19!


Let's Talk Native... with John Kane is a talk show that provides a forum for Native issues, both local and national. The show airs live from their studio on the Cattaraugus territory of the Seneca Nation in western New York. This episode of the podcast focuses on COVID-19 and worship. Kane discusses how COVID-19 closed churches, mosques, and synagogues. He asks several key questions throughout the podcast: Is "Longhouse" a religion? Must ceremonies continue during a pandemic? Does religion "require" group worship? Kane does not describe himself as big on religion, and he doesn't refer to his culture as being religious or particularly spiritual. He says even their festivals (ceremonies) are pragmatic. They are not about prayer or worship, but rather staying connected to their past and their present and making commitments to their future. Throughout the podcast, he grapples with the way their ceremonies and thanksgivings are now treated as religious, and the way Longhouses are treated like churches, and how this diverges from their traditional and historical use as spaces for celebrations and housing. He also argues that illness is a reason not to host ceremonies, festivals, or any large group events. The cultural celebrations are not worth risking their loved ones and communities. It's important to recognize that there are times to gather, and times where you can't.
Podcast that explicitly discusses worship in the time of COVID-19 from the perspective of a Native American. Covers a lot of real time global and US COVID updates - numbers, the curve, testing, etc. Interesting questions that consider: do we need to host celebrations that are social/cultural? Where are the lines between religion and culture? Interesting take that Native American culture has adapted some practices from other religions that have transformed into these ceremonies.

Date Created

March 24, 2020


Seneca Nation


New York


Cattaraugus Reservation






Religious Holidays
Race and Religion