Bridging Bahá'í communities with Indigenous populations in Canada and the United States was not easy, and was especially fraught for native believers, who also confronted tensions of intercultural understanding and sometimes outright racism.
About: Drawing on interviews with Indigenous Bahá’ís from diverse backgrounds in Canada and the United States, this article explores efforts and experiences of intercultural Bahá’í community building dating from the 1960s through the early 1990s. At a time when colonial policies and attitudes remained ripe in North America at large, the Bahá’í Faith was a site of intercultural learning and exchange through which Indigenous and non-Indigenous adherents forged striking relationships of mutual respect. Building Bahá’í community in the decades considered here, however, was neither easy nor automatic and was especially fraught for Indigenous adherents, who also confronted tensions of intercultural communication and understanding and sometimes outright racism. Implementing unity in diversity is a gradual process that continues to be worked out in particular contexts over time. This process itself reveals the Bahá’í religion’s role as a rich space of intercultural contact and community building.