QUESTIONS What relevance does Native American religion have as long as today What are

QUESTIONS What relevance does Native American religion have as long as today What are

QUESTIONS What relevance does Native American religion have as long as today What are

Phillips, Bonnie, Executive Producer has reference to this Academic Journal, PHwiki organized this Journal QUESTIONS What relevance does Native American religion have as long as today What are some elements of Native American religion would interest “New Age” religion in addition to spiritual people What are some common parts of Native American religion Difficult to define because they are so diverse (hunting-gathering societies to agricultural societies, small nomadic b in addition to s to towns, cities, in addition to empires, in every section of America) Estimated that there may have been as many as 2,000 different Native American cultures in North America Must make generalizations based on certain shared religious characteristics seen across Native American tribes

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First people came to Americas 15,000 to 20,000 years ago (some Natives believe their ancestors were created in Americas) 20,000 years of Native Americans in Americas In as long as mation only available from last 400 years Most sources were from Christian missionaries in addition to explorers Difficult to underst in addition to how much Native American religion has been influenced by contact with Europeans All nature is alive with spirits Spirits take the as long as ms of animals, plants, in addition to appear in visions Guardian spirits Spirits of the dead who live in the L in addition to of the Dead Mother Earth – she provides the bounty of the Earth Lightening in addition to thunder – individual deities The Supreme Being or High God Separate from the concerns of Earth People pray to the nature spirits or ancestors as long as matters of daily life The High God is appealed to only rarely in addition to is seldom mentioned in religious conversation

Some Native Americans believe the High God is a divine or sacred power similar to the Tao. Dakota Sioux believe in Wakan Tanka or “The Great Mysterious” Creative as long as ce found in all beings in addition to spirits Any object or being that has influence over the course of life is seen as a manifestation of this divine power

An animist is someone who believes that the trees, rocks, rivers, plants, in addition to animals are spiritually alive. Spirits in nature have the ability to help or harm. Animists offer some as long as m of worship to these spirits. Native Americans are thus animists in a sense. If the Supreme Being lives in addition to manifests itself in all creation, nature should be respected in addition to cared as long as . In general, a different view than white European settlers, who viewed nature as something to be exploited. White Europeans were willing to sacrifice the beauty in addition to life of the l in addition to to build a technology that would make life more com as long as table in addition to pleasant. Native Americans had a reverent attitude toward nature in addition to sought to live in harmony with it. Important to Native Americans; both a practical in addition to religious experience Native American hunters often prayed to the spirit of the animal be as long as e the hunt. Only those animals absolutely needed were killed Hunters asked as long as as long as giveness from the animal Every part of the animal was used Euro-American hunters slaughtered herds, took hides in addition to tongues leaving the bulk of the animal to rot.

Native Americans revere the soil, plants, in addition to trees The soil is personified as Mother Earth. Plants are thought to have spirits. For many Native American people, farming is a religious activity. Hopi of the Southwest continue to farm as long as corn, even when the bulk of their food comes from “modern” sources Even gathering clay to make pottery is done with an underst in addition to ing of the life in the soil. The Papago women of southern Arizona speak of the clay they dig as long as pots: “I take only what I need. It is to cook as long as my children.” Cutting down a tree is not done without making an offering to the tree first Trees are sacred in addition to have feelings that must be respected

Native American people tend not to see the universe as being under the control of an all powerful God Interested in day-to-day life among multiple spirits Native Americans seek to maintain good relationships with spiritual beings ( as long as ests, streams, in addition to animals, among others) that share the world with humans. Most world religions practice some as long as m of sacrifice to please deities Animals, grain, wine, beer, in addition to human blood sacrifice have been offered by different religions Such sacrifices were rare among the native peoples of the United States in addition to Canada Human sacrifice was used by natives of Central in addition to South America (Maya of Guatemala, Aztecs of Central Mexico, Inca of Peru, in addition to communities of American Southwest). Sacrifice is used to help human obtain assistance from spiritual beings Some rituals such as the Sun Dance of the Great Plains Native Americans involve self-torment or sacrifice This is seen as a way of obtaining the spiritual power necessary as long as human survival Medicinal bundles made from animal hides, bones, plants, in addition to minerals are other sources of spiritual power. Medicinal bundles are greatly valued by Native Americans.

One way that Native Americans protect themselves from possible danger from the spirit world is through taboos. Taboos are actions, circumstances, persons, objects, etc., which owing to their dangerousness fall outside the normal everyday categories of existence. Taboo is a kind of religious action that enables people to avoid doing things that would offend the spirits of nature in addition to the ancestors. TABOO: INTERACTING WITH MENSTRUATING WOMEN Women participate in child production in addition to thus have special powers Menstruating women are seen as especially powerful Interacting with or even being looked at by a menstruating women could ruin a hunter’s abilities as long as life; even weapons could be rendered useless; wild game could be driven away Menstruating women were often kept separate

TABOO: AVOIDANCE OF THE DEAD Native Americans feared that the spirit of the dead would remain as long as a time in addition to attempt to take family in addition to friends with it. Native Americans avoid the dead except in cases of extreme emergency. Among the Navaho in addition to other tribes of Arizona in addition to New Mexico, dead bodies, their clothing in addition to belongings are greatly feared. They are reluctant to touch the bodies of victims of automobile in addition to other accidents. Care of the dead is often left to non-native people CONCERN ABOUT FINAL RESTING PLACE Steps taken to keep bodies away from contact with the human world Sometimes, names of dead are not spoken as long as many years after their deaths Dead buried by special members of tribe not immediate family These people were ritually unclean as long as a time in addition to unable to partake of tribal meals CONTROVERSY NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY REGARDING THE DEAD Archaeologists in addition to scientists often study human remains to learn about the diets in addition to health of prehistoric people Native Americans are troubled by what they see as a disrespect as long as the dead They have fought as long as the return in addition to reburial of the remains discovered by archaeologists

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CEREMONIES AND RITUALS Native Americans sought to control the as long as ces of the spiritual world with ceremonies The purpose of ceremonies, rituals, songs, in addition to dances is not necessarily to worship They are a means of renewing the partnership between humans in addition to the spirit world Ceremonies in addition to rituals include dancing, singing, fasting, ordeals, bathing, in addition to observing taboos. DANCE: A POPULAR RITUAL The entire community participates Used to prepare as long as a hunt, agricultural season, or as long as celebration; they were also used in the preparation as long as war Used as a rite of passage Dance is accompanied by the beating of drums, singing of songs, shaking of rattles, in addition to playing of flutes DANCE: CONTACT WITH THE SPIRIT WORLD Rhythms can be simple or complex Several people banging on a log to complex rhythms played on animal skin drums Verses could be simple in addition to repetitive or tell detailed stories of creation or heroes of the past Hours of song in addition to steady rhythm are hypnotic Long hours of dancing in this atmosphere prepares the participants to interact with the spirits

RITUALS FOR HUNTING Animals were important to Native Americans as long as food in addition to raw materials (hides as long as warmth, bones as long as tools in addition to weapons) Rituals prepared hunters as long as their work Hunting could be unpredictable; one season their would be an abundance of game in addition to the weapons could be very accurate; another season game could be scarce in addition to weapons ineffective Spirits of animals in addition to the hunters in addition to weapons themselves had to be properly prepared PUEBLO HUNTING RITUAL Pueblo ritual of the southwest Men dressed as deer in addition to crawled around to the beat of a drum in addition to the singing of songs Hunters acted as if they were killing them in addition to the animal actors as if they were dying Sympathetic or imitative magic – persons imitating the game animals in the ceremony were symbolically called as long as th in addition to killed in the belief that this would occur during the real hunt THE VISION QUEST To gain special power in life, Native Americans often seek visions that put them in contact with the spirit world Visions sought by young people at the time of puberty One day they go alone into the wilderness to live alone until a vision is received The young person lives without food, limited water, in addition to with hardly any possessions Done to appear poor in addition to humble be as long as e the spirits

SUN DANCE Practiced Native Americans of the Great Plains Dance takes place during the summer, on the solstice when the sun is near its peak; lasts usually three days in addition to nights. Dancers seek a vision Gather in a lodge especially built as long as the purpose Sacred pole in the center of the lodge cut from a tree chosen as long as this sacred purpose People may be hung from the pole by hooks through pectoral muscles in order to contact the spirits Contact with the spirit world as long as too long can be dangerous, so they fight to free themselves from the hooks quickly. SMOKING Natives smoked strong tobacco (Nicotina rustica plant) from long, decorative pipes (works of art, valued possessions that could be traded) Most people cannot take more than six puffs from the pipe without feeling almost intoxicated (not like mass-produced tobacco grown today) Native Americans (men mostly) did it occasionally to enhance bonding between tribal leaders, agreements among tribal members Not smoked as a habit PEYOTE Spineless cactus that grows in American Southwest in addition to Mexico Natives of Central America in addition to Southwest ate it to have visions Peyote has 9 narcotic alkaloids including mescaline (which is used to make acid) Most states have drug regulations banning mescaline Federal courts have upheld the state laws Native Americans continue to appeal to federal courts including the Supreme Court as they feel that their religious freedoms under the Bill of Rights are being abridged. Why is this a significant issue

Phillips, Bonnie Executive Producer

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