Native American Spirituality
It isn't hard to see the depth of native American spirituality just by looking at their handmade craft works. Native American spirituality includes a strong reverence for animal life, the environment, and each other.
Native American spirituality is not the same as the religion of most people. Organized religious meetings are not a part of native American spirituality. History shows that originally, native American spirituality was more of a way of daily life.
One thing that is very perplexing about native American spirituality is that the reverential use of tobacco has been devastating to the Caucasian race. Just as perplexing is the fact that alcohol consumption, even though not used in native American spirituality and stemming from the white man, has caused just as much havoc on native Americans.
Native American spirituality is not the same for every tribe. Native American spirituality includes rituals that represent hunting and growing of earth’s produce, which was such a prevalent way of life for native Americans. History shows that native American spirituality included many ceremonies and rituals that were practiced before, and even after hunting expeditions. It was thought that native American spirituality in this way would insure continued success in hunting.
History shows that in general, the white man viewed native American spirituality to be nothing more than a bunch of superstitions and old wife tales. Tribal leaders who practiced native American spirituality were sometimes subjected to a jail term of thirty years. The United States and Canadian governments forcibly tried to change the way native American spirituality was practiced by converting them to their so called suitable religions.
History also shows that certain tribes had leaders called Shaman, who were responsible for overseeing native American spirituality. History shows that native American spirituality held that spirits entered the Shaman’s body during ceremonies, and by beating drums and chanting, the process would be more successful. Native American spirituality caused the tribes to believe that the Shaman could tell why a hunting expedition did not turn out successfully, or why sicknesses affected some in the camp.
Native American spirituality commonly employed beliefs that spirit creatures controlled the weather, hence the reason for the rain dance and other similar rituals.
History shows that part of some native American spirituality held that animals were originally humans, and they share the same ancestors. Several differing beliefs exist in native American spirituality about life after death.
At reaching the age of puberty, young boys traveled outside the camp into the wilderness, where they could receive a vision of native American spirituality that would guide them as they finished reaching adulthood, and continuing on throughout life. Females did not go through this type of native American spirituality.
The part of native American spirituality that was called the Sun dance was a religious ritual to pray for continual life, that of humans and the earth’s bounty. The Sun dance also brought good health, friendship with other tribes, and thanked the Creator who oversaw native American spirituality.
The main feature of native American spirituality, no matter which tribe is the relationship of man with the land.
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