Native Americans religion and tradition

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  • Native Americans Religion and Tradition
    • Medicine Men had contact with the spiritual powers
      • medicine men had strength, courage and understanding of both the visible and invisible worlds
      • used to describe members of Native American tribes
        • who were important for their connection to the power of the spirits.
      • "Making medicine" meant to appeal to spirits via prayer, ritual or ceremony.
    • Native American religion was closely linked to Nature
      • believed humans are part of nature and not masters over it.
      • believed in a life-force called the Great Spirit which was present in nature
        • it was not a sentient (conscious) entity in the way that the god of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith is.
        • The Great Spirit could not be given human characteristics
      • For Native Americans, nature had a spiritual dimension
        • was therefore not just a set of commodities and resources for exploition
    • Oral History means no books
      • Native American oral history made their history seem less changeable than it really was
      • Oral history can be fragile
        • Native Americans had little immunity to the diseases settlers brought from Europe.
        • Terrible epidemics- including smallpox, influenze and typhus- killed off many of the old people
          • this meant many stories were lost with them
      • The Native Americans didn't have writing
        • important ideas and histories of the tribes were passed from generation to generation by telling stories
    • Circles and Animal spirits were important
      • Native American beliefs emphasised the interdependence of all things.
        • they saw all things as being connected
          • this meant circles were spiritually important to them.
      • Believed all things have spirits.
        • successful hunting relied on a sort of religious bargaining
          • this was carried out through rituals including dances, field craft and skill with the bow or riffle
      • believed even non-living things in nature like rocks and mountains had spirits
        • activities like mining could easily be believed to upset the spirits


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