Category:Working Within the Native American Tradition
From Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers
Traditional Native American religions exhibit a great deal of diversity, largely due to the relative isolation of the different tribes that were spread out across the entire breadth of the North American continent for thousands of years prior to invasion and colonization by primarily European forces. Given such a vast territory, it is only to be expected that there are vast differences of beliefs and practices between tribes. The systematic destruction of Native cultural institutions and infrastructures, and the partial or complete adoption of various forms of Christianity among Native people, has led to the current diverse tapestry that describes contemporary Native religious traditions
Native American spirituality is often characterized by panentheism, a strong emphasis on the importance of personal spirituality and its inter-connectivity with one's own daily life, and a deep connection between the natural and spiritual worlds. Many adherents to traditional American Indian ways do not see their spiritual beliefs and practices as a "religion"; rather, they see their whole culture and social structure as infused with spirituality.
Native American religions are often closely connected to the land in which Native Americans dwell, with special attention paid to the passage of the seasons and to sacred places. While there are many different Native American religious practice, most accept the existence of an omnipresent, invisible universal force, in addition to which there are various tribal pantheons of deities and spirits. Emphasis may also be given to personal visions, the role of the medicine person or shaman, and the institutions of communal ceremonies.
Contemporary Native American religions tend not to be institutionalized but rather experiential and personal and may include, in addition to the veneration of deities and spirits, acts of individual asceticism, for instance through sweat lodge ceremonies. Native American religions tend to be carried out mainly in a family or tribal location first and may involve a process, journey, or a relationship experienced between Creator and created. Religion is not separated from daily life, but conversations about theology may be limited, for, to many, simply to live and breathe is to worship, and a relationship with God is experienced as a relationship with all of creation which is ever present and does not require an institution or building.
In many Native cosmologies, all of creation has life. Rocks, trees, mountains, and everything that is visible lives and is part of creation and therefore has life which must be respected. God is known indirectly through an awareness of the relationships or links between various aspects of both the physical and supernatural realms. Spirituality of the Native Americans makes no distinction between these realms; the living and dead, visible and invisible, past and present, and heaven and earth.
- Religious Traditions
- Magical Traditions
- Divination, Fortune Telling, and Oracles
- Hoodoo, Conjure, Witchcraft, and Rootwork
- Working with Spirits