Native American Religions

30 Mar 2013 12:58 #100637 by J_Roz
Replied by J_Roz on topic Native American Religions
I had a really big explanation typed up last night and my husband came into my studio to ask me a question and I hit a wrong button and it got eaten so here is round two. ;D

Firstly I must not have described what I was trying to get at correctly so for that I am sorry. I also want to make it clear I’m not trying to be all high and mighty either. So I’m sorry if I have come off that way its not my intention at all.

Source is always important. Here is why. There are over five hundred fifty tribes of recognized Native Americans in the United States of America. (I’m sorry I cannot tell you how many are in Central and South America, I do not know, for this let’s just use the US) That’s 550 countries with their own governments, policies, treaties, cultures, customs, languages, foods, etc, all within the United States boundaries. It is not even remotely fair to lump them all into one little book.

Wendaline, you said “Couldn't a person easily offer a book suggestion based off the customs and tribes they're familiar with? If I had a good book about the Lakota I would share it...”

Sure, but again what are you looking for? Lakota? Okay cool, did you want a general history, or did you want something that includes the entire Sioux tribe? There are actually three branches, the Lakota, the Dakota, and the Nakota. So you want something about the Northern Plains or do you want something that also encompasses the Southern Plains because then you have to include the Cheyenne, the Osage, the Crow…

I have a very dear friend who is the Head Buffalo Woman of the Sioux Nation, she is an amazing elder and one that I love and respect deeply. She’s got some amazing stories to share including things like her participation in the Second Wounded Knee. That’s something that you just can’t get by reading a book. Her leader is Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th Generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe. I have sat with him, listened to his stories, met with him on sacred days, and ridden his horses. He is an amazing man. However if I compare them to my tribe the only thing we have culturally is that historically our tribes were at war. Oh that and we breathe air.

I have a couple other friends that I’ve met through college. One is a Hawaiian Native and her world is so much different than mine that again I can’t even compare it. Or another who is part of the most northern tribe of Inuit in Canada. We don’t tan deer hides the same or even enter a house the same way.
My tribe? Sure! Which area are you curious about? Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota? Did you want Fur Trade info, Marriage customs, General histories, stories, tribal politics, law, treaty violations, etc. These all vary by state/region. I speak pretty decent Ojibwe but if I talked to someone from the Canadian tribal groups we wouldn’t even sound the same because the dialect is so different that we couldn’t communicate.

Its not that I’m trying to be difficult but unless I know where you want to go I can no further point you to a direction in the sky, you also have to remember that history and most books are written by the winner. So most of the books out there (especially older books) are written by prejudiced white men with a different agenda. They wanted to make the Native American appear less than human, that’s why the US was so okay slaughtering them by the droves.

One must also remember that not everyone is proud or wants to be associated to be a Native American. Yes I have a tribal background but I’m also English, Irish, and Swedish. I also did not grow up on a reservation so I don’t have those experiences that I can talk about. Some reservations are in such abject poverty they are considered 3rd World Countries, right here in the US! Pine Ridge SD is a perfect example of this.

We also get a lot of pretenders that attempt to make money off of Native American Spirituality. Anyone remember a few years ago in Arizona with that jerk that was supposedly having “authentic Sweat Lodges” and packed something like 70 people into a tent and then boiled them to death? He killed over ten people and was claiming he was this amazing spiritual guru. I’m sorry but that’s bull, it also led to a lot of bans in Native America of white people attending ceremonies for fear that they would go to one, think they understand it and then try to pull the crap that idiot was doing.

We talk about it all the time in circles, we call it “Selling the Sacred”. Traditionally there is no price for wanting to be a student to learn, and what that man did was wrong, to the point of really polarizing a lot of people. We don’t have licensed leaders who have to take tests and such to show how much they know because if you have lived in that culture your whole life and walked the red road you have been trained all those years. You know what to do.

It’s just not that easy of saying recommend a good book. It doesn’t work that way.

Please forgive me if I seem presumptuous or arrogant because that is not my intention, but to educate and help guide those who want to know more.

May the Force Be with you Always,

"O Great Spirit, Help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak, and to remember the peace that may be found in silence"

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Book: 'Cause how you get there is the worthier part.
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30 Mar 2013 16:09 #100655 by Wendaline
Replied by Wendaline on topic Native American Religions
Wow, you just think more in depth than what I was expecting.

The author wanted a book about religious practice. And my comment about the Lakota was not a question about them (they're the family tribe) but a comment that if I had a book about the Souix or Lakota I would just pass it on.

I think many or most people get that any nation (NA or otherwise) is a very broad and information dense topic. But sometimes when people are starting out trying to collect knowledge (like religious practices) they might not have their questions as finely tuned as we might want them...and any book could be of help.

I mean, if I hadn't also grown up around Catholicism I wouldn't know specifics to ask about, like communion, Ash Wednesday, the pope, why they don't eat meat on fridays, or that there are actually quite a few branches of Catholics and that they don't all follow the same traditions.

I would just ask people if they could reccomend a good book on the subject.

But I understand that that may be hard for you. I just hope others might have some interesting reads. No one is putting all the responsibility on you.

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30 Mar 2013 16:57 #100667 by Jestor
Replied by Jestor on topic Native American Religions
Like a good overview, where once a particular aspect of Native American life caught interest, then a direction could be followed....

On walk-about...

Sith ain't Evil...
Jedi ain't Saints....

"Bake or bake not. There is no fry" - Sean Ching

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31 Mar 2013 18:46 #100796 by Twilightwalker
Replied by Twilightwalker on topic Native American Religions
Ok, first off I'm not anywhere close to knowing everything about any particular tribe. I do however have a strong pull towards the spiritual aspect of the Native American tribes. One thing I have found is that you'll NEVER know everything from a book as most tribes prefer to keep the sacred, well sacred.

Some of the books I have found that fit with some of the things I am interested in are as follows:

Walk in Balance by Sun bear, Crysalis Mulligan, Peter Nuffer and Wabun
Shamanic Experience by Kenneth Medows
Native American Hunting and Fighting Skills by Colin F. Taylor
The Medicine Wheel by Sun Bear and Wabun
Indian Medicine Power by Brad Steiger

Not sure which ones would be considered bunk and which ones would not. I have a few others I found that are on my Nook that aren't listed. There aren't any tribes close enough to where I'm at in Texas to actually make talking to one all that easy. That and none of the full blood's that I know would talk to much about some of the topics I'm interested in.

May the Force be with you and guide you.

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31 Mar 2013 22:54 #100823 by Shao Kyras
Replied by Shao Kyras on topic Native American Religions
Surprised my name hasn't been mentioned yet.

I follow some of the Cheyenne beliefs and know a fair bit about them ^^

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01 Apr 2013 16:48 #100956 by steamboat28
I think there are two ways of looking at this:

From an intellectual standpoint, I see Roz' opinion and agree with it wholeheartedly. There is so much more to every subject than just the 5 simple questions. You really do, to offer any truly helpful information, need specific questions to guide the process, because otherwise there is so much information to have to sort through.

At the same time, though, most people don't know what questions to ask, because in order to truly know that, you must know something about the subject in the first place. If someone came to me and said "I've never had tea, what should I try?" it would be useless for me to ask if they're seeking a green, a black, an oolong, or to explain the difference between a tea and a tisane, or to start up a discussion about rooribos. Instead, I should just put on a kettle and pull a teabag from the cupboard.

To be fair, those who know a topic the best are not always the best to introduce the topic, because it's very likely that we forget what it was like when we knew little about it ourselves, unless we have to teach it often. Perhaps this thread should work together to present rrhodes67 with just enough information that they can figure out what questions to ask for themselves, but not enough to overload them?
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02 Apr 2013 01:01 #101010 by J_Roz
Replied by J_Roz on topic Native American Religions
I never meant to alienate myself either so I apologize if I have offended anyone. I guess I was over eager to help and was trying to be more specific than you are looking for. I'm just very passionate and wanted to help.

My fault.

May the force be with you always

"O Great Spirit, Help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak, and to remember the peace that may be found in silence"

Kaylee: How come you don't care where you're going?
Book: 'Cause how you get there is the worthier part.
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04 Apr 2013 21:23 #101441 by rrhodes67
Replied by rrhodes67 on topic Native American Religions
Thanks everyone for the input. I'll gather it all mentally and perhaps have more questions. I think one of the questions touched on was what specifically I was interested in. I think some of it is for lack of a better term faith healing. My grandmother apparently was able to heal people by touching them. My mom always said it was a gift she'd been given through Native American blood, but I was never able to get her to teach me, maybe because I didn't share the bloodline, I'm not sure. But basically I'm just interested in it overall, not a tribe specific thing. The other area, and not sure how with a disability it would be possible is that of spirit quests, token animals and all that. I think it fits with the Jedi thing though.

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26 Oct 2014 19:41 #166635 by Dessel761
Replied by Dessel761 on topic Native American Religions
In case anyone is ever interested in Kanien'keha (Mohawk) or Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture, I am a Mohawk and therefore an Iroquois. I am more than happy to share my cultural background.

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26 Oct 2014 19:58 #166640 by Kitsu Tails
Replied by Kitsu Tails on topic Native American Religions

I am from Utah. And have met several Navajo's....sadly I was just a kid then and didn't know what the right questions were to ask when I did see them. I was too much in awe at the fact of seeing them than to care about culture lol :laugh:

Now that I am much older and a story writer I did have a few questions.

I am attempting to write a story about post apocalyptic/earth shattering/Rifts/Magic returning stuff. One of the characters was going to be a Navajo Skinwalker bad guy of sorts....not really bad....but...ya know...has his own selfish ideas about survival of the fittest :-p

Please do not take offense of these questions. I ask them because I got into a heatted debate with another writer who was quite....narrow Minded. She claimed to of lived on a reservation and new all about it...but I do not believe her. So...I am asking these for Clarifications.

* Are Navajo's Anti Social? As in they prefer to stay on their reservation and not interact with the outside world?

* How difficult is it for Navjo to get an education, rise up through college and get Master Dagree or two.

* Is it possible for a Navjo to be successful in education and still partipate in other hobbies?

* Would a Navjo travel from say Utah where his reservation is to a large place like New York?

* Are Skinwalkers able to be....Good Shamans of the earth? I always heard Skinwalkers were so frightening that the natives are fearful to even talk about them....but these other writers seemed to think good shamans could perform the same techniques as Skinwalkers (Despite all the lore and information on the web)

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