Native American Tradition and Religion

1308 words 6 pages
Due to the wide range of habitats in North America, different native religions evolved to match the needs and lifestyles of the individual tribe. Religious traditions of aboriginal peoples around the world tend to be heavily influenced by their methods of acquiring food, whether by hunting wild animals or by agriculture. Native American spirituality is no exception. Traditional Lakota spirituality is a form of religious belief that each thing, plant and animal has a spirit. The Native American spirituality has an inseparable connection between the spirituality and the culture. One cannot exist without the other.

The arrival of Europeans marked a major change on Native society and it's spirituality. Native Americans have been fighting to
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The most important public ceremony is the Sun Dance. The Sun Dance Lodge is constructed with a central sacred tree. Twenty-eight poles surround it in a circle and 28 roof-beams connect the central tree to the surrounding support poles. A buffalo-hide covering covers it all. The central tree is a ritually selected cottonwood tree that is brought to the site. The warriors would dance in the middle of the lodge believing that by suffering at the pole they took upon themselves much of the agony of their people. The Lakota also believe that both the flesh and the paint they use represents ignorance, and that dancing in such a way as to tear the skewers loose frees them from human darkness. The warriors would blow their special eagle bone whistles for hours on end until all the demands connected with the Sun Dance had been fulfilled and they greeted the sun of the final morning. Most of the Sun dancers were attached, at breast or back, by skewers or thongs to the top of the centre pole, and they danced and pulled until they tore themselves loose or were released by the Dance leader.
The Sun Dance amongst the Plains Natives is perceived as a replay of the original creation. It fulfilled many religious purposes: to give thanks to the Creator, to pray for the renewal of the people and earth, to promote health, etc. It also gave an opportunity for people to socialize and renew friendships with other


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