Indigenous religions.

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Elmud
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 04:12 pm
I read a little on the religion of Nigeria once. Found it to be pretty interesting. I was always curious as to what the native Americans believed in. Sometimes we tend to think of the major religions only. But, there are a lot of religions that are indigenous. I'm gonna try to read a little on the religion of native Americans. I think that would be interesting. Maybe someone has other examples of indigenous religions. Curious as to how they evolved.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 04:21 pm
@Elmud,
How do they evolve?
 
Elmud
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:12 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:
How do they evolve?

Sorry. Come about or grow.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:13 pm
@Elmud,
both really start with come about?
 
Elmud
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:20 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:
both really start with come about?

Kind of interested in their origin.
 
Elmud
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 05:36 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:
both really start with come about?

Now, let me ask a question. Why are we talking about semantics when I was kind of interested in indigenous religions? How about this. The origin and development. Is that okay Caroline?
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 07:08 pm
@Elmud,
If you want to look into the spiritual beliefs of the Native Americans, you should begin with a good survey anthropology text of the North American Indian tribes. All of the tribes have their own idiosyncratic belief systems. Because their spiritual beliefs were tied into their daily lives directly, you pretty much have to understand the ways in which the different tribes lived (e.g. the ways the found food--agriculture, hunting, gathering fishing--societal structure, family structure, intertribal and intratribal relations).

In the North American Indian cultural anthropology course I took, we read This Land Was Theirs by Wendell H. Oswalt. It was a very good book, although dry and loaded with information, but looked into all of the major tribes of North America. It can easily be understood by anyone that is not necessarily an anthropology major so it isn't an overly technical read. I linked the edition of the book that we read in my class, which can be purchase used cheaply off of Amazon. I am sure the other previous seven editions are also good, and the newest 9th edition seems to fix some small organization gripes, but the histories of these tribes obviously changes very little.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 07:25 pm
@Elmud,
Elmud wrote:
Now, let me ask a question. Why are we talking about semantics when I was kind of interested in indigenous religions? How about this. The origin and development. Is that okay Caroline?

I dont know Elmud, why are we talking about semantics? I asked you how did they evolve in accordance to your last sentence 'curious how they evolve' which you went on to say 'come about or grow?' What has semanitcs got to do with the origins of indeginous tribes beliefs and how thier beliefs come about and grow? Who mentioned semantics?
 
Elmud
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 07:52 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:
I dont know Elmud, why are we talking about semantics? I asked you how did they evolve in accordance to your last sentence 'curious how they evolve' which you went on to say 'come about or grow?' What has semanitcs got to do with the origins of indeginous tribes beliefs and how thier beliefs come about and grow? Who mentioned semantics?

I'm so cornfused.lol. sorry.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 08:16 pm
@Elmud,
Apology accepted. How did this happen, did i misread your post?
 
Elmud
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 08:20 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:
Apology accepted. How did this happen, did i misread your post?

Doesn't matter. Perhaps I misunderstood. Have a good evening Ma'am.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 23 Mar, 2009 08:27 pm
@Elmud,
thank you sir and you to
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 10:29 pm
@Caroline,
I think the perspective of the original native americans is mostly lost in time. They were hunter-gatherers, which is a way of life so different from our own, that I think we can only try to imagine it. Life without a calendar, without the idea of home as we understand it, no written language, no words for abstractions like "numbers," no way to say "me" or "mine" but five different ways to say crow...

What we have is what's been passed down from the first encounters of Europeans with the different cultures in North America, but there is evidence that a massive disruption took place not long before this, possibly because of measles brought in by the Spanish.

I'm just saying... what's available to be studied is apt to be a fairly recent perspective with remnants of the old. But they were still human, so we must all have some way to identify with them. Some people say most native americans had a tribal shamanic type of religion like people in Central Asia.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 10:47 pm
@Elmud,
The Maya, Aztec, Inca, and other mesoamerican cultures had calendars, and the Maya had a written language. The Cherokee script doesn't really count because it's new. Calendars were not unknown in North American societies either. They also were not necessarily hunter gatherers, in fact the natives in Massachusetts showed the Pilgrims how to farm locally. The Anazazi grew and harvested pinyon nuts, a number of tribes grew maize, and a number of tribes in the Pacific Northwest were sedentary fishing communities...
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 10:55 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;106013 wrote:
I think the perspective of the original native americans is mostly lost in time. They were hunter-gatherers, which is a way of life so different from our own, that I think we can only try to imagine it. Life without a calendar, without the idea of home as we understand it, no written language, no words for abstractions like "numbers," no way to say "me" or "mine" but five different ways to say crow...

What we have is what's been passed down from the first encounters of Europeans with the different cultures in North America, but there is evidence that a massive disruption took place not long before this, possibly because of measles brought in by the Spanish.

I'm just saying... what's available to be studied is apt to be a fairly recent perspective with remnants of the old. But they were still human, so we must all have some way to identify with them. Some people say most native americans had a tribal shamanic type of religion like people in Central Asia.


I wouldn't say that they are lost, but rather skewed. If you would like to study some cultural anthropology of Native Americans of North America, check out the book I had posted earlier in the thread. You can get an old edition for about the cost of shipping, and it is an excellent, thorough text that remains easy to read--even if it is overflowing with information.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 27 Nov, 2009 09:28 am
@Theaetetus,
Yes, skewed. Isn't it true that translation tends to be lossy? There are competing translations of Confucius in the west... conflicting all the way down to understanding his fundamental message. And western and Chinese cultures are both post stone-age.

I was just saying that translating a stone-age culture's perspective might result in even more loss.

I'm guessing to even come close to being fluent in "stone-age" would require emersion in it.

I don't know much about the Mayan Calendar except what I learned from a guy who was on mescaline most of the time. So much to learn!

Maybe the answer to the original question of this thread is that indiginous spirituality originates the same way any spirituality does. Any culture has a certain number of "holy people" who stand apart from the rest of the group.
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 27 Nov, 2009 02:02 pm
@Elmud,
I would say they were immersed in and worshipped nature.
The Great Spirit and Mother Earth and all the lesser spirits of the animals.
Native Americans treated every day as a blessing and understood the interrelationships between living things and nature in a way modern culture separated from nature does not.
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 05:17 pm
@prothero,
hi elmud

Indigenous religions kind of implies original to the land. This can take many forms, but basically we are talking tribal or isolated civilisations.

As someone who is british and a pagan, then like many of my kind we see paganism as meaning indigenous and prior in particular to the roman invasion and christianity. The problem is that most indigenous religions go back thousands of years and many are prehistoric. (before written artefacts) this means either their writing hasn't survived or they didn't use it. What we are left with is myth that comes down in folk tales and legends and second hand accounts by ancient written cultures. Archeaology and monuments too of course.

But a relationship to nature as supernatural seems to be a common thread. Shamanic practice, sacrificial worship, seasonal and celestial rituals and so on.

With regard to rediscovering or understanding them then many of us try and get back to nature. That means getting out and into nature with like minded people. Its a living reinterpretation in one respect, its trusting rediscovery and re-creation in another. We are still human after all. Nature is still available to many of us, though nowhere near as wild of course.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 04:44 am
@Elmud,
I agree with Theatetus - study anthropology. This is an area where anthropology really excels. There have been some great and pathbreaking works in this discipline, particularly in regards to religion. Some names - Durkheim, Claude Levi-Strauss, Margeret Mead, and from religious studies, Mircea Eliade.
 
cluckk
 
Reply Thu 25 Mar, 2010 03:15 pm
@jeeprs,
One thing to keep in mind, that is often overlooked, is that with the ethnic tribal divisions in North America there were religious divisions as well. some like the Plains and Eastern tribes worshipped the Great Spirit and then sought to appease nature spirits. Others like the Pueblos had the concept of the Thunderbird and then the MesoAmerican tribes were polytheist with mutliple Gods and spirits to worship. These did not always coexist peacefully--religious war seems to be in the makeup of mankind.

Also, it has been pointed out that the Native American religions we are familiar today are not identical to what the earliest American dwellers believed and this is important. Around the time of the huge die offs from disease many tribes experienced a prophetic encounter that changed their belief systems considerably--for example the prophet among the Algonquin tribes. Other such experiences occured among tribes after being forced off their tribal lands by other tribes. For example there is the Cheyenne experience with the teachings of Sweet Medicine (Who brought the Medicine Arrows and taught them to hunt Buffalo) and Erect Horns (who gave them the Medicine Hat and the Sundance), and among the Lakota there was the prophecy of the Medicine Woman who would return as the White Buffalo. These are all post contact developments and you can see the world they were trying to respond to. Later you see such things as the Shadow dance and Ghost shirts and other practices that sought to roll back to earlier times, and undo the conquests of whites. Now there is an effort to create a conglomerate religion among NA tribes known as the Native American Church--using Southwestern Peyote and the Plains Sweat Lodge--but mixing so much that most traditionalists among the tribes reject it.

Even among tribes of similar practice the beliefs and details could be quite different. For example the Arapaho, Lakota, Crow and Shoshone all practice versions of the Sundance. To simply see the arbors built one would assume the practices and beliefs were the same, but the reason for the dance and the way they were to be done were different among each. The Crow and Shoshone were nearly identical, but the Cheyenne and Arapaho, as enemies of the Crow and Shoshone, had different practices and held theirs together--every Cheyenne sundance has some Arapahoes represented, with a special section set aside for them. The Lakota is the most unique of them all, when you see a sundance in the movies it is usually Lakota based. Among the Cheyenne the sundance was more sexual-fertility based without the self mutilations and self torture often seen in these scenes.

---------- Post added 03-25-2010 at 04:25 PM ----------

Just for my own need to have handles to attach here and there, you call yourself a pagan (spaking now to Pagan) so I assume you seek to emulate Briton beliefs prior to Roman and Christian influence (Your words). I wonder, are you seeking to emulate the beliefs and practices of the druids or of the pre-Celtic peoples of the Isles?

I ask this because I have known many people who called themselves pagan but the name gives so little information because it can mean so many different beliefs and gives so little information. When one says they are Christian, Buddhist, Taoist or Islamic we have an idea of some basic beliefs they hold to but pagan can mean so many different things.
 
 

 
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