Eskimo Religion

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  • Topic: Inuit, Eskimo, Animism
  • Pages : 6 (1914 words )
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  • Published : October 22, 2010
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The Eskimos are found in the northern tip of Russia across Alaska and northern Canada to Greenland. The term Eskimo comes from a Native American word that may have meant eaters of raw meat netter of snowshoes or speakers of foreign language. They are also referred to as Inuit meaning people.

They lived in groups varied in size depending on the amount of food available. They gathered in large groups especially during and the fall so that they could hunt migrating animals. Gathering in groups was also because of the ease in sharing the necessities available. These groups acted as the social unit of the Eskimos. Since they had no written rules, they lived by the traditional law. The grated law being that each individual helps in the day to day activities that ensured the groups’ survival. If any member threatened the peace of others he or she was banished to death.

According to My point of view, I rate the Eskimo religion under traditional religions of the world because they tend to hold more on culture. Just as the Eskimos are distinct from other American aborigines in language and physical structure, so too are they distinct in culture and specifically religious culture , practices and belief system .These creates anxiety among religious scholars to look deeper into the Eskimo religion..

Since the inuits were basically hunters, the most important spirit and a common deity to many groups was a goddess who governed the sea. In some areas she was called SEDNA who is said to have created all the things. She lived at the bottom of the oceans and controlled the seas, whales and sea mammals. . The myth of Sedna was at the core of the Inuit system of beliefs. “She was said to be a young girl who after a series of tragic events undergoes a spiritual metamorphosis to become the mother of the sea animals” (Seidelman & Turner, 1993, p. 71). There were spirits which controlled all animals in different areas. Those along the coast of Alaska thought it was the moon* who kept sea mammals shut up and let them out only when he chose. In the Greenland it was believed that the sea goddess had the sea mammals in her house under the sea. When angry, she sent storms so that no seals came near the hunters for days. The caribou herds had a female or male spirit owner.

There were also hostile spirit SILA# who was the most powerful with this stormy winds. He is believed to support the world weather and all life on earth. Sila does not speak to man through ordinary words because of his power. He speaks through storm, snow, rainfall and furious see that is through all forces of nature that men fear. Others prowled about at night or in strange places when not appeased. Sila expresses himself gently through sunlight or the calm sea. Sila is a mysterious spirit and is believed to appear and talk to children. When such a thing happens, the Shaman would be consulted to give the meaning of Silas appearance.

Eskimos also believed in ARNA GUASAO , who is an old woman who lives I the deep sea. She sits in front of a lamp and sends out animals which the people hunt. When she is angry because of parasites on her head, she does not send out animals. A shaman is needed to go down into the sea to assuage her anger

There was a polar bear spirit as the supreme deity. When an animal died, it was thought that then often resented a new born of the same species. Each species had a generalized guardian spirit.

They believed in the god of victory where sometimes they fought with the neighbouring Indian , he gave them support and they considered themselves victorious.

Everything had a soul and was spiritually connected. So according to my opinion, The inuit religion was polytheistic in nature. According to the explanation offered in the world book encyclopedia, volume 10 ,all people ,animals, things and forces of nature had

#The air spirit

spirits including those of the wind, the weather, the sun and the moon, we can deduce that the inuits...
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