Native American Religion

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When the Euro-Americans started to settle America they forced the Native Americans to adapt their culture and religion. The settlers were very serious about their Christian religion. They thought it was the one true faith and all people should believe in it. Euro-Americans actually feared the Native Americans because they felt that Native Americans were evil because they didn’t have a religion. What the Euro-Americans didn’t understand was that the Native Americans did have a religion and their own beliefs. Their religion and beliefs may have been very different from Christianity, but they did have one. The Native Americans didn’t understand why they should start believing in Christianity when they had their own strong beliefs. Native Americans believed in the supernatural, souls that exist in all people and animals. This may not be considered an actual “religion”, but they see their beliefs and practices as an important part of their lives and culture. Each tribe had its own set of religious observances. However, some beliefs and religious practices were widespread and typical of Native American religion. Their survival depended on these beliefs and rituals. These practices helped them avoid illness, produce enough food and control the weather. Native Americans had healing rituals to treat illnesses of the body and spirit. These rituals were meant to find and restore balance and wholeness in a person. This would bring one to a healthy and spiritually pure state. Native Americans would have ceremonies, Drum Dances, to seek help from the spirits. The spirits would assist them to ensure a successful hunt and a good harvest. After a good hunt or harvest Native Americans would have a ceremony to call the spirits to thank them. They felt that this would insure continued success in hunting and harvesting so they had enough food. Native Americans would also call upon the spirits to control the weather. This was sometimes done through rain dances. Native Americans had...
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