Native American Religions happen to be one of the oldest and most enduring forms of religion. They comprise a large number of distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups. Native Americans arrived on the North American Continent fifth-teen thousand to twenty thousand years ago. Native Americans have literally sources that exist from only the last four hundred years even though Native American life covers perhaps twenty thousand years. Over three hundred tribes have been recognized by the United States government. Native Americans are the only known ethnic group in the United States requiring a federal permit to practice their religion. In the state of Virginia, Native Americans face a unique problem. Virginia has no federally recognized tribes.
Native American Religions have also been known as American Indians, Amerindians, Amerinds, Aboriginal, Indians, Indigenous, Original Americans, Red Indians, or Red Men. Native Americans religions are polytheistic. Native American Religions are remarkably free of priesthood. Native Americans are very personal in that they encourage Page 2
individuals to contact the spirit world alone. Native Americans believe that many levels of Gods and Spirits exist in the universe. They think of the High God or Great Spirits as a personal God. They believe in the Supreme Being in a manner found in many basic religions. Native religions have some of the qualities of monotheism, polytheism, and monism. Native American has been exposed to Christian eschatology for more than four hundred years. The influence of Christianity has been so strong that today most Native Americans are Christians. They are interested in the day-to-day life among the multiple spirits found in the world.
Native Americans have a reverent attitude toward the land, trees, rivers, and mountains. Native Americans who practiced agriculture revere the soil, plants, and tree. Hunting was an important part of life within many Native...