When the topic of the beliefs of the Native American culture arises, most people have generally the same ideas about the culture's beliefs: they are very strong. Being part Native American myself, from the Cherokee tribe, I was raised to know my culture pretty well and follow the same beliefs that they teach and follow. One thing f that my grandma, who is the great-granddaughter of a Cherokee Chief, instilled in me is the importance of my beliefs in God.
When the Europeans came to North America and saw the spiritual practices, ceremonies, and rituals being performed, they thought of the Native Americans as barbarians and their practices pagan, and that's when the fight to keep their spiritual practices alive began. The Europeans sought to "Christianize the Indians" and sought to suppress indigenous spirituality (Doak).
The United States government tried to force Christianity upon the Indians in a desperate attempt to destroy their traditions and to assimilate them into white Christian society; but it soon became "apparent to United States political and Christian leaders that the political and religious forms of tribal life were so closely intertwined as to be inseparable, and that in order to successfully suppress tribal political activity, it was imperative that tribal religious activity be suppressed as well"(Dill).
Jordan Dill, states well in his article that:
As the United States government realized early on, Native American spirituality differs from Christian religious doctrine. For Christians, there is a distinct separation between religious practice and everyday activity. For Native Americans, however, no such clear-cut distinction exists because religion cannot be separated from everyday life. Even using the word "religion" to describe Native American spirituality is misguided, because it fails to take into consideration the inseparable connection between spirituality and culture. One... [continues]
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