American Indians Totemic Beliefs

Decent Essays
To discover the basis of elementary religion, we must further dig into the totemic beliefs people once had to get to the point where we are today. However, to understand how our society was constructed. Australian tribes were generally the ones to believe in totemic but, they were not originally the first to find totemic beliefs. One of the first people to discover totem were the North American Indians. In fact, the civilization was more advanced in Indian tribes than of Australian cults. “The technology has become more developed, the people live in houses or tents and there are even fortified villages. The social density is greater, and centralization, which is altogether absent in Australia.” (Durkheim 93). The reason why North American Indians…show more content…
No clan in any shape or form, can share the same ideas of another clan. A totem is usually an object; it is not an animal nor an individual. Totems are not randomly named, some are named after an ancestor or ancestors for certain groups. This shows that the totem can be named after a “mythical being”, considering the ancestor as one (103). There is a sacredness about totemic animals and plants. Today, normally animals and plants are seen for being eaten, but that is not the case for totemic plants and animals. Totemic plants and animals, are sacred to most tribes. It is forbidden for the totem to be eaten since it is sacred. Typically, these totems are mainly used for “mystical meals” more as a sacrament rather than for daily eating. The only people who can eat these totems are old men who hold high religious status, for which they are called “ordinary men”, and since they are “holy themselves” they can eat it (130). Along with being forbidden to eat the totem, people are also forbidden from killing it. Those are the rules that comes along with the totem. The idea of society first started with the tribes of men from Australia. Considering this, Durkheim…show more content…
These classifications are indeed the first that we meet in history. We just saw that they are modeled on social organization, or rather that they have taken the actual framework of society as their own. It was the phratries that served as genera and the clans as species. It is because men formed groups that they were able to group things: All they did was make room for things they themselves already formed. And if these various classes of things were not simply juxtaposed to one another but arranged instead of according to a unified plan, that is because the same social groups to which they are assimilated are themselves unified and, through that union, form an organic whole: the tribe. The unity of these first logical systems merely reproduces that of society”. (145)
These tribes of men have constructed the idea of social organization and genus in history, because this, it is the first-time social construction is introduced when we consider tribes and cults that believed in totems mainly in Australia. Durkheim also
Get Access