Indigenous Religions and Their Sacred Reverence Toward Nature

2252 Words Apr 27th, 2013 10 Pages
Indigenous Religions and their Sacred Reverence Toward Nature
Kimberly Kitterman
Barstow Community College
Abstract
Many indigenous religions and cultures viewed the earth with great respect and reverence. This can be seen through their kinship with the land, their belief in animism, their hunter/hunted relationship, and their origin stories.

Indigenous Religions and their Sacred Reverence Toward Nature

Most indigenous cultures had a profound respect for their environment. They believed that their relationship with nature was very sacred, they believed the earth needed to be treated with dignity and reverence, they believed in harmony with their surroundings. Speaking of indigenous religions, Lewis (1995) wrote, They defined
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Molly related an experience with four Oglala Sioux shamans: "When asked about what was wakan ("holy," "mysterious"), said, 'Every object in the world has a spirit and that spirit is wakan. Thus the spirit[s] of the tree or things of that kind, while not like the spirit of man, are also wakan.' " (2005, p. 41) Believing that each tree has a spirit, each animal is a brother or sister, each rock and hill has a life force would alter your perception of the world. Your feelings toward those things might be changed a bit, knowing that they have as much life in them as you do. Black Elk, a Native American, said, " We should understand well that all things are the works of the Great Spirit. We should know that He is within all things: the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and all the four-legged animals, and the winged peoples." (Goffman, 2005) Whether a tribal culture believed in a Great Spirit, or Mother Earth, or felt that a certain tree held a powerful spirit, many of the native religions worshiped the earth and held it in a highly sacred regard. "To say that nature is full of spirits can be a way of affirming the presence of both a universal life force and an essential, underlying sacredness." (Molly, 2005, p. 41) Molloy continues: In a world that is animated by spirits, human beings must treat all things with care. If a spirit is injured or insulted, it can retaliate. Human beings must therefore show that they respect nature, especially

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