Native American Spirituality And Native Americans

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For Native Americans, protecting their sacred ways was and is a matter of survival, but it is also a matter of respect for the power that is involved. Across the United States, there are more than 558 federally recognized and several hundred state recognized Native American nations (Russell, 1998). Given the wide-ranging diversity of this population consisting of 2.3 million people, it is essential to understand that the term Native American spirituality encompasses the vastness of more than 500 different tribal traditions represented by these hundreds of Indian nations. Being particularly interested in the spirituality as well as the spiritual philosophies and practices of Native Americans, I have decided to approach this very…show more content…
When these Natives address the universe, they speak to a world that is alive and all things on her are physical and spiritual in essence. All things in the physical world, including many spiritual entities connected to the world and actions are related to one another. Humans as well as all creatures of the world are viewed as being connected to one another, ideally in balance. The physical world, natural world and spirit world are all interconnected. The Lakota believed and continue to believe that maintaining moral bounds, expressed as doing things “in a good way” is key to success in hunting and in all of life’s endeavors (Taylor, 2005). While the Lakota did not and do not live in a world of total ecological harmony with all beings, they seek balance in the world through reciprocity, giving and receiving. For instance, animals were hunted but the hunter would ask permission from the animal 's spirit. History shows that Native American spirituality included many ceremonies and rituals that were practiced before and after hunting expeditions. It was thought that their spirituality in this way would ensure future success in hunting. The Lakota held and continue to hold that all is sacred (wakan), although certain objects, activities, and even people are instilled with more of this sacredness than others (Taylor, 2005). This sacrality can also be sought and obtained by such means as fasting, praying, self-sacrifice, and generosity. Therefore, all of
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