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The Nature Of Spirituality : The Iroquois Nation Of The Eastern Woodlands

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The nature of spirituality may be difficult for someone outside of their culture to understand. Many Native Americans are visionary, dreamers, and mystic in animated worlds of spirits. Indians have encouraged the seeking of visions and dreams through various practices and beliefs. The Iroquois Nation of the eastern woodlands was one of the most highly organized civilizations that developed among Native American tribes in North America. Their religion was based off on an all power known as “The Great Spirit” or Ha-wen-ne-yu. “The Great Spirit” ruled and administered the world and its affairs. His power was administered to the material world through a class of inferior spiritual existences, which were given names and identified by the object they were classified as. For example, He-no, which is the most important spirits, was given the thunderbolt and controlled the weather. The Iroquois Nation also had an evil spirit, known as the “Evil Minded” or “Ha-ne-go-ate-geh”. The evil spirits controls its own spirits and sets out to cause Native American’s to do evil. Compared to the Christian view, upon Death, the Great Spirit will judge and punishment will be given to the evil spirits. Rituals and ceremonies are perform seasonal and it used to give thanks and praise for the “Great Spirit” protecting them. The Dakota, or Sioux as they are called, inhabited the Great Plains and prairies surrounding the modern states of North and South Dakota, as well as Minnesota. They are cousins
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