The World We Used to Live In by Vine Deloria Essay

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Vine Deloria, author of The World We Used to Live In, not only introduces his readers to indigenous Native American spirituality and traditional practices including ceremonies but also brings several important ideas of native spirituality to the forefront. He discusses the importance of having and maintaining a relationship with mother earth and all living beings; an interconnectedness with nature in all forms that is crucial to the understanding and practice of Native American spirituality. Dreams and visions were discussed as an important form of communication in indigenous spirituality. The important relationships with animal and plant spirits are discussed. The concept of power and what is considered power in Native Spirituality.…show more content…
They are at peace with themselves and their surroundings. Dreams and visions are another way to communicate with nature and maintain balance and harmony. Through dreams and visions, Deloria explains how people can receive guidance from ancestor spirits about how to survive on the land and also about how to live a good and moral life. “Observations however were not enough. People had dreams in which aspects of the living universe came forward to urge them to take certain well-defined paths of behavior.” While all Native Americans are capable of having dreams and visions, there are some who are in tuned to a higher level of communication with nature. These people are called medicine men and women. Medicine men and women are special individuals chosen by animal and ancestor spirits who are thought to be living good and moral lives. They are given certain powers which allow them to heal people. In his book, Deloria gives us many emic encounters and stories told by Native Americans as well as etic encounters by outsiders perspectives. Through these encounters such as “Thunder Cloud Receives Healing Powers” (Deloria 44) and “Red Bird’s Yuwipi” (Deloria 86) we can see the special and unique connection medicine men and women have with nature and spirits through their healing and ceremonies. The Yuwipi ceremony is of great importance and a demonstration of the powers of the medicine men that

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