The World According to Native America

Good Morning!

What a thing to wake up to — the World According to Native America.  Well, I’m not really going to try to describe all of Native American beliefs since this is supposed to be a short post.  However, there are a few things that we might discuss.

Beliefs.  I think these are important to all people.  And I’d love to share with you some Native American beliefs and then I’d love for you to share some of yours with me.  All peoples of the world share certain things in common.  We all want the best for ourselves and our children and families and most people of the world share beliefs about the Creation of the World.  There is probably no culture on earth that does not believe in some aspect of a greater force that created the world and us, and even those in science nowadays rave on and on about their lack of “belief,” which is, if you really look at it, just another opinion about the way life was created.  So even they have a theory.

Now, mind you, I haven’t studied all of the Native American tribes and so I can’t tell you one for one the beliefs, but I can tell you this.  One for one, each tribe that I have studied (the Blackfeet, the Lakota Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Crow, the Iroquois) all believe in a Creator of the Universe.  There are other beings who have super powers, it’s true, but there is only one Creator, who does not take the part of any one tribe, since He loves all his creatures.  Thus, in order to get a “foot up” on one’s opponents, one looked to other things in the environment to help him do well in battle, or marry the right girl or win that foot race.  These environment beings were anything, any creature on the face of the earth who would be willing to give its power to the person so asking.  Many Native Americans called these creatures their spirit helpers.  It could be an animal, a tree, a rock, lightning, a storm, the wind.  Any force of nature that was willing to hear the pleas of the person so asking, would do.

Native America was filled with wonders and mysteries.  To the Native American of the past, there was no need to look for anything outside one’s “backyard,” since one’s backyard contained so many things of beauty and mystery.  Also, men often ranged hundreds, even thousands of miles from home.  Sometimes in search of game, but sometimes in search of other peoples.  A young boy, and in the Iroquois tribe, the women, too, would often fast and go up into a high place in order to ask the spirits or animals or other helpers to take pity on them and help them along on their path in life.  They would fast and would try to communicate with the forces of nature.  It was commonplace in those long ago days that some people could talk directly to animals and could understand them completely.  These dreams would then forge the path for the person who had the dream. 

Many Native Americans never asked God for anything in their lives.  They often believed that God (or the Creator) had made the world perfect.  There was something to fight every disease, nourish every body, build every house.  There was no reason to ask for anything else.  If one wanted to appeal for help, again, one went into the moutains and asked one’s spirit helper for aid.  And most often, that aid was given at once. 

Well that’s all for today!  I’d love to hear what you think of some of these beliefs.  No one expects one to adhere to another’s beliefs, I think the only important thing is to oneself have something that one does believe in.  There are so many different ways to look at the world, and so many different ways to think about things, that it is my opinion that the only wise thing to do is to grant to others the right to think for themselves and to believe as they see fit.  There have been more wars and more murder and killings over “beliefs” than I like to think about, so to my mind it is a good arena to stay out of.  I do believe that our Founding Fathers were right when they placed into our Bill of Rights that Congress shall make no laws respecting religion, etc.  What a great idea and at the time it was written, it was a completely new idea for that time and place.  I still think it is wise.

Therefore, I’d love to hear what you think about this, and your own beliefs.  So come on in and let’s chat.  Now mind you, I don’t have regular computer access right now and so I can only check email once a day at the library.  So bear with me — and ifyou haven’t already gotten your copy of THE LAST WARRIOR, please rush on out and get it.  Till next time.

 

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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15 thoughts on “The World According to Native America”

  1. Beautiful blog, Karen, and I love the pictures. With today’s world getting more and more complicated–technologically, socially and politically, I find myself wishing for a simpler time and a simpler set of beliefs in a clean and beautiful environment. The Native Americans had the right idea about a lot of things. I can’t help wondering how their beliefs would apply to our current horrific problems.

  2. This is a great example of the human thirst for a spiritual life.
    I just heard some scientific paper released talking about how faith was only for the ‘ignorant’. It’s so easy (and lazy) for them to just equate a belief in something larger than yourself to a lack of education because that belittles and dismissed that faith.

    But what I always think is how narrow that is.
    How unable they are to believe in something they can’t measure or see or recreate in a lab experiment.

    I heard someone say once that if God didn’t create the world in seven days (and a lot of native American belief systems have almost eerily similar stories about the world beginning by man coming up out of the earth…so like Adam’s story)…if life really did begin with a Big Bang that –through some ‘natural’ atomic or cosmic zap brought a lump of ooze to life (hello, Dr. Frankenstein)…and that ooze grew into trees and cactus and chimps and whales and man and genetics and an atom that can be split and oil that can power a car…then that’s a BIGGER miracle than God just spinning out day and night, earth and sea, sun and sky and moon.
    So very likely the Big Bang…if that’s how the world really was created…is from God, too. 🙂

  3. I agree totally, Mary. I think “let there be light” is pretty big-bang. And Kay, this was a beautiful informative post as always. But I have often heard mention of the Great Spirit…that was why Christopher Columbus told Queen Isabella (the ardent if not violent Catholic who sponsored his voyage on the premise he’d get new converts) that the natives he encountered would be easy to convert eg. the Holy Spirit.

    Have a good day!

  4. Hi Kay,
    I agree with Elizabeth, beautiful pictures and sentiments. How interesting that many Native Americans believed that the world was perfect. I bet it seemed so back then. Now, we’re striving to keep its perfection and value all things of nature again.

  5. Kay, I share a lot of Native American beliefs. I think we all have spirit helpers or guides that are assigned to us to help us through life. I think when we need help, all we have to do is ask. Of course there is a God that is over everything. I believe that. How can you not look at a newborn baby that started with just an egg and sperm and not believe in a higher power.

    I think we all have to have something to believe in. We have a need to explain things we don’t understand. Yes, I think our Founding Fathers were such wise men. They had to have been led by their spirit helpers to have such wisdom.

    Thank you for a wonderful, intriguing post as always! I wish for you a peaceful, calm day. 🙂

  6. Wow Linda that was really good.
    Hi Karen so glad to see you on here has things settled a little? I too am able to accept people have different belief’s I don’t know how people can get by in our life not believing in something bigger than ourselves. I personally don’t know how i would’ve gotten threw alot of obsticales in my life thinking this was all there was and not to gain strenghth from another source. I do believe in spirit helpers I don’t think there’s anyone in there life can’t think back on a incident in thier life and say wow that person was responsible for the curve in my path or if that wouldn’t have happen the outcome would’ve been different. someone you meet that somehow finds a place in your life and maybe awhile has to pass before you see why. But thesetimes should not be passed off as a coincidence That’s just my belief. I always love your information you’re such a wise woman!

  7. Hi Elizabeth!

    Me, too. I keep wishing for a simplier time. I do think technology can be our friend, but in the wrong hands… And it seems to me more and more that it’s in the wrong hands. Yes, a simplier place and time would be so nice.

  8. Hi Mary!

    Like you, I think the big bang theory is full of… Okay, has no one ever done the mathematics on the amount of “accidents” would be needed to simply have a person raise their hand? It’s astronomical! I don’t think these guys ever took a mathematics course, or if they did, they sure didn’t get it. : )

    I’m with you. There is a master hand here at work.

  9. Hi Tanya!

    Really? I didn’t know that? Did her really sell her on it based on converts? And then he came here and tried to make them all slaves… Native Americans by the way didn’t make good slaves. Some could be enslaved, but most, yearning for their former freedom, simply let themselves die rather than do the bidding of some other person who thought of them as no more than chattel.

    We face some hard times, I think. The REAL ID act is due to go into force on May 11th and there are some who believe this is the mark of the beast. It is so that in the future one might have to have this chip in their ID card or whatever in order to buy or sell food. It’s the start of people being chattel in this country, I think. (Can you tell I’ve been reading up on REAL ID?) I, for one, would probably favor the Native American view of this.

    Thanks for the post, Tanya!

  10. Hi Charlene!

    You are so right. I think we are trying to get back to nature. However, I also think many environmentals look to the Native Americans as examples of people living close to nature, but there is one very big difference. Native Americans valued all life, and most of all and very importantly human life. There are those in the environmental camp who advocate eliminating most of the world’s population, which in my mind is insanity. I used to be so very, very much into the environmental movement until I found out this very important fact and discovered that many in this group advocate destroying a good majority of the human race. So I love Nature, I love the simple way of life, but I, like Native Americans, value all life. Human, animal and plant. We all depend upon each other. None survives alone. Goodness, I seem to be philosophical today. I think I’ve been reading up on the REAL ID act too much.

    Have a super weekend, everybody.

  11. Hi Linda!

    You are so wise and so gentle and beautiful. Thank you for your post. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say.

    And to you, too, have a wonderful weekend.

  12. Hi Lori!

    So good to see you here. I so loved your post. I, too, people in spirit helpers. In the Iroquois culture, it was believed that when one took a life, one could never atone for the loss of that life and that the spirit of he, whom one destroyed, would haunt one forever. Thus, there had to be a mightly good reason to go to war or to ever take a life.

    Another interesting aspect of their society was that no one who had been a warrior could hold a position in their government — the idea being that when one took a life, he was forever haunted by spirits. Spirits, they believed, were all around you. That someone was always watching. Interesting…

    The Iroquois did go on to go to war and conquer most of Native America within their territorial realm. This happened when the white man came with trade goods, etc., and the trade became so very, very important. They did pay for this, however. They paid dearly by losing their land and to a certain extent, themselves. They are only now recovering, and I hope that when they fully recover, we might learn from some of their very wise sachems of the past. : )

    Have a super weekend.

  13. My beliefs – seems like I’ve always been a BAC (born again Christian) so I resented having Darwin forced down my throat in school.
    On the other hand, my school in Thunder Bay, Ontario taught me The Huron Carol.
    Wikipedia says: The “Huron Carol” (or “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime”) is a Canadian Christmas hymn (Canada’s oldest Christmas song), written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song’s original Huron title is “Jesous Ahatonhia” (“Jesus, he is born”).
    I think the Huron Carol is one of the most beautiful carols ever written.
    Thunder Bay is at the top left of Lake Superior. If you look out across the bay, you see a huge land formation called ‘The Sleeping Giant’. I grew up looking at it. The Giant was always in repose, with his hands crossed on his chest.
    As if we didn’t know about him, our teacher covered the legend but I don’t recall it. What I do remember is that our homeword was to write our own legend.
    My legend was about a timber wolf (one came into our farm yard once) who was in the sky with the Creator. Wolf was bad and the Creator threw him out of the sky. When he fell, his body broke apart. His head became what we know as Lake Superior.
    Go google a map. Doesn’t it look like a wolf head?

  14. Cheryl was speaking of book covers yesterday and I have to admit that your book cover is a doozy.
    Forget the blaze covers…I’ll take a poster of ‘The Last Warrior’ any day.

  15. To quote The Monkees, “I’m a believer..” Belief,
    I believe, is the basis of all!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all!

    Pat Cochran

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