American Indian religion refers to the religious practices, ceremonies and the spirituality of the Indians in America. Although many would like to believe that all American Indians follow one religious view and similar practices, it is not so. There are hundreds of tribe based variations in religion underlined by common themes; that the universe and all that is in it, the sky, earth, and all creation are sacred thus deserving of respect and that God communicates to human beings through the spirit of all creation with the help of the use of medicine. Therefore, American Indian religion practices differ significantly depending on tribe, band, and clan. Before the American Indian religion and philosophy course, the perception was that American Indian groups all ascribed to one universal religion with similar practices and ceremonies. Also, an assumption, the American Indian religion must have faced various challenges just like most other traditional religious groups that culturally practiced spirituality in the past. With the American Indian religion and philosophy course, one expects to learn the diversity of American Indian religion and the elements of its philosophy. Also, the course will hopefully help understand the progress that has taken place in the American Indian religion and any challenges that they may still face to date on religious grounds.
Religion was one of the major bases of cultural, political and legal conflicts in American history. Disbanding Native American cultures was recognized as a way of undermining tribal prominence by politicians. Indians were encouraged through politics to abandon their “savage ways” to promote Christianity. Policies were implemented to grant Christian missionary works federal funds to convert Native Americans of different cultures to Christianity. The state went as far as to establish boarding schools to teach children occupational skills, English and Christianity in an attempt to strip them off their Indian in them. Federal law allowed for Native Indians to be stripped off their land and property and they were banned from practicing their indigenous religions (Gueno, 1-2). The western religious especially Christianity was promoted over all other indigenous religion to the extent that m
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