Beliefs and Morals of the Native Americans
Beliefs and Morals of the Native Americans
Developed a Moral System (Ethics)In the Indian society there are well structured boundaries as to what people should and shouldn’t do. It is similar in many respects to our modern Australian code of ethics; one man should not take the wife of another to be his own or steal from anyone else within their own tribe. Everyone is expected to share what they had for the benefit of the whole region too. So while not everyone likes some of the social law and order that is imposed, they all see the importance and control that it holds and respect the decisions of their chieftains.
Children are expected to follow the commands and teachings of their parents. It is an automatically assumed role of the parents to not only care for their sons and daughters but to bring them up in the code of that tribe and show them how to hunt, track, build and sew.
Reverence towards all gods is also very important to the Indians because any disrespect is seen as being just as bad as killing a member of your tribe; one of the ultimate sins.
These communal roles are common across most Native American tribes which allow them to live in neighboring regions of land in relative peace and mutual respect for one another’s life morals.
Made SacrificesThe Native American Indians do not practice sacrifice to either their leaders or gods. They consider all things sacred, especially animals because the gods are the ones who provide these food sources. Sacrificing an animal would appear somewhat hypocritical in the eyes of the Indians because they need permission to hunt and kill from the gods and to then offer the creature back to a god would be insulting. The gods made all the animals so there is no need for a human to kill them especially for the sake of a divine power.
Self sacrifice isn’t practiced either. Intensive injury and potential death situations are often used for initiation rites; but these rites serve in the aging process of young men, not in a religious sense.
Had Distinctive Religious RitesThe Indians have several religious rites that are practiced regularly; while not all tribes follow the same conventions, the concepts and actions performed are similar in meaning.
Vision quests are when a child is sent out into isolation to fend for themselves and await a vision from a spirit or force in a vision or dream. These visions are interpreted by the child and form the basis for their direction in life. These trips into the wilderness are to create a deeper understanding with the Earth and form bonds between themselves and a certain god, who will play a guardian role in that person’s life until death.
Dances to thank or appease the gods are also a common practice. These rituals are usually but not exclusively performed by specific groups within the tribe i.e. Shamans, hunters, boat makers, adult males or females, children or those about to embark on vision quests. These dancers are often in praise of strong, healthy family growths, sumptuous buffalo herds or fine hunting weather; all things that are essential to the continued survival of Indian tribes.
Close Ties to a Particular Area or LocalityThe Native Americans have roughly bounded regions of land to which they can roam freely without interfering with another group. Within this land there are indeed particular areas which some Indians feel more strongly attached; sometimes the appointment of new clan leaders or good hunting is associated with certain areas or some regions are common for vision quests.
No matter what the special association, the Indians feel bound to some areas far more strongly than others and believe the gods played some role in these spiritual bonds. As a consequence, these expanses of land often held court over celebrations to the gods.
Naturally occurring geographical features are also seen as significant to ancient stories, mainly how the gods shaped and molded the Earth as well as how they punished certain areas with harsh conditions and poor animal herds.
Whatever the reason for feeling connected with areas of land, they are all held high in a tribe’s history and given special names to express their thanks to gods, like: Inini-Nibi (Water Land) or Namito-Nolan (Distant Plain).
“American Indians” – History and Culture of Native Australia – Update 21 February 2008 “Indigenous Peoples of the Americas” – Wikipedia – Updated 20 February 2008 “American Indian Resource Directory” – Updated 14 December 2007 Native American Indians – 2006 – By Lisa EvansNorth American Indian Tribes – 2004 – Jason O’Neil