The concept of interrelatedness and being connected with the great Spirit is a concept that we could connect to many other cultures in the world. In fact, such a dissertation would not only come from theory but is well observed in many historical documents and the various other sources such as literature, poetry, language, and even transferred historical culture. Therefore, in our approach, we will be highlighting why the concept of interrelatedness and being connected to the great Spirit is not necessarily constrained only to the culture of native America.
In order to do this, the paper would first be discussing the Wakan spiritual culture and the various documented history and literature about the topic. After doing so, selected references and literature on the topic would be interconnected with the paper in order to see the various similarities and differences between Native American spiritual culture and other cultures around the world around the same time line and even a cross comparative study in history.
Also, another objective of this paper is to point out how such beliefs and cultural traditions could be maintained all around the world not only in the country. Again, this would be achieved by citing and collecting various references in literature on the topic. The last objective of this paper is to identify how such cultural beliefs in the past — and even in some indigenous president cultural traditions — could help support and maintain various modern movements such as ecological and religious practices in the present and in the future.
Basically, in the Native American Sioux tradition, Wakan is a term that indigenous Americans used in order to refer to the sacred or the divine spirit. In fact, as many scholars of this tradition have pointed out, the word great Spirit is more or less a direct translation of Wakan. However, taking this perspective in the modern form and in dominating religious belief, it is not associated with the a spirit that is separated from other individuals and other objects in the planet.
One such way the belief differs specifically from organized modern religion is that this belief is not monotheistic in nature. Some scholars have even pointed out that the translation of the word is not necessarily the great Spirit but rather the great mystery, pointing out that indigenous Native Americans believed that everything in nature is mysterious and that the great Spirit is an organization of sacred entities who are in many ways mysterious, and therefore the tradition of referring to the word as a great mystery.
Another accompanying belief to this tradition is the fact that everything is sacred, because such great mystery and great Spirit resides in everything. To relate it to a broader and more cross-cultural comparison, this belief may be classified under the tradition of animistic and and pantheistic traditions. For example, in a historical research article that was published in 1999 which discussed the various traditions of Native American cultures and animal worship, historians have discovered that the worship of animals did not necessarily mean that the Native Americans considered that these animals were gods.
Instead, it was a realization and connecting factor in identifying within the cultural bounds and norms of the group that the great mystery and the great Spirit exists in all things, which includes animals such as the bison that has been identified by the research (Ostler, 1999). Also, the literature on the topic has identified various historical documented rituals of the Native American Sioux culture which have underlying significance to how such people understood nature as an interrelated cycle and how everything is connected not only in the physical and material sense, but also in the spiritual reality as well (La Farge, n.
d. ). However, even if some modern organized religions have pointed towards Native American traditions to be pagan and simplistic in nature, research and historians have also identified complicated rituals and beliefs — as well as oral and written traditions — are these people (Dog & Erdoes, 1995). However, such beliefs are not necessarily constrained only to Native American culture.
In fact, except for a handful of monotheistic early religions, most spiritualities in the world before the evolution and spread of colonization of other monotheistic religions, many historical cultures believed in the concept of interrelatedness and interconnectedness through a great Spirit. In an article published in 1974, researchers who collected data and historical evidence on the various beliefs of the afterlife have identified that there is a common underlying thread of interconnectedness and the interrelatedness of everything which carries on in many other traditions other than burial rites (Goody, 1974).
In a widely acclaimed book on cultural anthropology that was published in 2002, further offers had identified that as more and more anthropological expeditions and explorations are being made today that continuously discovered the cultures of prehistoric and early first century cultures, more and more evidence is found that there is a recurring theme of nature and the great Spirit that connects everything across cultures that could not have conceivably been reached by each other because of various factors such as geographic constraints, language barriers, and the like (Kohl et al.
, 2002). In fact, researchers that have made recent discoveries in early Eastern religions have found that there was a great and significant connection between Western interconnected nature of beliefs with Eastern great Spirit cultures, whose signs are still visible today through the survival of these beliefs by adapting different forms that relatively fit modern organized religion (Brown, 1997).
The question then that face us currently is the importance of these beliefs and how they could be conceivably be maintained in modern industrialized culture. In order to do this, it has been recommended by many spiritual leaders that propose such new age beliefs on the spreading of additional interrelated beliefs through the observation of scientific facts. Recent biological innovations have discovered that ecological systems require each and every element to function properly in order for the total system to survive.
In economics, researchers have also identified underlying constructs in a market society which generates domino effects on single decisions made by individuals or those that come about through natural occurrences or biological change. In order to maintain such beliefs, they must be approached from the modern eye of science to make sure that individuals may be able to relate them to the industrial age and not think of them as pagan mystic spiritual beliefs that do not have any significant contributing factor to the modern world.
The concept of interrelatedness can also be maintained by observing how various modern natural calamities come from direct results of over pollution and taking far advantage of national resource extraction — such as the current effects of climate change and global warming. In such discussions and research of indigenous cultures and their spiritual beliefs of interconnectedness, we could be able to also comment on recognizing its essential contribution to the learning of ecological concepts and spiritual concepts as well.
As we have pointed out earlier, many of today’s ecological and conservation related issues come from the fact that human beings have recently not recognize the importance of doing one action that could inevitably be able to affect the whole web and cycle of the system. The concept of interrelatedness in such prehistoric and Native American beliefs could be able to teach us to respect the natural order and all things not just because of a deeply embedded spiritual desire but also because of actual rational ethics that they could contradict in the short and long run of the human race.
On the other hand, from the point of view of spiritual beliefs, where in more and more people today, according to recent research, are shifting perception towards nature oriented approaches rather than traditional monotheistic and institutionalized beliefs, interrelatedness concepts may be able to create a fuller experience on how human beings — and even the individuals who accept such spiritualities — should be able to observe, appreciate, and conserve life no matter what form they may come in.
References Brown, J. A. (1997). The archaeology of ancient religion in the Eastern Woodlands. Annual review of anthropology, 26(1), 465-485. Dog, L. C. , & Erdoes, R. (1995). Crow Dog: four generations of Sioux medicine men. Harpercollins. Goody, J. (1974). Death and the interpretation of culture: A bibliographic overview. American Quarterly, 448-455. Kohl, P. L. , Perez Gollan, J. A. , Conard, N. , Demoule, J. P. , Gramsch, A. , Junker, K. , et al. (2002). Religion, Politics, and Prehistory. Current Anthropology, 43(4), 561-586. La Farge, O. (n. d. ). Wakan Tanka and the Seven Rituals of the Sioux. NYT. Ostler, J. (1999). ” They Regard Their Passing As Wakan”: Interpreting Western Sioux Explanations for the Bison’s Decline. The Western Historical Quarterly, 475-497.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 November 2016
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