6 Sacred Ways All Native Cultures Have In Common
The Sacred Ways of the Native American people are shaped by geography. The Southwest Native people have their Sacred Ways shaped by the sand and the heat; Woodland Native's have their Sacred Ways shaped by woods and waters. But even though Sacred Ways are different, there are still similarities of theology.
In my travels I have found that without proper discussions and conversations - without clearing the air of prejudice and misconceptions - people live life with fixed ideas of what other peole are like. In our Native culture we are taught to respect other people's ways of worshipping, this is a basic teaching for living a long and good life. In order for other cultures to better understand and respect the Native American Indian here are the six sacred ways all Native cultures believe to some extent.
Native American sacred ways were not classically incorporated or evangelical. They were just ways of seeking life. I really feel that the strength and wisdom that lies within this traditional belief system is a valuable body of knowledge that can be used today. For it is truly a reflection of how Yahweh, Creator God, would have us live in the culture He created for us.
In the past our ancestors did not spend a lot of time thinking about or talking about sacred ways. They were such an engrained part of their lives that nothing needed to be said. Their dreams, songs and dances all reflected their spiritual beliefs.
Sadly, today this is not the case. The majority of our people have been forced and enculturated into accepting the worldview of the white European western culture and their view of spiritual things.
Historically our traditions were passed down to the next generation through stories told by the elders to the children. One of the devastating effects of the Europeans coming to our land was the disease they brought in which we had no immunity. The first to die were the elders and when they died the stories died with them. The Sacred Ways were not passed down from generation to generation because our elders were not there to tell the stories.
Since the 1960’s our people have tried to put the stories back together but all they had were pieces of memories of what once was. Gaps in the stories were filled in by what they thought should be put there. So what we have today are Sacred Ways that are a blend of the past and the present. They are not true stories but they were trying to hang on to what was left from the gathered memories of people.
I present here the six common concepts or ways of thinking about the sacred that are common to some degree with all Native tribes on Turtle Island. I will explore them in greater detail in others parts of my web.
The 6 Sacred Ways:
1. A belief in or knowledge of unseen powers, or what some people call The Great Mystery.
2. Knowledge that all things in the universe are dependent on each other.
3. Personal worship reinforces the bond between the individual, the community, and the great powers. Worship is a personal commitment to he sources of life.
4. Sacred traditions and persons knowledgeable in them ar responsible for teaching morals and ethics.
5. Most communities and tribes have trained practitioners who have been given names such as medicinemen, priests, shamans, caciques, and other names. These individuals also have titles given them the The People which differ from tribe to tribe. These individuals are responsible for specialized, perhaps secrect knowledge. They help pass knowledge and sacred practices from generation to generation, storing what they know in their memories.
6. A belief that humor is a nesessary part of the sacrted. And a belief that human beings are often weak - we are not gods - and our weakness leds us to do foolish things; therefore clown and similar figures are needed to show us hjow we act and why.