Introduction: Definition of Native American Religions
:History of Native American Religions
:Relevance of the study
Body: The spiritual nature of Native American communities
:The earth’s perception according to Native American Religions
:The introduction of Christianity in the Native American Religions
:Impacts of Christianity on Native American Religions: Loss of NativeCulture
: Growth of Trans-Religions
:Emanation of mixed reactions from the Natives
:Loss of lives
Conclusion: Thesis Statement: Argument and Conclusion
NativeAmerican Religions are the indigenous ethical tribes that were longin existence in early America, which was devoid of any Christianityconformities. Tribes like the Pomo, Shasta, and Siletz, are a few ofthe major indigenous groups that worked together to ensure that theNative American Culture was preserved. Before the Christianityinfiltration, Native American tribes lived together peacefully, andthey all led a simple social, political, and religious lives. Theintroduction of Christianity did spook not only mixed reactions fromthe Natives but also created a whole new way of life that was in notso many unpleasant words for the natives.
Historyof Native American Religions
Asearly as 1600 B.C, Christian missionaries had already developed thenotion that they needed to spread the gospel of the Lord all acrossthe entire globe. By this time, they still lacked adequate resourcesthat would be put in place to facilitate the process of spreadingChristianity all over the world. By the 1750s, Europeans had amassedmore than enough resources that would be used to finance theirroutine operations, and that is when they found a way into the NativeAmerican Culture.
Morethan two millenniums after the spread of Christianity in the entireplanet, Philosophical Theology Experts have ensured that a 21stcentury is a place of ultimate freedom and democracy despite anyobstacles. Currently, the globe has reached a position where theright to worship is among the most fundamental rights of Human Beingsin all circumstances, provided the fact that no harm comes to anyonein the society. This simply means that all religious practices thatwere once deemed as unfit for the welfare of people in society werenow fully recognized as particular religions all over the world.
Examiningthe relationship witnessed between the Indigenous American Nativesand Early Europeans Missionaries, it would be prudent to concludethat Christianity was forcefully assimilated into the Native Culture.
Itis without a doubt that the infiltration of Christians in the quietway of life of the Native Americans spiked a whole lot of mixedreactions. Some were mad that strangers had invaded their home andworse still trying to dictate their ways of life while some had theimprint that a little change would not matter that much. This is whatcaused the rift between Christianity and Native American Cultures orrather religions.
Relevanceof the Study
Atthe end of this study, the researcher is supposed to be well versedwith the religious practices of all the tribes that constituted theNative American Religious people. The objective of this study is,therefore, to bring to light the relationship that existed betweenthe Natives and Christians prior and after the ChristianityInfiltration. Additionally, the impacts that Christianity had on theNatives will also be highlighted and ideally expounded to thesatisfaction of the reader. Most importantly, this study also aims toprove meaningful in real life situations just as will be discussed inthe text below.
SpiritualNature of Native American Communities
TheIndigenous tribes that worked together to ensure the growth anddevelopment of diversified religious cultures had an entirely newdifferent religious way of life as compared to the universal ways ofEarly Christians. This simply means that in places where the clergyand the priests were supposed to act, medicine men and rainmakerstook the position (Crawford 50). It was assumed that these religiouspersonalities had the power to communicate with the ancestors andother Gods, as well as bridging the gap between earth and heaven.
TheEarth’s Perception according To Native American Religions
Intheir opinion, the earth served as the epitome of God’s love to thepeople of earth, and all He needed in return was as simple as takingcare of it until the end of time. They believed that land acted as abond that existed between the living, the dead, and the unborn. Thistype of mentality is believed to have stemmed from a religiousperspective under the impression that the earth is the source of alllife. This is the sole reason they buried the dead as opposed to howother religions in the world took care of the dead such asreincarnation.
TheIntroduction of Christianity in the Native American Religions
Asmentioned in the earlier bits of this study, it has been provedbeyond any reasonable doubt that Early Missionaries intended tospread the word of God to all corners in the world with or withoutthe support of other members of society. The introduction ofChristianity to the way of life of the Native Americans Religions ledto an uproar of mixed emotions as different members of all theethical groups had their personal perceptions of the dynamics ofChristianity (Brown 67).
Impactsof Christianity on Native American Religions
TheNative Americans were entirely reserved to their culture. Theybelieved mostly in nature and its environs. The Native Americansbelieved in what existed. The introduction of Christianity in theirmidst, therefore, made no sense at all. They criticized the Europeansfor believing in a supernatural being that lived in the sky.According to them, what made the human life meaningful is the plants,animals, air, water and other aspects that exist on earth. They,therefore, did not like what Europeans wanted them to believe. TheNative Americans protested against and tried to resist the Christianreligion, which affected their culture at large. Below are a coupleof impacts that occurred.
Lossof Native Culture
TheNative Americans were never willing to accept Christian religionpractices among their people. This, however, did not stop theEuropeans from inflicting their culture upon them. They forcefullyrecommended Christian religious practices upon the Natives. Theforceful act worked as quite a number of the Natives resorted toaccepting Christianity. Additionally, the intermarriages between someNative Americans and Christians resulted to the Natives giving up ontheir culture. Besides, now that almost half of the tribes changed toChristianity either willingly or forcefully, there was no more unityto hold the tribes together (Brown 43). This led to the erosion ofseveral Native American practices, hence the loss of the culture as awhole.
Themaximum effort applied while trying to spread Christianity among theNative Americans lead to undesired rearrangement of the tribes. TheEuropeans decided to settle down among the Natives that caused totaldisruption of the tribes. Several communities ended up displaced fromtheir original settlements. Moreover, the Native Americans that werenot willing to accept Christianity relocated to other regions in fearof oppression by the Europeans. The separation among people of theNatives community resulted in settlements that were sparselypopulated. The separation among the people is part of the reasonsthat led to the extinction of the Native American communities andtribes.
Growthof Trans-Religion Relations
Thestruggle to spread Christianity among the Native American tribes didnot wipe out all the Native cultural practices. The Native Americansfought for what they believed, and the oppression by Europeans didnot stop them. After a while, the Europeans realized that it was notfair to change the Native American beliefs. The result was theblending of the Christian religion and Native American culture. Sincesome of the Natives’ beliefs were similar to those of Christians,the two blended in at some point. The merging of two differentreligions led to the growth of trans-religion relations where anindividual could practice two different cultures at the same time.
Emanationof Mixed Reactions
TheEuropeans, though being oppressive were quite convincing about theChristian religion. Several Native Americans were convinced that theEuropeans might be right. The thought of the existence of asupernatural being never made sense at the beginning, but with time,quite some the Natives started doubting their culture and took theChristianity path. However, some Natives never accepted Christianityno matter the extent to which they were forced to join the religion.The Native American community ended up having mixed feelings andreactions towards Christianity (Crawford 56). Most Natives were notsure whether they should accept Christianity and move on or fightagainst it.
Europeanscould not bear with the Natives that went against their wishes. They,therefore, chose elimination as a way of succeeding in theirintentions. The Natives that resisted were slaughtered in order tocool down the aggressiveness that the communities had towards theEuropeans. The Europeans went to the extent of threatening the onesthat continued to practice Native American culture. On the otherhand, some Native American Chiefs and community leaders began toslaughter the Natives that chose Christianity. The Native leaders sawthat some of their people betrayed the community, hence slaughteringthem was a form of punishment.
Basedon the kind of correlation that existed between the IndigenousAmerican Natives and Early Europeans Missionaries, it would beprudent to conclude that Christianity was forcefully assimilated intothe Native Culture. It is without a doubt that the infiltration ofChristians in the indigenous culture of the Native Americans spiked awhole lot of mixed reactions. Some were mad that strangers hadinvaded their home and worse still trying to dictate their ways oflife while some had the imprint that a little change would not matterthat much. The Native Americans were not believers in a supernaturalGod but on different day visible and unseen things such as the earthand ancestors among others. They relied on the local medicine people,fortune tellers and rainmakers for their spiritual wellbeing.However, the introduction of European missionaries perceived suchbeliefs as uncivilized and backward resulting in the continuousattempts to convert Native Americans to Christianity. This is whatcaused the rift between Christianity and Native American Cultures orrather religions.
Brown,Joseph. TeachingSpirits: Understanding Native American Religious Traditions.Detroit.
ABCPublishers. 2011. Print.
Crawford,Susanne. NativeAmerican Religious Traditions.New York. Regnery Publishers. 2015. Print.