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Native American Cultures, Tribes, And Religion

813 words - 3 pages

Even though there are numerous Native American tribes and cultures, they all are mostly derivatives of other tribes. For instance, in the southwest there are large number of Pueblo and Apache people including, the Acoma Pueblo tribe, Apache Chiricahua, Jemez Pueblo, and Apache Western. In this section, largely populated groups in certain regions (northwest, southwest, The Great Plains, northeast, and southeast) religious ideas, practices, and impact on American culture will be discussed.
First, the northwestern region, which includes the areas from: the northwestern coast from Oregon to Washington, the Rocky Mountains, and the Cascades Mountains consist of mainly Paiute, Shoshone, and Blackfoot tribes. According to A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples by Berry M. Pritzker, these three groups collectively consisted of more than 52,500 Native Americans. Even though they lived near each other each tribe saw the world slightly differently and practiced religion in various ways.
The Paiutes for example, believe all things animate or inanimate possessed power. Conversely, Pritzker states, “Only shamans acquired enough [power] to help, or hurt, others… Their power often came in a recurring dream” (225). The Paiutes also considered the sun an especially powerful spirit, which they prayed to daily. Next, the Shoshone people believes in the importance of dreams and visions to acquire help but unlike the Paiutes, the Shoshone believe in help from spirits instead of shamans. The author Pritzker states, “Such spirits instructed people on the use of medicines with which to activate their power… Spirits might cause illness, protect an individual from arrows, or hurt other people” (237). The Shoshone also believe that all men could cure, although there were also professionals. Lastly the Blackfoot tribe, whose religious beliefs have some similarities to Paiute and the Shoshone people in that, they believe spirits, which everyone can connect with, inhabit the world. The Shoshone understand the sun as being a deity, so much so that “sweating is considered a religious activity” (Pritzker 304). Unlike the Paiute, the Shoshone believe only those who are apart of the religious societies are allowed to heal people, and the role of the individual’s religious activity “is the acquisition of guardian spirits through prayerful vision quests in remote places” (Pritzker 304).
Due to the population and proximity of these three groups they shared vaguely similar ideas of religion, but this region as a whole is know for more than its culture, the tribes residing in this region have left an impact in today’s culture. According to the Encyclopedia...

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