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Native American Religions Essay

1366 words - 5 pages

Over the century Native American religions have been repressed and misunderstood. There has been little room for them to actually be able to explain their rituals and why it is important to them as a society. This ignorance’s has resulted in the loss of land, false practices with sacred objects, and a lack of education within the rituals of indigenous religions. The indigenous population deserves support to preserve their practices and language. Since most of these religions have been repressed for so long many elders do not wish to teach their kin about their religion in fear of rejection from the modern society. The 21st century has started to transition to a more sympathetic society and I believe if there is more awareness directed towards indigenous religions it would greatly benefit them and their society.
Policies have evolved over the century to tend to the concerns of the indigenous population. Originally they were indirect and ambiguous stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ”(Sacred Space and Religious Freedom In Native American Religions). This could be applied to most religions but in the case of Native American religions it did not enforce enough authority to promote a better lifestyle. Change started to rise through the persecutions of other religions within the century. A major sacred site within Native American religions is Devil’s Tower, which is sacred ground that belongs to the Lakota (Christopher McLeod, Director, In The Light of Reverence, 2001). The name that the Lakota give Devil’s Tower is Mato Tipila or “Lodge of the Bear”. The Lakota gather around the black hills in June to practice their sacred rituals. One of the them involves a rely that follows an ancient route that they claim was a race between the two legged and the four legged animals to determine who would be the strongest and the wisest (Christopher McLeod, Director, In The Light of Reverence, 2001).
Unfortunately Hollywood decided to shoot Close Encounters of a Third Kind, which brought a lot of commercial traffic through this area. This traffic was disruptive to the practices and many Native Americans advocate for this land to be unused for commercial use come the month of June. Even though many have advocated for this proposal it cannot be enforce since Devil’s Tower is located on Federal land, which is open to the public. Rock climbers have also been recommended respect the wishes of the tribe but some rock climbers and outdoor advocates believe that it is their right as Americans to be on this land in June (Sacred Space and Religious Freedom In Native American Religions, 2013). Park rangers recommend that climbers refrain from climbing in June, which has decreased climbers on Devil’s Towers by 85%(Christopher McLeod, Director, In The Light of Reverence, 2001). This land is also considered to be sacred to the Sioux who have fought for centuries to regain the rights to the...

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