Native American History

A Grandfather’s Story

  History Between 1880’s and 1930’s the U.S. authorities attempted to ban Native American Religious Rituals including the Great Ghost Dance and the Peyote Cult. In Canada the same restrictive tendencies prevailed.
  In more recent years, however, governmental authorities have adopted a more supportive attitude toward the practice of Native American Spirituality. In 1978 the Congress of the United States passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, an official expression of goodwill towards the Native American Spirituality. In the wake of this legislation, many Religious practices once considered on the verge of disappearing were revived. These include the Pipe Ceremonies, Sweat Lodge, Vision Quest and the Sun Dance.
   In an unforeseen consequence of the Native American Religious revival, some non-Native American followers of the New Age Movement have adopted Native American beliefs and rituals. New Age enthusiasts have adopted such practices, such as the Sweat Lodge, Pipe Ceremonies, and the use of Crystals and other natural objects traditionally believed to be charged with Spiritual Powers. Native Americans have been pleased to see the non-Native taking an interest in Native Spiritual Traditions.
   Native Americans used gestures and words to communicate in Prayer with the Spiritual sources of life. Prayers were offered for a wide range of needs, including health, agricultural bounty, and success in hunting. Prayers could take a variety of form; song and dance, as well as such acts of sprinkling of corn meal, could function as a prayer. Verbal prayer included expression of thanks giving, requests or pleas and coercive formulas. There were culture variations as well. For example, whereas Iroquois prayer emphasized an attitude of thanks giving towards all things.

A Grandfather’s Story
  “I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much. With no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.
  It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and doses no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing. Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me. For both of them try to dominant my spirit."
  The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?" The Grandfather smiles and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
  Author Unknown
  There is a lesson to be learned from this little story. I have found this to be true in my life, a hard lesson learned well.

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