Native Americans And Native American Religion Essay example

Native Americans And Native American Religion Essay example

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The environment has proven over time that it has the power to cause change in its inhabitants. Native Americans were not an exception to this common occurrence, as they had to adapt to the changes in the environment that surrounded them. The Europeans came to the “new world” and disrupted the original culture of the land. Native Americans were compelled to assimilate their own traditions and culture to one more fitting of their new surroundings. Their religion was a component that changed drastically into a decline that left it without any of the original rituals, beliefs, and traditions. Some of factors that contributed to this shift in religion are disease, the fur trade, the European tourists, the economy, the Christian missionaries, and the Ghost Dance. Ultimately, the factors chained together to gradually disrupt the Native American religion.
The European’s brought small pox with them when arriving into the “new” land. Unfortunately, the Native American’s were not previously exposed to the disease, and therefore, had no immunity built up to contest its strength. They “died in staggering numbers” as they were “radically vulnerable to small pox and other European diseases” (Martin, 2000). Some of the other diseases contracted include chicken pox, the flu, typhus, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and cholera, which left families and tribes incomplete (Martin, 2000). Scholars have not been able to determine the exact mortality rate because they have no knowledge of the population before the epidemic. However what is clear is that “a great proportion died” and “almost all nation’s suffered as contagious microbes did not discriminate among Hopi and Pueblo farmers, Koyukon hunter-gatherers, Mississippian villagers, and Aztec city dw...


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...s of the time reflected in their religion and “introduced major disruptions” but this upset “did not destroy them” (Martin, 2000). The stories and traditions were still carried along from generations to current day practice. It was possible as “ a shaman died, but a hunter remembered the songs of his father” and “a priest perished, but a seed-planter remembered the chants of her mother” (Martin, 2000). Certainly efforts were made in sharing the main concepts of their religion to the children as to continue its presence. The environment is persistently fluctuating, and the components that remain are those resilient enough to survive the journey. The Native American religion verified its place in the world as the result of the “long process of adapting to life in the new world created by unprecedented diseases and the novel presence of diverse European” (Martin, 2000).

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