"Wah'kon-tah is the sum of all things, the collective totality that always was - without beginning, without end. Neither a force nor a spirit, it is the inexplicable sharing - togetherness that makes all things, animal and inanimate, of equal value, equal importance, and equal consequence because they are all Wah'kon-tah simultaneously, their forms collectively creating the form of Wah'kon-ton which is, obviously, incapable of being anthropomorphised."

Sanders and Peek.

So -

  • Humans are just a part of nature, not its master.
  • The Great Spirit is not sentient like the Christian, Jewish or Muslim God is.
  • The Great Spirit cannot be given human characteristics - man is not created in the image of the spirit.
  • The meeting of science and spirituality of Gaia has a lot in common with the idea of the Great Spirit.
Indians held circles in great reverence - the Circle of Life. They saw everything as being explained by circles - the changing of the seasons, the interdependency of nature. They believed all things had a spirit, including inanimate objects. They saw hunting as "spiritual bargaining" in which they paid for their kills with dances and rituals.

This was an oral culture, so important ideas were passed down from generation to generation by the wise people. Many stories were lost to the epidemics brought to the continent by the whites.

In response to coffy:
The Indian people all had the same basic beliefs and traditions, and they all coexisted well together. There were plenty of wars - but warfare was a sort of game in which the point was to get out alive and bond tribes. Many tribes belonged to Indian nations, and there was a sort of government structure.

In short, all the points I've mentioned here are so generalistic that they apply to almost all tribes.

I feel I should point out that before the Europeans invaded the continent (and decimated vast swathes of the native population), a huge number of tribes existed on the North American continent. Each had a distinct language and culture, with a different mythology and religious beliefs. The concept of "the beliefs of Native Americans in general" seems pretty suspect to me. It's rather like claiming that all the indigenous peoples of Africa have the same culture, which is patently false.

All this to say, Noung, please tell us which Native Americans you're talking about.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.