Native American Religion Research Paper

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To practice mainstream religions on U.S. soil has become such a second nature due to the inherent right of the First Amendment that those who practice or benefit from it fail to see its privilege because not everyone since 1776 has been able use that right. This form of self-determination, depending on the individual, has been used as a means of relaxation, communica-tion, and even escape. For the Native American community, “ The Indian Religion has no name because it 's part of all Indian life…Everything natural comes from God and is made by Him. God is in you and part of you. The Bible and our own religion are closely related. The only dif-ference is that we practice and live ours every day.- Ernie Peters,Dakota” ( Native American Rights …show more content…
This loss of population further impacted the Native American community due to the lack of public ac-knowledgment of these deaths by the dominant culture and the denial of Native Americans to properly mourn their losses. Mourning practices were disrupted when an 1883 federal law pro-hibited Native Americans from practicing traditional ceremonies. This law remained in effect until 1978, when the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was enacted. This disenfranchised grief has resulted in the Native American people not being able to display traditional grief prac-tices As a result, subsequent generations have been left with feelings of shame, powerlessness and subordination. (Rice Brown Kathleen. Examining The Theory of Historical Trauma Among Native Americans. http://tpcjournal.nbcc.org/examining-the-theory-of-historical-trauma-among-native-americans/) The unavailability and disrespect towards the practices of Native American ceremonies lead to a mental health traumatic impact to what now is known as the idea of the soul wound. Within the mental health discourse, soul wound can be understood as the spiritual injury resulting from the effects of colonization. The systematic destruction of the initiation ceremonies of many (though not all) tribes, like among Apache where there were ceremonies for every step of …show more content…
As a Christian nation-a concept which has been consistently upheld and supported by the Supreme Court-the United States has been compelled to give Indians the gift of Christianity as a part of its program of forced assimilation. (Ojibwa, The American Indian Reli-gious Freedom Act. April 10, 2012. http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1322) The irony in this thinking process is that part of U.S history consists of the Mayflower history. Members of a radical Puritans faction known as the English Separatist broke illegal from the Church of Eng-land and came to settle in the New World because they felt after immigrating to the Netherlands under the lenient Dutch laws they would lose their English language and heritage. Now after hundreds of years we see that that particular separation from Church and People didn’t do much healing because this nation became a Christian based nation with the same type of conformity their ancestors escaped from. “If you were not Christian you couldn’t own land. The government knew that power resides within [Native American] spiritual practices. In systematically replacing [Native American] practices with Christian churches and their government agents, the U.S. was able to destabilize many of the [Native American] communities.” (Sacred Land Film Project. In-digenous Reflections on Christianity.

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