THE RESTORATION OF TRADITIONAL SPIRITUALITY IS PRIORITY #1 FOR NATIVE PEOPLES TODAY! by Damon CorrieTweet
I for example am a traditionalist that still follows our Lokono-Arawak animist spirituality (and I am trying to revive it again in my tribe), a non-traditionalist indigenous person who is devoted to some patriarchal religion of someone else’s culture will not be able to explain any of this to you…. so whereas I will list ‘restoration of traditional spirituality and moral values as the most important problem and solution’ for native communities today…indigenous assimilation proponents will likely disdain them (possibly because they are unaware of what constitutes truly ‘traditional spirituality’ themselves).
Traditional Amerindian spirituality (contrary to the fallacies and cherished myths of European assumptions), does NOT involve ‘worshipping rocks, the sun, moon, hurricanes etc….it involves the worship of the one Creator God, the Great Holy spirit/divine mystery…..and recognizes that it created all these things that man cannot (including the weather), so we see the presence of the divine in every natural creation/formation, it does not mean we ‘worship’ the Creation – just the Creator that made it come into existence, so praying while looking at these creations never meant we were worshipping the Sun or the Moon etc. that is akin to a non-Christian observing an Anglican or Catholic ritual with the priest holding the incense dispenser aloft as it emitted smoke – then going back to report to others that ‘the Christians worship a box on a chain that smokes’…when truth is – like our Semis – it was just part of the ritual.
I say Semi because there is no letter Z in Lokono-Arawak – the Europeans called our wooden religious carvings ‘Zemis’ but we call them ‘Semi’…as it is a holy object (and we know the carver in our tribes who make them…no ‘mystery’ there), just as a holy man is ‘Semichichi’. The tides (and to us childbirth as well) are influenced by the Moon – so the Moon is a sacred creation, no plant and therefore no human or animal could survive without the Sun, so the Sun is a sacred Creation and while we do believe there are many good and bad spiritual entities who seek to replace the one God by deceiving mortal men around us invisibly in this life – there is only one almighty Holy Creator God over all.
We believe in dreams and in spirits being able to inhabit the bodies of animals…and Christians laugh when I say that – until I remind them of the hundreds of times that Dreams & the interpretations thereof factor in the Bible for the Hebrews (who like Jesus were also a ‘both genders having long hair was considered sacred’ indigenous tribal people as we are), and I remind them that the evil spirits that were in the possessed man Jesus helped in the ‘legion’ story – asked Jesus to let them enter into the bodies of a herd of swine nearby and he allowed them to do so…and they ran off a cliff and fell into the sea…proving that according even to the Gospels which are the bedrock of Christianity – our belief that spirits can inhabit the bodies of animals is true….even in Revelations you read of an Eagle as a messenger of God flying in mid heaven saying woe onto the inhabitants of the Earth for their sins…another example of commonality – yet when we say we revere the Eagle as a messenger of God, foolish Christians laugh……I don’t think they know their own Bible very well at all.
In these times of severe Climate change – our traditional spiritual beliefs that we are merely PART of nature (not superior to it) and that as the LAST beings created (even the Adam & Eve story says man as created LAST)- our role is to be caretakers of all the creation that came before us – so it is more important for our youths to be taught OUR ways more than any foreign religion that teaches man must ‘subdue the Earth’ and is ‘worth more than any other life form’ as patriarchal religions teach…that has fostered a great and vaingloriously introverted egotistical view in the hearts and minds of man and led us to this world of avaricious consumerism we see before us.
We say we are connected to all living things, and since we were Created LAST (even Christianity, Judaism & Islam teach that also) – ALL the rest of Creation are our elders, so when we talk about ‘respecting our elders’ we are not only talking about older humans, we are talking about the entire plant and animal kingdoms too.
Vegetarians for example can’t understand how we say we are connected to nature and yet eat animals, they do not understand the world as we do, we feed on animals when we are alive and animals feed on us when we die, it is a natural cycle… but unlike a non spiritual person – before we kill an animal we first ask it to allow us to use it’s body to feed our own, and second we ask for forgiveness of the animal for having to use it’s body to feed our own, and third we thank it for allowing us and forgiving us…..it is never just aim and shoot like a non spiritual hunter/harvester does.
In tribes like the Inuit of the Artic circle – NO crops grow at their latitude so their diets are 100% meat, were it not so they could not survive there, so vegetarianism is not a panacea for all. Even in our use of plants – we do what most vegetarians do not, before we pick a leaf or a fruit or cut wood to use – we first ask the plant or tree for permission, then forgiveness for taking, then thanks to the tree or plant for allowing us to use it.
For us it is a bad thing to take what is not ours without asking for permission & forgiveness, and giving thanks in return, it is also a bad thing to take what you do not actually need (there is a HUGE difference in ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ and every follower of traditionalist spirituality knows this by heart).