Native American religion and values
Native Americans in the 19th century were very religious people - but their spiritual beliefs were quite different from those of the new settlers on the Great Plains.
Although early European settlers in America decided that Native Americans had no religion, the opposite was true. In fact Native Americans were very religious.
Whenever the hunter came across a beautiful scene ... he paused for a moment in worship.
Native American belief
Although many Native Americans believed in a great spirit - called Wakan Tanka - their religion was animistic [Animistic: Describes anyone of anything associated with animism - a belief that there are living souls in trees, stones, stars, etc. ]. It was based on the desire to appease 'the spirits', which they did in a variety of ways.
Native Americans were true lovers of nature. They believed that humankind ought to live in a way to fit in with nature. They especially loved the land, which they called their 'mother'. As the Sioux chief, Luther Standing Bear, said:
Man's heart away from Nature becomes hard.
Luther Standing Bear
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