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6 pages/≈1650 words
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Religion & Theology
English (U.S.)
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Research Current Native Americans Beliefs and Practices (Essay Sample)


For this benchmark, students will research a Native American community’s culture, oral tradition, religious texts, historical background, and current beliefs and practices. It is advisable to visit the Native American community or a museum that would contribute significantly to the research. If possible, interview a Native American leader from the community or a museum expert about that community.
In a 1650 words presentation, include the following:
Name of the Native American community and the historical religious beliefs and practices of that community
Significance of historical beliefs and the related social, cultural, and theological practices
How historical beliefs and religious practices have been influenced by the dominant American culture
Current religious beliefs and practices and how they are seen in the daily life of a typical member of the community
Elements of the traditional religion that a Christian would need to consider when sharing the Christian faith/gospel with a person from this community
Use 3-5 academic resources.


Institutional Affiliation:
Native Americans Beliefs and Practices
The Native American Beliefs and Practices are considered as sacramental practices of different indigenous populations existing in America. Until late 1950's, the American Society assumed that the beliefs and practices of the Native Americans were little curious anachronisms and dying remnants that were fading away from the society.
This aspect is attributed to the fact that these practices and beliefs lacked sacred doctrines and texts including moral codes that were primarily embedded within the community (Aftandilian, 2011). However, this situation has changed since several religious scholars of ecological studies are currently committed to deepening and expanding their belief systems and practices as detailed in their traditions. This paper seeks to conduct a study on the Native American Beliefs and Practices.
Historical, Religious Beliefs and Practices of the Cherokee Indians
The Cherokee Indians are considered as one of the largest Native American tribes that settled in the Southern part of America. The tribes originated from Iroquoian descent and were originally from the Great Lakes region but settled closer to the east coast. Despite the traditional folklores, the Cherokee Indians primarily lived in cabins of logs and were considered as a strong tribe that had several smaller sections that were lead by chiefs. According to Aftandilian (2011) this tribe was highly spiritual and religious (pp.192). On the other hand, it is important to note that when the American Revolution occurred, the Cherokee Indians engaged by supporting the British soldiers in battle.
In consideration of this, it is vital to establish that historically, Cherokee Indians were believed to have evolved from Choctaw, a word that meant cave people. Traditionally, the Individuals who consider themselves as Cherokee's are referred to as “aniyun-wiya,” a name that means real people. The oral tradition of this population believes in a time when the Cherokees were ruled by a powerful priest who was known as ani-Kutani (Fogelson, 2014). The priest is supposed to have taken away a young man's wife and organized a revolt that saw all the other priests killed, an aspect that points to the rationale why the Cherokees have a democratic kind of government. It is out of these early beliefs that the Cherokees developed a particular regard for cougar and owls that are honored in this populations Creation stories since they are the only animals considered to have stayed awake for the seven nights of creation while the others were sleeping. This aspect depicts their nocturnal habits and exceptional vision at night.
The Cherokee's believe in rivers also known to them as the long man since the community considers them as sacred. Given this, the community believes in practices of going to water in a bid to get purified and engage in other ceremonies. In the contemporary society, the rivers and other water bodies are still considered as sacred, with the practice of going to water for purification still prominent among the Cherokee's (Fogelson, 2014). The common culture of the Cherokee's takes consideration of spiritual beings, in as much as these beings are considered different from animals and people, the community views them as supernatural and a part of the natural world. Given this, most of the Cherokee's relate their experiences with such spiritual beings.
A group of spiritual beings as viewed by the Cherokee's are considered as the little people since man cannot easily see them. When these beings allow themselves to be seen, they tend to appear like Cherokee with many having long hairs that reach to the ground. The Little People also known as spiritual beings live in different p...
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