Lately I have been reading more about Native Americans (and watching more First Nation Experience TV) and I have realized I know next to nothing about Native Americans except what I have seen in the movies. What a shame. I suspect that our European forefathers made a grave error when they pushed the Native Americans off Native American lands. Aside from the injustice, they ignored Native American wisdom, to their own detriment. My own error is that I haven’t tried to learn more of this wisdom myself. However, I am trying to correct that mistake.

In reading Healing Secrets of the Native Americans, by Porter Shimer, I came across a couple of interesting paragraphs which I share with you in this blog:

On page 19, “The earliest European settlers considered Native Americans essentially as pagan, but that was both inaccurate and unjust, for they were intensely religious. They believed not in the singular God of the Christian tradition, but rather in a spirit world embodied in animals, plants, and the physical elements of earth itself. They prayed to these spirits, gave them gifts of appreciation, asked for guidance, and appealed to them for good health when ill. Again, these prayers bore little resemblance to Christian worship. They were usually performed in elaborate group ceremonies involving song, chanting, and dance.”

And on page 21, “In their faith, they simply appealed to those higher powers and did so with additional belief in the strength of numbers. Traditionally, as many friends and relatives of the patient as possible would attend a Native American healing ceremony so that the power of their prayers would be compounded for greater effect. The communal aspect of their healing ceremonies was symbolic of the harmony between man and the natural environment that the Native Americans believed was so crucial. For them, religion and community life were inseparable.”

Close your eyes and imagine being part of that healing ceremony for a family or community member. Imagine a large group of supporters praying for the healing of one of their community. The healing power must have been awesome.