North America

Indigenous North American religions include a multiplicity of localized traditions with different languages, varying beliefs, and diverse ritual practices. As with other ancient traditions, the term "religion" is less than adequate in describing indigenous North American beliefs and rituals. More accurately labeled "worldviews," these traditions make no distinction between the religious and secular, or the natural and supernatural realms. Among the First Nations Peoples - as many indigenous North American traditions prefer to be called - the social, political, and spiritual are indistinguishable from each other and understood to all be elements of a balanced whole.  The worldviews of the indigenous peoples of North American not only connect individuals to each other, but also to nature and the spirits. This is evidenced by the common understanding that mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, clouds, etc. are all spiritual beings.  With over 300 localized indigenous communities, it is difficult to make any generalizations, but some similarities can be discerned. Most of these traditions have mythologies that are passed on orally. These mythologies help orient individuals and communities to each other and to the world. Devotion to one's relatives is an important virtue within many indigenous North American communities. This not only includes fulfilling one's communal duties, but also following the structure of authority which is often determined by age and the veneration of one's ancestors. Most of these communities also have rituals and ceremonies for the important events in the cycles of life: birth, puberty, death, harvest, hunting, etc. 

Quick Facts

Formed -4000
Adherents Unknown
Deity Various deities, many associated with nature
Sacred Text Oral, song
Origin North America
Headquarters None
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