Native American Culture - Stone Age Culture
The life styles of Native Americans ranged from nomadic, semi-nomadic to static. They lived in separate tribes across the vast continent of North America and despite this many of them shared similar beliefs and culture. The Native Americans had occupied North America for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans. Their North American culture and pre-historic Stone Age lifestyle and culture had never altered in all of this time. The Native Americans had never undergone the changes and transition to the Bronze Age culture or the Iron Age culture. Their weapons and tools were all made of stone, they had not experienced the use of metals, their culture was a primitive one.
Native American Culture - Religion and Beliefs - Animism
The primitive religions of the Native Americans was based on the culture of Animism. Animism was a commonly shared doctrine, or belief, of the indigenous people and various Indian Tribes of North America. Animism is a religion based on the spiritual idea that the universe, and all natural objects within the universe, have souls or spirits. In this religion it is believed that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals, plants, trees, rocks etc. This belief and culture is also extended to natural phenomena such as thunder storms and rain and geographic features such as mountains, caves or rivers also possess souls or spirits. The Native Americans had no science to explain nature which led to their belief that the sun, rain, and other forces were controlled by spirits. In religion the Native Indians worshiped animals, plants, the sun, rain, and wind refer to Power Animals and Animal Spirits. In festivals, ceremonies and prayers they tried to gain the favor of these gods.
Native American Culture - The Great Spirit
The Great Spirit is believed by many Native Indians to be a supreme being or creator of life. A divine power that created the world.
Native American Culture - The Shaman or Medicine Man
The religion and beliefs of the American Indians were also dominated by the culture of shamanism in which a religious leader, called a Shaman or Medicine Man, acted as a medium between the visible world and the spirit world. The Shamans or Medicine Men had special powers, medicine and magic to heal the sick, control the hunt, and predict the future.
Native American Culture - Traditional Religious Ceremonies and Customs
The basic idea of Animism religion and culture extended further as people grew to believe that the Great Spirit or spirits were invested and interested in human life, and the Native Indians therefore performed ceremonies and rituals to worship or appease the spirits and this was included in the North American culture. The rituals and beliefs displayed in ceremonies show a blending of interest by promoting and preserving their hunting and farming and the survival of it's people with showing respect to the spirit. Interesting facts and information about culture including Animism, Totemism, Fetishism, Shamanism.
Native American Culture - Religious Festivals
Festivals were devised that incorporated this culture and these ceremonies and rituals were held at seasonal periods throughout the year and commonly occurred during important agricultural periods. The festivals often continued over several days and were accompanied by feasting, singing, chanting, music and dancing. The ceremonies and rituals followed at the festivals were handed down through the generation and the culture remained unchanged for centuries.
Native American Culture - Religious Dances
The culture of festivals and ceremonies included both chanting an singing which accompanied various types of dances. The Native American culture included famous dances such as the Pipe Dance, Deer Dance, Rain Dance culture , Buffalo Dance, Scalp Dance culture, Basket Dance, Dog Dance, Green Corn Dance, Doll Dance, Hoop Dance, Hopi Snake Dance culture, War Dance, Sun Dance and Ghost Dance. Most of these dances were specific to the culture of individual tribes.