Native American Religion

Native American Religion


Article Index:

Blackfeet religion and spirituality

The Blackfeet Creator is Na’pi (Old Man). This is the word used to indicate any old man, though its meaning is usually loosely given as white. An analysis of the word Na’pi, however, shows it to be compounded of the word Ni’nah (man), and the particle a’pi, which expresses a color and which is never used by itself, but always in combination with some other word.

The Blackfeet word for white is Ksik-si-num’ while a’pi, though also conveying the idea of whiteness, actually describes the tint seen in the early morning light when it first appears in the east. The dawn is not a pure white, but has a faint cast of yellow. Na’pi, therefore, would seem to mean ‘dawn-light-color-man,’ or ‘man-yellowish-white.’ This is also the color of many old men’s hair.

Chinigchinich, religious God of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians

Chinigchinich is an ethnographic account of the culture and notably religious beliefs of the native Californians in the vicinity of the famous mission San Juan Capistrano. This is the mission where the swallows, legendarily, return every year. There is nothing, however, about the returning swallows in this book. Boscana was one of the few Spanish missionaries who, like Bishop Landa in the Yucatan, actually took an interest in the culture they were destroying.

Boscana was, typically, a bigot and a racist (he describes the Indians as being like monkeys). However, he lived among them for decades and obviously had an inquisitive mind and a talent for observation. While he condemns the practices and beliefs of the indigenous people, he describes them in great detail. Barring a time machine, this is the only first-hand account of mission-era Juaneños we will ever have.

The translator of this treatise, Alfred Robinson, was one of the first Yankees to settle in California.

Haudenosaunee Spiritual Mythology

These Haudenosaunee spiritual concepts are intended as a general reference guide for students of Eastern Woodland mythology. The format will consist of a Name (and occasionally a translation in the Seneca or Seneca-Mingo dialects) with a description of the divinity.

Indian gods, godesses and dieties
Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Puberty Rites
Juaneño Band of Mission Indians: Description of the Vanquech or Temple
Lakota Spiritual Mythology
Mayan Spiritual Mythology
Mountain Spirits
Native American Church
Pawnee Beliefs
Seven Drums Religion (Washat)
Superstitions of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians
The Aztec Gods and Goddesses
The Indian Shaker Church Religion
The Sun Dance
We must honor the buffalo! We are buffalo people
What the buffalo mean to our people
Wovoka’s ghost dance vision
Yurok Religious Beliefs and Burial Customs