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Religion & Spirituality of North American Indians

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Native American Sacred Plants

The Native American Church claims a membership of 250,000, which would constitute the largest of the Native American religious organizations. Though the church traces the sacramental use of the peyote cactus back ten thousand years, the Native American Church was only founded in 1918. Well into the reservation era, this organization was achieved with the help of a Smithsonian Institute anthropologist.

The church incorporates generic Native American religious rites, Christianity, and the use of the peyote plant. The modern peyote ritual is comprised of four parts: praying, singing, eating peyote, and quietly contemplating.

The Native American Church, or Peyote Church, illustrates a trend of modifying and manipulating traditional Native American spirituality. The Native American Church incorporates Christianity, as well as moving away from tribal specific religion. Christianity has routinely penetrated Native American spirituality in the last century. And in the last few decades, New Age spirituality has continued the trend.

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Also see Wildcrafting & Herbs

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