Native American Beliefs and Practices

Many Native Americans, particularly in the Southwest have maintained their original traditions. Most follow a personal faith that combines traditional and Christian elements. Many have been devoted Christians for generations. Pan Indianism is a recent movement which encourages a return to traditional beliefs. Creating a common Native religion is an important goal for this movement.In the Inuit culture, spiritual beliefs revolve around the idea that anua (souls) exist in all people and animals. Members of the tribe must follow a complex system of taboos to assure the hunters that the animals will continue to be accessible. Many rituals and ceremonies are performed before and after hunting expeditions to assure hunting success. The Angakut or Shaman is the spiritual leader of each tribe. He is able to interpret the causes of sickness or lack of hunting success.
Originating from the Ojibway (Chippewa) tribe, dream catchers are an American Indian tradition.The dream catcher is a tool used by various Native American Indian tribes to separate the bad from the good. Hung above the bed, a dream catcher protects the sleeper from bad dreams and negative influences. Some believe that it serves as a spiritual protector .The dream catcher is believed to let the good dreams pass through while trapping and destroying the bad. Others believe the bad pass through the center hole while the good are preserved in the web. Some tribes believe that dream catchers also represent the circle of life, with birth starting at the outer rim.
In order to make a dream catcher, the people would tie strands in a web around a small round frame.The legend is that the bad dreams will get caught in the web.. A knot in the webbing of the dream catcher was considered good luck.They believed itsymbolized the tying together of different aspects of the persons life, such as marriage.Small items are added to personalize them such as f…


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