American Indian Sacred Society
Our purpose is to provide a place where American Indians can pray and worship in our own traditional way. American Indian spiritual groups, unlike other religious entities, do not have churches. Our place of spiritual worship is the natural world. American Indian spiritual societies, in structure, are equivalent to church organizations in the sense that they are bodies or communities of people that share the same faith and observe the same rituals and ceremonies. American Indian spiritual societies carry out the functions of a church. Our spiritual society will also be providing education about ceremonial tradition and the spiritual history of our people. It is also our intent to do charitable work for our people and our communities.
American Indian Sacred Society Supported Ceremonial Events
A Message From Medicine Chief Lee Thunderbear
As spiritual stewards of the Earth, and particularly caretakers of sacred sites, we follow these spiritual principles:
American Indian Spiritual Sovereignty
Our spiritual knowledge and ritual has come to us directly from the Great Spirit. This is directly related to the "Law of Nature" which the Great Spirit, the Sovereign of the Universe, has prescribed to all Indian people.
The Natural World
Native Americans, as Indigenous Peoples, begin each day with a prayer to the Creator asking for guidance, then close each day with a prayer giving our thanks for our bounty. This brings our minds together in thanks for every part of the natural world. We are grateful that each part of our natural world continues to fulfill the responsibilities that have been set for it by our Creator, in an unbreakable relationship to each other. As the roles and responsibilities are fulfilled, we are allowed to live our lives in peace. We are grateful for the natural order put in place and regulated by natural laws.
Most of our traditional ceremonies are about giving thanks, at the right time and in the right way. They are what were given to us, what makes us who we are. They enable us to speak about life itself. Maintaining our ceremonies is an important part of our life. There is nothing more important than preserving life, celebrating life, and that is what the ceremonies do. Our instruction tells us that we are to maintain our ceremonies, however few of us there are, so that we can fulfill the spiritual responsibilities given to us by the Creator.
The balance of men and women is the leading principle of our wisdom. This balance is the creative principle of Father Sky and Mother Earth that fosters life. In our traditions, it is women who carry the seeds, both of our own future generations and of the plant life. It is women who bear and raise the children, and women who plant and tend the gardens. The women remind us of our connection to the earth, for it is from the earth that all life comes.
We draw no line between what is political and what is spiritual. Our leaders are also our spiritual leaders. In making any law, our leaders must consider three things: the effect of their decisions on peace; the effect on the natural order and law; and the effect on future generations. The natural order and laws are self-evident and do not need scientific proof. We believe that all lawmakers should be required to think this way, that all constitutions should contain these principles.
This way of life is based on an attitude of piety, reverence, acceptance, and affirmation concerning the cosmic order; our way of life is an attempt to live in harmony with cosmic principles. American Indian spiritual beliefs posit the existence of a spiritual realm upon which life depends. It is a great mystery that manifests itself, makes itself felt, supports human existence, and to which ritual is directed. Indian religious beliefs consist partially of ideas regarding the spiritual realm that permeates the world.
The spiritual is grounded in the physical world, so related to the human community, that it is almost indistinguishable. It is this spirit that orients people and gives them meaning. Humans are grounded in matter, related to other life forms, kept alive by community, but supported ultimately by spiritual entities. These are our sources of ritual celebration. American Indian spiritual beliefs are centered on relations with sacred geography, ancestors, animals and medicinal plants, symbolic artifacts, tribal identity, and ritual celebration.
Myths and Ceremonies
Indians express their religious beliefs in what are called "myths," the most important stories a people have to tell, and in prayers, in songs, in dance, and other verbal forms. Indian ritual activities include ceremonies that mark the seasons, passages from one stage of life to another, commemorations of important events, thanksgivings, healings, purifications initiations, and blessings. We imitate animals, we mourn the dead, conjoin the spiritual and human realms, praise the cosmic order and seek answers. Hunting, farming, gathering of herbs all have religious significance. The four elements of earth, fire, water, and air sustain all life.
Spirits of animals, water, light, wind, crops and land have filled and continue to fill Indian people's lives. To an Indian, the whole way of life has religious potential. Animals, plants, streams, mountains have the potential for life and can be treated as persons who can express will and can suffer. In short, Indians have regarded the beings of nature as worthy of respect and ethical consideration. We do not see nature as a commodity to be conquered, as a nonliving collection of natural resources to be exploited. Our dependence on nature has taken the quality of devotion, a recognition of the Earth as source of life, as nourisher. As a result, Indians have conceived their deities as aspects of nature, embedded in natural processes and sites.
Part of Native Americans' spiritual power comes from the land. We believe in our sovereign aboriginal rights of original Indian title and occupancy on our own historical land and in our free exercise of our spiritual practices. We believe that our ancestors are considered continuing members of the cosmos of relations, and their remains deserve proper treatment. In many cases the dead serve as intermediaries to the spiritual realm; or they are transformed into life giving rain clouds; or they appear in dreams to provide advice and share powers. We believe that a human soul persists after death. The bones of the departed symbolize the eternal, spiritual elements of being. The grave sites of our ancestors must remain undisturbed if the land is to stay healthy and productive.
Our role and responsibility, as human beings, is to live peacefully and in a harmonious balance with all life. Our cultures are based on this harmony, peace and ecological balance, which insure long-term sustainability for future generations.
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