America and Indian race — страница 13

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father to the west and south-west. Northward from the Columbia the body was deposited in a canoe raised upon posts, while cave burial reappeared among the Aleut of Alaska, and earth burial among the Eskimo. The dread of mentioning the name of the dead was as universal as destroying the property of the deceased, even to the killing of his horse or dog, while the custom of placing food near the grave for the spirit during the journey to the other world was almost as common, Laceration of the body, cutting off of the hair, general neglect of the person, and ceremonial wailing, morning and evening, sometimes for weeks, were also parts of their funeral customs. Beyond the directly inherited traditional Native American religions, a wide body of modified sects abounds.The Native

American Church claims a membership of 250,000, which would constitute the largest of the Native America religious organizations. Though the church traces the sacramental use ofthe peyote cactus back ten thousand years, the Native American Сhurch 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. *** All of the American Native cultures had in common a deep spiritual relationship with the land and the life forms it supported. According to First Nations spiritual beliefs, human beings are participants in a world of interrelated spiritual forms. First Nations maintain great respect for all living things. With the arrival of European newcomers, this delicate balance of life forms was disrupted. In the 18th and 19th centuries, contact with Europeans began to change traditional ways of life forever. Native americans and the newcomers The

formulation of public policy toward the Indians was of concern to the major European colonizing powers. Colonization The Spanish tried assiduously to Christianize the natives and to remake their living patterns. Orders were issued to congregate scattered Indian villages in orderly, well-placed centers, assuring the Indians at the same time that by moving to such centers they would not lose their outlying lands. This was the first attempt to create Indian reservations. The promise failed to protect Indian land, according to the Franciscan monk and historian of Mexico, Juan Torquemada, who reported about 1599 that there was hardly "a palm of land" that the Spaniards had not taken. Many Indians who did not join the congregations for fear of losing what they owned fled to

mountain places and lost their lands anyway. The Russians never seriously undertook colonization in the New World. When Peter I the Great sent Vitus Jonassen Bering into the northern sea that bears his name, interest was in scientific discovery, not overseas territory. Later, when the problem of protecting and perhaps expanding Russian occupation was placed before Catherine II the Great, she declared (1769): It is for traders to traffic where they please. I will furnish neither men, nor ships, nor money, and I renounce forever all lands and possessions in the East Indies and in America. The Swedish and Dutch attempts at colonization were so brief that neither left a strong imprint on New World practices. The Dutch government, however, was probably the first (1645) of the European

powers to enter into a formal treaty with an Indian tribe, the Mohawk. Thus began a relationship, inherited by the British, that contributed to the ascendancy of the English over the French in North America. France handicapped its colonial venture by transporting to the New World a modified feudal system of land tenure that discouraged permanent settlement. Throughout the period of French occupation, emphasis was on trade rather than on land acquisition and development, and thus French administrators, in dealing with the various tribes, tried primarily only to establish trade relations with them. The French instituted the custom of inviting the headmen of all tribes with which they carried on trade to come once a year to Montreal, where the governor of Canada gave out presents