We are living in a world that is becoming a “global village and a patchwork of faiths” (Prenhall) and subsequently, there is more reason and responsibility to treat each other with respect. The Indigenous people comprise at least four percent of the world population and their religion is distinctly different from other religions. The term Indigenous means occurring naturally in a country. Subsequently, Indigenous religions do not constitute “a world religion” in the same way as other religions. Even though their traditional lives have been disrupted by “genocidal colonization, conversion pressures from global religions, mechanistic materialism and their natural environments, many Indigenous natives maintain a sacred way of life” However, survival in the face of human assault, natural disaster, or deprivation is of concern to the Indigenous people. (Fisher 32). The Indigenous people are rich in ideas and stories, but “people of all faiths have been putting their hearts together for some time now” (Fisher 506). Many of the same principles in all religions teach the importance of setting one’s own selfish interests aside, loving others, harkening to the divine, and exercising control over the mind” (Fisher 502). Millions of people in the continents account for religious beliefs, and moments around the world are the threads of the tapestry we call” religion” (Fisher 2). The word religion means “to tie back,” “to tie again” (Fisher 1). The world in which one lives is perceived with one’s five senses, tying back to a greater reality and experiencing spirituality through religion. Worldwide, near and far, religion is symbolized “through rituals, sacraments, prayers, and spiritual practices to express reverence, to sanctify, to enter into communion, and to bring some human control over things that are not ordinarily controllable through religion” (Fisher 14).
Religion is universal, however, “religions have often split rather than unified humanity, have oppressed, rather than freed, and have terrified rather than inspired” (Fisher 27). Subsequently, religion is in all aspects of human existence the basic foundation of one’s life and “according to Karl Marx, man makes the religion; religion does not make the man” (Fisher 3). However, religion is everywhere and because of it, religion is useful. Sociologist Emile Durkheim in 1858, stated that “humans cannot live without organized social structures, and that religion is the glue that holds a society together” (Fisher 4). Therefore, religions propose ideals that can change people’s lives and provide one with the inner strength to persevere through anything including severe physical illness, privation, terror, or grief” (Fisher 5).
When it comes to religion, many cultures and individuals have come to different conclusions about understanding
“what the mind cannot readily grasp” (Fisher 10), however, religion motivates people to take action through ethical behavior, through worship, service, and sharing experiences with others. People search for peace from within themselves in hopes of living a better life through worship.
Over the passage of time, the Indigenous people and their sacred ways have been misunderstood because of their belief system in the reality of the spirit world. Numerous Indigenous cultures are highly developed where as others live day by day surviving with mother nature. “According to the circle of right relationships, many Indigenous regions believe that everything in the universe and all forms of life are interrelated according to the cosmos and by the movements of the sun, moon, planets, and stars” (Prenhall). Therefore, the Indigenous people hold the circle sacred because “it is never-ending and it keeps coming back to the same place like the cycles of birth, youth, maturity, and physical death” (Fisher 19). Furthermore, the Indigenous people believe that “to maintain the balance of existence, right relationships must be with everything that is” (Prenhall).
Another common aspect of Indigenous religions is with the spirit realms. “The approach to all of life and Indigenous spirituality is referred to as a lifeway in which the sacred and secular are not separate” (Prenhall). The spirit realm is one in which the native religions believe in a Supreme Deity, the One, or belief in the Great Creator that is found in the trees, grass, rivers, mountains, animals, birds, and people. The Supreme One fills all things and the entire world is considered family. Therefore, “humans can help to maintain the natural harmony of the world by practicing ritual observances, from birth, naming, puberty, marriage, and death” (Prenhall). In the world of the Indigenous people, it is considered significant for individuals to experience a person connection with the realm of spirits. Subsequently, another aspect of the spirit realm involves the many unseen powers that are a part of daily life and work.
Henceforth, Indigenous natives feel that their traditional sacred ways are not only valid, but are essential for the future of the world. Other religions are beginning to recognize the value that exists in Indigenous religions because; “people are looking to them for a deeper understanding of the earth, their language gives us insight into geographical history, they have maintained a society without industrialism, and because Indigenous practices are interwoven with global religions we can learn more about our own religion”. (Prezi)
In my opinion, the world of the Indigenous people is a spiritual journey that most people in Western society will never know or experience. Because of their sacred ways, these natives are one with all that they worship and they respect the environment in which they dwell. There society is pure of heart and untouched by the outside world of modern society regardless of “the industrial world’s attempts to dominate the earth” (Fisher 44). There is more reason and responsibility to treat each other with respect, because we are living in a world that is becoming a “global village and a patchwork of faith.”