Religion, or lack thereof, provides the foundation for a culture’s way of life.
development stems from the need for humans to understand their origins, surroundings, and
reason for being.
From this perspective, there is no justification for any religion to be
disregarded, as it is simply a mode for understanding the world and forming a way of life that
has meaning within a culture.
Yet, Christianity has historically disregarded other religions to a
point that resembles a dictatorship.
Its pervasive tactics are comparable to America’s economic
influence all over the world, especially in countries like Iraq, where we have invaded the
country, disassembled the government, and forcefully established an American-like territory
complete with McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
American Indian people have,
similarly, endured an onslaught of foreign people and religion that has severely inhibited their
ability to maintain their own cultures and belief systems.
The authors featured in this class paint
vivid images and leave lasting impressions in the poems that celebrate their customs, provide
evidence of the change undergone in these customs, and engage us in the ongoing struggle in
Though each indigenous tribe has its own unique religious beliefs and
practices, all seem to be rooted in “a belief in the creation of all things and the holiness of sky,
land, and people” (Ortiz,74).
Throughout the poetry we have read, the authors describe a
spiritual connection their people have to the earth, its creatures, and the sky or heavens.
woman I am blessed, made of you” (Turcotte,16).
They exhibit respect for the world as
something to live
rather than live
For example, Harjo claims, “We are part of an old
story and involved in it are migrations of winds, of ocean currents, of seeds, songs and
generations of nations” (Harjo,14). She illustrates a natural beauty in the oneness between the
history of the world and that of all its inhabitants.
A relationship to the wind, ocean, land,