Native Americans Today 1) Religious and Spiritual Expression • Like other aspects of Native American culture, the expression of religion is diverse, reflecting the variety of tribal traditions and the assimilationist pressure of the Europeans. Initially, missionaries and settlers expected Native Americans simply to forsake their traditions for European Christianity, and, as in the case of the Ghost Dance, sometimes force was used to do so. • Today’s Native Americans are asking that their cultural traditions be recognized as an expression of pluralist rather than assimilationist coexistence. • Today, many Protestant churches and Roman Catholic parishes with large tribal congregations incorporate customs such as the sacred pipe ceremony, native incenses, ceremonies affirming care for the earth, and services and hymns in native languages. After generations of formal and informal pressure to adopt Christian faiths and their rituals, in 1978 Congress enacted the American Indian Religious Freedom Act
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