Aboriginal Spirituality Part II File

Unit II: Aboriginal Spirituality Part 2
P. 35 – 49
All things have spirits or souls
Spirits return to the world after death
All believe in a supreme Creator, but also
in other personified spirits who guide
human activity.
Black Elk 1863 p. 35
• Sioux holy man
• Great Plains
• “We are all related and are one with all
things of the heavens and the earth.”
Native Rituals p.39 -40
• Morning Dance
• Ojibwa
• Dance pays homage to the “Tree of the
• Fasting, ritual cleansing
• Dance from dawn to noon around the tree
The Sun Dance
Great Plains Nations festival
Cdn gov banned it in 1880
Cottonwood pole represents the “Tree of
the Universe”
• They endure pain as a sacrifice for their
people to the Creator
• Image Links
• The Potlatch Ceremony
• Northwest Pacific Coast nations
• Cdn gov made it illegal in 1884 (lifted in
• Feasting, distributing wealth, and sharing
• Image Links
• Sweat Lodge p. 40
• Dome made of saplings covered with
animal skins
• Intense heat and steam perform a physical
and spiritual cleansing.
• Prayers and a sacred pipe are shared
under direction of a Shaman.
• Image Links
• The Shaking Tent
• From Subarctic to the Great Lakes
• Wooden hoop around four to eight poles, a
cylinder, wrapped in birch bark or animal
• The Shaman, a medicine man, enters the
tent and asks the spirits for help.
• Image Links
Symbols and Icons: The Tree of
1. What did the Peacemaker tell the Iroquois
to do when the gathered by the Great Tree
(the white pine?) P. 41
• “offer thanks to the earth, to the streams,
maize and fruit, medicinal herbs and trees,
to animals for pelts and clothes, to the
messengers of the Creator who reveal his
wishes and to the Great Creator, ruler of
health and life.”
• 2. What roles do trees play in other
religions? P. 41
• Tree of Good and Evil , see Genesis 2:15
• Tree of Eternal Life see Genesis 2:8-9
• Yggdrasil Norse world tree
• Sacred groves for Germanic tribes
• What is the role of Faithkeepers in the
Iroquois nation? P. 42
• “They preserve and pass on the spiritual
belief system by conducting ritual
• Usually one man and one woman
Dorothy Green: Faithkeeper
• 1. How did Dorothy Green fulfill her role as
a Faithkeeper? P. 42
• “Attended ceremonies, sang songs,
danced the dances”
Vision Quest
• Definition: p. 43
• A rite of passage to adulthood common to
most aboriginal religions.
• What is the purpose of the Vision Quest?
• “They seek a message from a guardian
spirit in animal or other form, after a period
of fasting and prayer.”
• Are there other religions that have rituals
similar to Vision Quests?
• Video Clip, “The idea of a Walkabout.”
• Video clips about Vision Quests.
Lame Deer’s Vision
• Read about the Sioux medicine man Lame
Deer’s vision. P. 44
• 1. What is the purpose of ritual purification
before a spiritual quest?
• “To prepare the soul to receive the vision.”
• 2. Why does a Shaman or elder act as a
• “They have gone through the ritual and
understand it.”
• Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions at
Oral Teachings
• 1. How are prayers and stories passed on
to the next generations? P. 45
• Oral Traditions
• Elders and Shamans memorize stories
and songs and pass them on to the next
generation. (Like Homer’s Iliad and
Handsome Lake p. 45, 46
• 1. The “Good Message” of Handsome Lake.
A.C. Parker’s transcription of a holder
(faithkeeper) reciting the message of
Handsome Lake. Film Preview.
• P.46 What are the two main themes of the Good
Message (or Gaiwiio)?
• “You must change your ways or face disaster.”
• “Those who are wicked will end up in the House
of the Punisher, a brother of the Creator
Sour Springs Longhouse
• The concept of duality. P. 47
• Two main clan groupings: The Turtle and
the Wolf.
• 1. What is the definition of ‘elder’ in the
aboriginal community? P. 48
• 2. What is the role of elders in the
aboriginal community?
The False Face Society
• 1. Who are they? P. 49
• “Iroquois medicine men knowledgeable in
herbs and ritual prayers.”
• 2. Why do members wear masks with
broken noses?
• “The Creator caused the Great False Face
to break his nose after a contest.”
• The story of False Face. Read on p. 49
• False Face Images.

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