Native American Sacred Hoop Visionquest
Background Beliefs Overview Traditions
Archeological discoveries have revealed that Native Americas have been living in the Americas for at least 25,000 years. Their population prior to 1492 was in the millions.
Although the different tribal cultures vary from prehistoric to modern times, Native Americans have been grouped into the following areas: Eastern Woodland, Northern, Northwest Coast, Plains, Plateau, and Southwest.
These cultural groupings are based on the agricultural and hunting traditions, values, carvings, and crafts that developed over time as a byproduct of living in a certain area.
For instance, the Eastern Woodland tribes were renown for their elaborate grave offerings of cooper plates and shell beads; and, the Great Plains tribes made clothing and tepee covers from buffalo skins.
Other crafts developed along similar lines with the Plateau tribes who made noteworthy advances in basketry; while, the Southwest tribes made them in rug weaving.
Over the millennium Native Americans have faithfully and stalwartly held to a starcore of common beliefs and customs which include: respect for Elders; the Clan System; Animal Totems and Power Animals; the willingness to share with others; and the Sacred Hoop or Circle of Life.
They believe in taking care of and being responsible for the family, the village, and the tribe. They also have a deep abiding reverence for the sacredness and the inter-connectedness of all life and all children of the planet; as well as, for Mother Earth, Father Sky and the environment.
For Native Americans, their beliefs and ceremonies are an integral and impeccable aspect of their existence.
For them all creatures are kin (two legged, four legged, winged, and finned); everything in nature is imbued with Spirit; and guardian spirits empower, teach, guide, and assist everyone.
Elders are men and women, regardless of age, who have been infused with Wisdom and other spiritual gifts from the Great Spirit such as: sweat lodge ceremony healer abilities and herbal remedies skills.
Native Americans have made many valuable contributions to society including: food staples (corn, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash), the kayak, the toboggan, the snowshoe, as well as, increased environmental awareness.
More than two hundred drugs are derived from Native American healing remedies. For Native Americans all of life is sacred. The land is part of them and they are part of the land.
Although there are many concepts about the Earth and its dance in Creation among the various tribes, one common Cosmology theme is that the universe is comprised of multiple planes linked to a World Tree with the natural world being in the middle sphere.
This tree's roots go far underground and reach upwards into the sky... Continue on