Religion, being a part of cultural manifestations, has always been an essential side of various human communities’ lives. Usually, it presents a fusion of the most important values and knowledge of a particular people. In the case of Native American peoples, there is a split between acquired Christianity and preserved indigenous beliefs, which makes these groups considerably diverse. Whether following the ancestors’ faith or adhering to imposed religion, American Indians seem to be very distinctive in their spiritual practices that significantly impact their communities and cultures. Religion serves as a unifying force for separated societies, a medium for original culture spread and reserving, and means of enhancing the legal status of Native Americans.
First of all, the gatherings of American Indians with other nations to pray to God show how Christianity could be a congregative religion that eliminates cultural differences. According to the article from Fickett et al., Native Americans from different nations allied with Chinese Christians and Messianic Jews in their belief (par. 9). Each of these groups presents a minority that suffers oppression from the significant population. Christianity has always provided consolation for the poor and anguished; thus, for mentioned peoples, it may be the source of deriving strength for living among other cultures. These believers started to feel more powerful as they joined together and overcame their differences. Therefore, it could be stated that religion contributes to the consociations of tribes and even nations, giving these people a salutary effect of togetherness.
Furthermore, the communities that have acquired Christianity are now being integrated into Western traditions, resulting in beneficial consequences for these societies. The process in which the religion made Native Americans involved is called integration. During such a development, different cultures combine in a way where their beliefs and values become interrelated. One group adopts various elements of another group’s culture while preserving its original distinctive features (Neuliep 658). Indians integrated with the dominant American religious system and started to inherit their positive affecting values, such as education (Fickett et al., par. 6). Indeed, the urge to participate in the learning process may contribute to the welfare of the tribes and their culture spread. Accordingly, religion offers an integrating power for such different cultures as Native American and American European, from which the former can extract advantages for their culture.
Lastly, tribal communities may extend their rights and preserve their traditions with the aid of religion. For example, the situation of Robert Soto, who was sued for using the gold eagle’s feathers in his ritual practices, has offended other representatives of Native American tribes. They found it unfair that government has criteria for recognizing someone as Indian (Pinkerton, pars. 1–24). This case may seem inequitable even to other American cultures as it transgresses the right for freedom of faith. The indigenous population may use such provocation as a cause for further implications of entrenching upon their rights. Hence, as a common phenomenon among humans, religion can be used as an instrument for appealing to justice and, for Native Americans, a way of retaining their traditions.
To conclude, religion is a significant sphere of human life that has a considerable impact on other social areas. The Christianity adopted by Native Americans, Chinese, and Jews has made them a united community while giving them the psychological advantages from feeling solidarity. Moreover, the integration with initially Western European religion may incite them to start using the beneficial institutes of other cultures, such as the educational system. Additionally, faith aids Indian Americans in fighting for their rights and cultural identity.
Fickett, Gina Rivera, et al. “The Native American Revival That Could Change the World.” SCENES, 2016, Web.
Neuliep, James. Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach. Seventh, SAGE Publications, Inc, 2017.
Pinkerton, James. “American Indian Holy Man Fights for Seized Feathers.” Chron, 2011, Web.