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The great diversity of Native American tribes eliminates the possibility of an effective detailed study of their religions and ceremonial beliefs Anthropologists have over the years created a vast archive of facts and details discussing practices and beliefs of the many different tribes The gained information hasnt been studied very extensively by the general populous While there is an abundance of generalized versions of Native American spirituality there havent been very many published products made by the tribes or their members The beliefs and practices of many groups tend to be slightly modified derivatives of the other local tribes The Indians religious beliefs tend to be strongly influenced by The Christianity of the Spanish conquistadors and more recently New Age beliefs and practices based upon these more traditional beliefs The origins of contemporary Native American religion and their more recent ancestors can be traced as far back as 30000 to 60000 years ago About the same time the first groups of people from northeastern Asia were arriving The religious beliefs of Native Americans has developed from hunting taboos animal ceremonialism beliefs in spirits and shamanism Since these people settled in America gradually and in small groups spread over several thousand years we still lack many precise immigration statistics Not including the directly inherited traditional Native American religions there is a surprisingly high number of modified groups in existance today The Native American Church claims a membership of around 250000 which makes it the largest of all the Native Americans religious organizations Though the church traces the sacramental use of the peyote cactus back ten thousand years the Native American Church was only founded in 1918 The Native American Churchs existence was achieved only with the help of a Smithsonian Institute anthropologist The church combines the original Native American religious beliefs Christianity and the use of the peyote plant The modern day peyote ritual consists of four parts praying singing eating the peyote and
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