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The integration of nature spirit and fellowship as part of a daily existence and not a separate entity best describes the religious experience of Native Americans In the late sixteenth century United States historians estimate that there were over 500 independent cultures prior to European contact 17 Butler Although they had different languages economies and society they exhibited very similar religious beliefs and practices Nature was at the center of their lives They believed they lived amongst their ancestors supernatural beings and magical forces Native Americans embodied the term being one with nature and maintained this identity regardless of external pressuresNative Americans have no definition for religion because it cannot be separated from other aspects of life Class lecture 113 Native American tribes have no holy book or written guidelines This was a fundamental difference from the European Christians who began to migrate to North America The European Americans were set out to purify their new land from within and externally They were on a mission to convert or replace all other religions The Native Americans posed a threat not only because they were different but mainly because they misunderstoodThe Iroquois carried out mourning war raids for the purpose of restoring lost population promoting continuity and coping with death Richter Reader European contact deterred the tradition and way captives were treated The mourning war had a deeper meaning to the tribe Scalps or captives represented revenge and the deceased could not rest until they were avenged While the activity seems brutal or unnecessary there is still a symbolic sacred significance The European Americans seen the Native Americans as a threat The introduction of guns and usage of copper iron and brass proved to be detrimental to the Native American population Arrowheads and wooden armor were no match in warfare Instead of continuing the fight the majority of tribes chose to adapt Native Americans were open to hearing and even practicing some forms of Christianity
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