Native American Spirituality
Thom has taught World Religions for more than 10 years. He has discovered that it is generally the vocabulary and unfamiliar customs that cause misunderstanding and fears. Through our journey into this Red Path, we have come to live with a greater respect for and relationship with the rest of creation.
If we are open enough to learn and to become comfortable with new words and ways of speaking about beliefs, then we become richer as people and more likely to understand the other much better. For example, we may be comfortable with the words “God or Lord” but may balk at “Wanka Tanka.” We may use the title, “Holy Spirit” with ease, but may find “Great Spirit” foreign.
St. Francis wrote his prayer, Canticle of the Sun," in the 11th century, long before the Euopean Nations knew they existed. In 1854, the Suquamish chief of the Northwest Territory, Seattle, wrote a letter to President Pierce through the Washington Territorial Governor Issac Stevens in response to the President’s offer to buy their land. "Chief Seattle's Letter" is famous in that, while responding to a political situation, it defines the theology of the Native Americans in a compassionate and peaceful manner. If you review these two documents, it becomes clear every part of creation was fashioned by one God, and that the "Breath of Life," or the "Spirit of Wanka Tanka," sustains all life. We certainly are merely a strand in the web of life, and not the weavers of the web!
We encourage you to continue your exploration of some of these great teaching tools into this incredibly simple and yet profound way of life. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to comment or if you are seeking more information relating to our experiences as a Catholic Permanent Deacon couple walking the Red Path, while ministering as a Catholic Chaplain, Religion Teacher, Religious Education Director and Pastoral Associate.
There is more that unites people of different cultures than things that separate. Our journey to peace is through first learning and moving past the fear of what is different.
Click here to learn more about our personal walk merging Christianity with Native American SpiritualityUnderstanding leads to tolerance.
Tolerance leads to Acceptance.
Acceptance leads to Justice.
Justice leads to Peace!
AHO! All My Relations!