jueves, 19 de junio de 2008

Cheyenne religion

It might be difficult for a "non-Indian" people to get a clear conception of what the reality of Indian belief is. What we are most familiar with, is the so-called "Indian lore", which is largely borrowed from European folklore and witchcraft, and does not have much to do with the "real" Indians.One has to be raised as a Cheyenne to really understand all ceremonies and the cosmology of the Cheyenne beliefs.Cheyenne religion recognises a number of deities. The two most important ones are the Wise One Above and a god who lives in the earth. At each point of the compass are four spirits. Central to Cheyenne ritual was the sun dance. This involved staring into the sun while dancing in order to enter into a trance. This gave the enhanced the dancer's power and ensured the renewal of the cosmos. Another cosmogonic ritual was the Renewal of the Sacred Arrows. The ceremony is performed annually over a four day period around the time of the summer solstice. Only males can participate in the ceremony; the women must remain in their teepees during the four day ritual. The focal point of the ceremony are sacred arrows which empower the men of the tribe. In more recent times the Peyote Cult (See Native American Church) has become part of the religious life of the Cheyenne.
Important Cheyenne ceremonies included the Arrow Renewal, the New Life Lodge, and the Animal Dance. In the Arrow Renewal, various bands of extended families came together for a four-day ceremony. Three ceremonial lodges were placed in the center of a circle of tipis: the Sacred Arrow Lodge, the Sacred Arrow Keeper’s Lodge, and the Offering Lodge. The Sacred Arrows, or Mahuts, were four arrows, two for hunting and two for war, kept by the tribe through the generations. Men performed various rituals in and among the lodges to renew the Sacred Arrows and the spirit of the tribe.
Most Indian groups had at least one shaman in each tribe. The Shaman or the medicine-man was one of the most important people in the tribe. The shaman could be either male or female. The shaman was the people's gate to the spirit world. He or she could among many other things heal those who got sick through indicated rituals of dance, chanting and sleight of hand. The shaman was the one to protect the village from evil spirits.

Author: Lena Larss .

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Date : Jun 17 /2008
By: Adriana Roa.