This struggle between Traditional Native Spirituality and Christianity still exists within many of the communities in my area. There are those who do not respect the belief systems of others, while there are those that do, and there are those that work together. I don't believe that all "Christian" religions (many different faiths) are the same. I have known a lot of beautiful people who are Christian, who don't impose their belief system upon me, but accept me for who I am.
I know there are those people out there who believe and some do preach that Traditional Native Spirituality is pagan or that we commune with evil spirits. This is based on fear and ignorance. You can't force people to learn about the truth, but you can put information out there to create the awareness.
I believe awareness is the key to understanding who we are and where we have been. There are people out there who have no clue about Traditional Native Sprirituality, who we are and where we have been (Residential Schools, I will post a link), including our own people. I think awareness is the key for those interested in learning. I have been quite fortunate to learn firsthand from many Elders about my people when I was young and had a thirst for more knowledge ever since then. I was exposed to Traditional Native Spirituality in my mid-20's.
These were the principles that I was taught about Native Spirituality in my area (the following two quotes and the Native American Code of Ethics sum it up the best):
"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and Its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again In a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home." Tecumseh - Shawnee-(1768-1813)
"Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of the earth. We learn to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that is to feel beauty. We never rail at the storms, the furious winds, the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensifies human futility, so whatever comes we should adjust ourselves by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint. Bright days and dark days are both expressions of the Great Mystery, and the Indian reveled in being close the the Great Holiness."
-Chief Luther Standing Bear
I follow the "Native American Code of Ethics" to guide my life, as per the below link: http://www.nativevillage.org/Inspiratio ... hics__.htm
I was taught that, pre-contact, my people (Native Americans are a diverse group so I am referring to only the people in my clan) were an egalitarian society. We banded together for survival and were nomadic. We all had roles within our family groups and communities. We had our own laws, beliefs and values.
I was taught that in order to move forward, that I should reconcile with the past, forgive past wrongs and myself, in order to move forward. In order to truly love myself, so I can be balanced. I have let go of the anger, but I haven't forgotten the lessons of the past, so they aren't repeated in the future. I share what I have learned with my children and I intend on sharing what I have learned with anyone who wants to know.http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3http://www.canadiana.ca/citm/specifique ... ols_e.html