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Native Americanism

First of all, is this even the politically correct term? Anyways, when I was little I always thought I was native american because my hometown has a lot of proud lenape and ramapo mountain residents. Always a huge turnout for pow-wow's, and lots of history. I eventually learned my family background, but still always respected the native american ways and found an interest and similarity in my spiritual views. but because I am caucasion is it wrong for me to follow this path? Like people say they are "christian" or "a buddhist" i cant just say "I'm native american". would saying "I follow the native american religion" be a more proper term?


Asked by Anonymous at 1:45 PM on Mar. 24, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • There isn't one universal "native american" religion, they vary by region, and in general are all shamanistic. You can find out more here.

    There are extremes in all aboriginal religions - some people believe you MUST be born to the blood to participate, and even discriminate if it's not pure enough.  Others are universalist and welcome anyone.  This is an individual thing, not one that entire religions endorse one way or the other.


    Answer by NotPanicking at 5:35 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • WOW that's a great question! I think you may need to ask someone who is actually Native American. Maybe do some googling about it, or ask at one of your POW-WOW's ( i love pow-wow's!!) You could say that you follow native American Philosophy, this adds a lil more than just the religion aspect, like it adds a lil culture to you when you say it that way, but your not actually saying that you ARE of native American blood.


    Answer by samurai_chica at 2:06 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Hmm...I would have to agree with the PPs suggestion to ask a "real" Native American. I do know that in the past, many tribes would 'accept' other races (including caucasian) into their tribe and from then on would see them as a fellow Native American. I do believe that this is still a practice today that would involve being mentored by a tribal elder and going through some tribal rituals.

    If you are practicing/following a Native American 'religion' I believe a correct way to express that would be as the PP suggested by using the word "philosophy' or 'practice'.

    I don't think anyone would be offended by your wanting to become more involved with a Native American way of life.

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 2:33 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Yes, that's a perfectly fine way of putting it. You don't have to be of Native American ancestry to follow Native American ways.

    This issue recently came up in my area. A family (mother caucasian, father hispanic/apache) raising their son with Native American beliefs. Upon entering Kindergarten, the school demanded the boy get a haircut --- the family refused on the basis of their beliefs. The fight was on!

    It's one of the arguements the school tried --- how could it be their religion when the boy is only a percentage Apache & the mother is caucasian? Same as any other: You don't have to be Asian to be Buddhist, Arabic to be Muslim, etc.

    The Federal courts recently ruled in the family's favor. (google "Adriel Arocha" for the whole story)

    Answer by Laura1229 at 2:37 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • I am part Shawnee Indian but I look white they look at me funny but when they find out what trice I brached off of they accept me. I would suggest talking to them and making sure but I have seen some whites at pow wows and actually memebers of the tribe.

    Answer by Ibelongtojesus at 2:39 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Laura1229....

    I'm glad that family fought for their son! Regardless of his religion, it should NEVER be the school's decision on how long or short a child's hair "should" be!

    Right on!

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 5:15 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • First the Native Americans believe in Shamanism which is witchcraft. Might as well be wicca.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:31 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Anon 6:31 is as wrong as they get.


    Answer by SarahColbert at 6:37 PM on Mar. 24, 2009