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Native Americans Are Renewing Their Traditions - Here Is One Way

One way that Native groups have attempted to renew and retain their traditions have been through ceremonies. In the past, ceremonies have been an important part of Native American tradition and in the twentieth century the natives have tried to revive these ritualistic actions.

An example of some of these new ceremonies can be found in the Native American church. Native American church members spend whole Saturday nights in special ritual action. Led by a ‘roadman’ the members smoke cigarettes which are rolled inside of corn husks. The group also ingests a portion of the peyote plant which gives individuals the feeling of being “high” or filled with inspiration.They also sing traditional songs with accompaniment of the drum and gourd rattle. These songs are sung in specific manner and rhythm in order to add to the effects of the peyote plant. At certain periods of the ritual (midnight and daybreak), water is used, as members splash each other and then consume water from a container. At the end of the ritual members partake of a shared breakfast to conclude the meeting.

These kinds of ceremonies give the natives a chance to be a people again and to embrace their own culture. The majority of Native Americans have become Christianized and have almost totally assimilated into North American culture and forgot where they have come from. The spending of the whole night is significant because of the bond that it has the power to create for the Native Indian culture. As all members are together in their most joyful states singing and dancing a connection is built and/ or reinforced in the best way possible. Also, the meetings such as the births, funerals, send –offs and welcomes look to re-establish connections within the community and traditional actions.

Dale Pindling

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