Relationships in Native American
Harmony and balance are essential between the natural world and human beings. Different religions differ when it comes to how human beings should coexist with nature. According to the Native American religion, before a hunter could go hunting, he had to plead with the animal’s spirit. People of this religion believed that although human beings had power, they did not own the animals. Therefore to maintain the natural balance and harmony, human beings had to ask for permission from animals before hunting. Their religion was entangled with the theory of reincarnation. Animals that were killed would eventually be reborn; thus, maintaining balance would ensure they flourish and be present for future generations. Native Americans ‘ way of life was not only conscious of animals only but also plants. Although they relied on plants for various activities, they could not just walk into the bushes and gather whatever wild plants needed (Ojibwa).
Human beings are supposed to be guardians of nature. This implies that they are obligated to care for it and avoid activities that deteriorate the ecosystem. The religion of the indigenous Americas had a god that was believed to have created the world and features in it. Taking good care of nature is regarded as a way of showing respect and honor to the creator. The people that adhered to this culture avoided using machinery and tools that were not environmentally friendly. They disregarded industrialization and modern means of farming because of its effect on nature.
Americans’ current view of nature is very different from that of native citizens. The prevailing human beings in the U.S view nature as a source of energy; they have found ways of generating energy from nature at whatever cost. Human beings in the current world show respect as per the position of power (Rose). People of Native American religions valued the ability that came from the wisdom and knowledge carried by their elders. Natives had respect for nature which made them take good care of it. Modern Americans prioritize money and are willing to use land at any time as long as it generates them money.
Natives did not believe in land ownership. Land ownership was not entitled to any specific individual, which made everyone responsible for the wellbeing of nature. But over the years, this notion has changed, and now people own a piece of land which gives them the power to use it as they deem fit. Because of this, some people decide to set up factories that will affect the surrounding- after all, they own the place. Most people in the U.S have no second thought when it comes to doing an activity that will benefit them. The Natives would take their time to ask for permission before going hunting. On the contrary current human being might clear a whole forest for timber or completely damage a landscape to extract oil.
Taking into account these two views of nature, the approach taken by a majority of modern human beings is selfish and does not care about future generations. Finding a means of creating money from nature is not bad, but it should not be at the expense of destroying it (nature). The notion of taking care of mother earth that the Natives upheld should be emulated so that the current generation and future ones get a chance to enjoy it.
Ojibwa. “Native American Religions: Balance and Harmony.” Native American Netroots, 4 Oct. 2010, nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/705. Accessed 27 June 2019.
Rose, Christina. “9 Things America Needs to Understand About Native Values.” IndianCountryToday.com, 7 July 2014, newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/archive/9-things-america-needs-to-understand-about-native-values-L_sDGTRgJEOPBU0L8oCrtA/. Accessed 27 June 2019.