We are a unique voice in a grand chorus, having a depth and range that is powerful enough to echo throughout infinity itself.
Native American religion isn’t actually a unified religion. In a sense, there both were and were not multiple faiths in the United States before the arrival of European culture. Many facets of it have been observed to parallel the now defunct Chinese religion of Bon, similar to Japanese Shintoism. It is basically Asian Shamanism. This is where they came from, Asia, and archaeological as well as anthropological studies support that.
The split between Native American beliefs and Chinese paganism is sort of amazing in that its origin was prehistoric, but much was still maintained. There were multiple creation/advent stories across the Native American tribes. Each set of beliefs was more of a tribal faith than a national one, and the native peoples had an inclusive attitude about religious/spiritual stories much as the Chinese still do today. The initiation of Genghis Kahn is very similar to initiations in Native American “medicine societies”, fraternities of the wise people in the Arapaho or Navajo nations. There were nations of a sort before even the white man forced the gathering of the tribes onto reservations, and even with their differing origin stories they weren’t viewed as contradictory. Thus each tribe having a different set of totems, and those not of the tribe still referring to them by their totemic origins; like the snake people, or the crow people, etc.
Is this related to aborigines? Yes. It very much parallels the Australian aboriginal development, but in Native American belief they saw the world as filled with spiritual powers. So the events on that level of existence can be mutually inclusive, similar to the Celtic belief in a tribal link to trees or the belief of the Spartans that the gods took them from ants.
A tribe would just have a spirit favourite? Basically, and this would often show up culturally like a trickster totem. That tribe were often raiders, which wasn’t actually violent assault necessarily as it was in Europe.
Counting coup? Yes, this was a cross cultural practice for them. The shedding of blood was not taken lightly, not even in the traditions of the hunt, and to be able to shed blood was not seen as evidence of spiritual power, at least not among the Northern American tribes. They would engage in lightning resource raids occasionally of horses and such, and often would hunt from a herd as long as it was in tribal territory and let it go if it was not. So say a big herd of buffalo had a habit of moving back and forth between two tribes’ territories, they weren’t seen as tribal property so no one felt justified in trying to take them all or keep them on tribal territory. They were seen as a spiritual power so to objectify even prey went totally against their world view. Any hunter would see tribal markers for territory, and would not cross out of their hunting ground, not unless they intended either trade or raiding. They were living with the land versus living off the land.
They are also very much attuned to ‘sacred places’? Indeed, and the sacred places were often not considered tribal territory. Thus a Navajo Shaman might meet with a Shaman not of his or her tribe, and in this place of power it was considered the territory of the spirits and not to be controlled by humans.
The Shaman was their spiritual leader? Yes, their spiritual leader, but they didn’t have a strictly centralized leadership. Each person was seen as having unique gifts, so they would have a chief who governed war, and another who governed the hunt, and yet another who spoke for the tribe in trade. A sort of elder council.
Did they govern by council? Yes, and positions were usually not hereditary. It was often considered that the war chief’s son would have inherited his spiritual strengths, but they didn’t see it as certain.
They still had to prove it? Basically yes. It is even how they gained names. In most of the cultures there were two names for a person in a life time. The one given at birth, usually by the Shaman, and then the one earned after a right of passage, and of course nicknames. Names were more spiritual symbols than titles like in Europe, so though the Shaman might have named a boy ‘wild lizard’ because he saw an omen of a strange lizard, he might behave in such a way that he’s noted for being lazy and neglecting chores so would be called “Lazy boy.” If he complained they would call him “Doesn’t like to be called lazy boy.” He could shake this after his right of passage or not, but virtuous or no he was still of the tribe and short of betrayal he would keep the tribes support
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.