Environmentalism in Native American Spirituality
In the minds of most the American public, Native Americans have an unbreakable bond with nature. You may have heard that they “use every part of the animal”. Most may even assume that there is some spiritual connection, and for some, there was. There were certainly many groups who believed things similar to the idea of consuming certain substances could allow them to go on vision quests and come into contact with their guardian spirits that represented part of the world and would guide them in their day to day life, like the Niantic people. But there were many, many, Indigenous nations with distinct and non-nature related beliefs. The Navajo have beliefs as complex as 4 different worlds that the First Man and the First Woman had to travel before settling down and leading to the creation of the rest of humanity. No Native American beliefs are just as simple as “holding deep reverence for Nature”, most are just as, if not more so, complex as Western beliefs and religious positions towards the land, and therefore deserve to be recognized as such.