The Religious Systems Of The Huron And Cheyenne

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The Religious Systems Of The Huron And Cheyenne

The price of religion to a human in one of the most important factors in one’s life, as well is their own being. People practice religion for several reasons, throughout the world it is practiced as it being part of their heritage. However many people seek religion for the feeling of security. There are hundreds of different cultures throughout the world, some who believe in everything including their health is left up to the Gods to heal, while others believe in praying for the advanced technology of today may help them to survive. This to them is their feeling of security, whether it is seen different in someone else’s opinion because to them it is what has them to be the person they are. The religious systems of the Huron and the Cheyenne vastly different, however; they did have some similarities.  This can be seen through their worldviews of the supernatural universe, the role of shaman in the society, and their attitudes towards death.

First, the Huron and the Cheyenne worldviews of the universe differed but also had some similarities.  To start, the Huron shared a set of believes, however they were open to innovation and borrowing of religious beliefs from neighboring tribes.  The Huron’s people were free to interpret and practice religion as he as she wished, with in the constraints of public opinion.  The Huron did not build and special buildings or shrines for religious purposes or ceremonies.  The Huron transmitted specialized knowledge of religious beliefs through elderly men.  At major feasts these men would stand up and recite their stories.  In the Huron religion everything including man made objects had souls.  Humans had two souls.  The onnhekwi, or life soul animated the body and made each part function.  This soul was as large as the body or organ and had the same shape.  These souls accounted for actions such as breathing, heart rate, and all bodily motion.  Each part of the body had its own name for that part of the soul.  The other soul was the andionra, or intellectual soul.  It is associated with self- awareness, knowledge, memory, and the powers of reasoning.  The intellectual soul could travel in thoughts, dreams, or visions far beyond the body.  Thinking and dreaming did not occur in the mind, “ instead it was involved the intellectual soul traveling away from the body to visit the people or things that were the objects of its attention.” (The Huron p. 107)  The oki, or supernatural powers or spirits, animated the universe and possessed powers that ordinary man did not.  The intellectual soul was able to communicate with the oki.  Spirits resided in earth, the sky, rivers, lakes, and elsewhere in nature.  These spirits controlled, trade, travel, disease, war, fertility, and every aspect of human life.  The sky spirit controlled the seasons and kept in balance the winds and waves and assisted human beings in time of need.  For these reasons the sky spirit was the most important of these spirits.  They Huron believed in a thunderbird that when he flew down for feeding caused thunder.  He also controlled insects, and rain.  They believed that certain large rocks on major route traveled were the home of powerful spirits and would leave offerings at these spots.  The Huron had evil and good spirits.  Some caused storms and feed on the corpses of those who had drowned.  Iouskeha, who had charge of the living and Aataentsik, who was the mother of all humans were two of the most important supernatural beings in Huron religion.  Iouskeha created lakes, rivers and allowed for hunting.  Aataentsik try’s to undo the good works of Iouskeha.  Late autumn, winter and early spring is when the majority of celebrations took place.  The Cheyenne believed the universe was muiltilayered and spirit forces or beings, which are counterparts to physical phenomena, inhabit each level.  They, like the Huron, believe that everything has a spirit.  The Cheyenne, unlike the Huron, believe in an all- pervading, all knowing High God.  The spirit being of several strata of air and sky parts are expressions of this High God.  Heammawiho, the High God, knows more about how to do things than do all other creatures and is therefore the supreme deity.  The spirits power lies in their knowledge and not their ability to create things.  They know how to make the universe run properly and how to get the most out of it.  The spirits are viewed as instructors to human beings, or teachers. The Cheyennes have for directions, north, east, south, and west, each of which are associated with particular spirits and a particular color scheme.  This color scheme is said to only be fully understood by priests.  The Cheyenne, like the Huron, believe that major spirits can take the form of human.  They believe that motions and symbolic acts of ceremonies must be performed exactly in order to achieve the desired results.  They also borrow beliefs from other tribes.  The Cheyenne believe that the spirit beings want things to be pleasant and satisfying.  “ The great objective of religious practice is to relate to the spirit beings in such way that life will be enhanced.” (The Cheyenne p.89)  Their religion does not say how the earth was created it say that it just is.  They believe that the power of the universe is limited.  Ceremonies are done to recharge and readjust than parts so the universe can run at full potential.  The Cheyenne, unlike the Huron, believe that vision quests and dreams are only in the mind and is where they go to seek supernatural power from guardian spirits.  They also believe in a thunderbird except in a different way.  Their thunderbird comes down to free people held by other spirits.

Second, the Huron and the Cheyenne both believe in shaman,.............


Type: Essay || Words: 2002 Rating || Excellent

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