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What was religion of native America, before British colonial? Around when Christianity evolves in America?

closed as too broad by KorvinStarmast, sempaiscuba, SleepingGod, DevSolar, KillingTime Jun 26 '17 at 16:34

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You might need to narrow this down a bit. A brief history of religion in America could fill volumes. – justCal Jun 24 '17 at 5:42
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    @Santanu Debnath You can still edit the question yourself to clarify what you mean. – justCal Jun 24 '17 at 19:24
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    Please edit the question. On the other hand, I don't believe there was a single religion among the Native Americans if that is what you are asking - there were hundreds of tribes and dozens of nations and there was no single religion. This question may benefit from some preliminary research. – Mark C. Wallace Jun 25 '17 at 11:56
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    This looks like a homework question asking for someone else to do the work. – KorvinStarmast Jun 25 '17 at 13:52
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    Your edit makes it clear what you're asking about, which, however, is answered by Wikipedia (actually including the question about Christianity, right there in the article). I.e., now your question is clear, it's off-topic for history.SE. Sorry. ;-) – DevSolar Jun 26 '17 at 15:47
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The Native Americans were organized into hundreds of different tribes and kingdoms, many of which were completely unrelated to each other. There was no single overreaching religion. What a Sioux believed would have been very different from an Inuit, which in turn would have been completely different than an Aztec. So there was no single big religion.

For example, Inuit had gods related to their game animals (they are primarily hunters). They also believed in souls which persist after death, even in their game animals.

The Siouxan peoples (farmers who supplemented with hunting) instead believed in a single unified spirit inherent in everything, even inanimate objects like rocks. The best way of thinking of it is similar to The Force in Star Wars. The name varies a smidge by language, but its usually something similar to "Wakonda". I believe the technical word for this kind of belief system is Pantheism.

The Aztecs had a proper polytheistic pantheon.

That being said, Pantheisim was fairly widespread, just not universal. Instead of "Wakonda", the Algonquins called it "Kitchie Manitou", and the Aztecs "Teotl". All three equated the name with something like "Great Mystery".

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    It's also very hard to pin down exactly what the spiritual beliefs north of the Rio Grande in the early 17th century were as the initial colonists had no interest at all in anthropological or theological investigations of other peoples and as pre-literate civilizations, the various tribespeople kept no records themselves. I don't think anyone really started keeping records until the 19th century, after 200 years of contact. We can guess that the beliefs of the Sioux were similar, but it must be born in mind that there was massive cultural change due to forced migration, etc. – Gort the Robot Jun 26 '17 at 16:59
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    @StevenBurnap - This is very, very true. For instance, I tried looking up Iroquois beliefs for this answer, but the only thing I could find well-documented is a post-contact cult that has a lot of Christian borrowings. We got really lucky with the (Siouxan) Osages because their own Christian-influenced movement had just taken hold when the first Anthropologists started talking with them. This meant the old beliefs were still in living memory, but were no longer held to (and thus there was no longer a taboo about delving deeply into them). – T.E.D. Jun 26 '17 at 17:51

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