Native American Philosophy
Like the Africans, the Native Americans are not a monolith. There are more than 700 nations, and many more tribes within these nations. Though there is much diversity within this people, there are common cultural philosophies.
The Same God
Traditional Native Americans believe that no matter what name or characteristics people give the Creator, Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Native American, they are all referring to the same deity. They believe that just as you are what you eat, you are what God made you. There you stand, now go out and make the most of life. You are not stained with Original Sin, you are not inherently wicked (after all, God made you), and therefore you do not need a savior to redeem you. Remember the old poster in schools that read, “I know I'm special 'cause God don't make no junk?” This is Native American philosophy.
The Vision Quest
One intriguing expression of Native American spiritual philosophy is the Vision Quest. This is a private ritual that is rarely discussed with others in the tribe, let alone outsiders. The person usually goes alone into the wilderness with little or no supplies and through prayer and meditation, receives messages from the Creator, often in the form of an animal spirit that becomes his guide.
Like all so-called primitive cultures, Native American history, spirituality, and philosophy have been transmitted though an oral tradition. Very little was ever put in writing. Everyone loves a good story, and the best stories endeavor to explain universal truths and try to show who we are and how we got here. This rich mythology contains many basic truths and deep wisdom, presented in an entertaining manner. Storytelling, rather than dogma or didactic lecturing, is regarded as the best way to get your point across.
Very little, if anything, was put in writing in African and Native American cultures. They have a rich oral tradition, and history, mythology, spirituality, and philosophy were passed down from generation to generation through storytelling.
Native American stories, like their African counterparts, describe a world where animals and humans are equals in the cycle of life. The animals, though hunted and killed, are revered for their sacrifice, and their spirits are worshipped, because without them the humans would perish. There is no sense that mankind has been given dominion over the earth and the other creatures of the earth, as in the Old Testament tradition. The Native American sense of time is also based on natural rhythms of the seasons, cycles of the moon, and their own body clocks.
Ours is not the last word on the real world, according to American Indian tradition. There are other places of existence, replete with spiritual life, and there is constant interaction between these worlds. Spirit guides visit humans, and humans can, if they know how, visit other dimensions through, among other means, astral projection.