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Native American Religion: The Lenape & The Cherokee Megan Fortuner & Sabastian Word.

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Presentation on theme: "Native American Religion: The Lenape & The Cherokee Megan Fortuner & Sabastian Word."— Presentation transcript:

1 Native American Religion: The Lenape & The Cherokee Megan Fortuner & Sabastian Word

2 The Lenape: Lived along the east coast Called themselves “Lenni Lenape” meaning “Men of Men” Were peaceful Considered one of the “first peoples” by other tribes Called “Grandfather” by other tribes

3 Animistic Religion: Everything in nature had a spirit or manetuwak The Creator, Kishelmukong, is not in direct contact with the Lenape people Worship is done through prayer, song, dance, and dressing up at totem animals After death, ancestors could go to paradise or linger on to help those on earth Collectivist society, where their religion was their culture

4 Myths The world was created on the back of a tortoise The Milky Way was the path to the Happy Hunting ground Stars were the footprints of ancestors that have passed

5 Common Lenape Words Used Today Lackawanna – forks of a stream Pocono – a stream between mountains He – pronounced “Hey”, means “hi” Manna-hata – “island of many hills” Pauwau -- a gathering or council Nanticoke – Indian clan

6 Culture Overview Those who had visions became “medicine people” Sacrifices given in spring and fall Fall has a 12 day celebration called “Big House” No rules; everyone follows their guardian spirit Men went to live with their wife’s family Women owned most property Due to location, one of the most decimated tribes Main body of Lenape moved to Oklahoma in the 1860’s Until 1996, were counted as Cherokee


8 The Cherokee They inhabited Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee mostly Cherokee refer to themselves as the Tsalagi or Aniyvwiyai which means “The Principal People” The Iroquois called the Cherokee the “inhabitants of the cave country” However the name Cherokee comes from the word Choctaw which means “those who live in the mountains” White settlers called the Cherokee one of the “Five Civilized Tribes”

9 Cherokee Religion The number 7 was considered sacred and represented the 7 tribes The 4 cardinal directions were also considered sacred Believed in an Upper world, a middle world (the one we live on), and an Underworld

10 Cherokee Religion Fire is considered sacred amongst the Cherokee Only the Ani-Wodi or fire keepers are allowed to create the center fire in the tribes. They are specially trained to create this fire, which will in turn be the center for all daily prayers The tribe will pray, eat, cook, dance, congregate, and have political meeting around this sacred fire The traditional Stomp dance is performed around the sacred fire while meats, medicines, and plants are sacrificially burned in the fire. The “Shakers” are the dance leaders who will wear sacred turtle shells filled with pebbles

11 Cherokee Creation Story Believed the world was originally only water and the sky, and all the animals lived in the sky The beetle flew down to the water and dove down underneath, finding mud, which then expanded into the earth that we know It took 7 days for the earth to be created, during this time all animals fell asleep However only the cougar, the owl, and the evergreen trees stayed awake during the creation. This is why they are sacred. This gave them special abilities

12 Cherokee Legends In the woods there are spirits called “little people” who look like tiny Cherokee people. They are said to help lost Cherokee children find their way back to the tribe. However, if an adult Cherokee sees a little person they cannot speak of it for 7 years. Raven Mocker: An evil spirit who will take the human form of a withered, old, dark person. This spirit will come in the night and steal the essence or soul of a person who is sick or dying. This can only be fought by a strong medicine man staying with the sick person

13 The Raven Mocker

14 The Keetoowah Bible The Sacred words were woven into a wampum blanket. The blanket consisted of pearls, rocks, and shells woven together. A war broke out against the Cherokee and the medicine men had visions of 7 Cherokee warriors who could not die The blanket was cut into 7 wampum belts, that were in turn given to each of the warriors When the war was over the belts were hidden and scattered because they were thought to be to powerful

15 The Keetoowah Bible

16 Cherokee Culture Cherokee could not intermarry inside of their tribe, because it was believed that everyone in the tribe was family War was considered a pollutant, and the warrior had to be cleansed before re- entering society On either the 4 th or 7 th day of life a child would be cleansed in the nearest river Names were chosen for a child based on their first action, or the way they looked Names could be changed if a person performed a notable action

17 Cherokee Culture A peace pipe would be smoked only by the Chief and the medicine men of the tribe A common game played after sacred dances was anejodi which resembled modern day lacrosse

18 Differences The Lenape believed in a single “creator” or omnipotent being They had very different stories of creations, and different animals that were considered sacred to the tribe Medicine men in the Lenape tribe were chosen because they had a vision, medicine men of the Cherokee were descendants of the original medicine men of the tribe Fire was not as central of a theme to the Lenape as it was to the Cherokee

19 Similarities Both tribes were peaceful by nature Both had animistic religions that idolized animals and nature Worship in both groups was done through prayer, dance, song, and ceremonial outfit Both strongly believed that everything in nature had a spirit Both religions believed that the ancestors could linger in the world of the living and help those who were alive

20 Discussion What are some similarities between the Lenape and Cherokee religion, and the traditional African religion?

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