Free Essay: Influence of Native American Religions on the Religiosity of New World Settlers

Published: 2019-10-16
Free Essay: Influence of Native American Religions on the Religiosity of New World Settlers
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Religion Christianity
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 651 words
6 min read

Following the influx of new world settlers into the American world, there was a mix of cultures coming from different dimensions. At that time, many of the settlers who came with an eye of settling in America were known and differentiated by the hope and religion to which they belonged. In this paper, our major outlook will be to examine the influence, which Native American religions posed on those incoming groups. The paper will do this by specifically looking at how those cultures changed and adopted the American religion or clung to their own religion. To beginning with, Native American religions refer to the spiritual practices of the indigenous people of the former Americas. The early European explorers describe Native American tribes as each having their own religious practices. The dominant main Native American religions included Christianity, Earth Lodge religion, Indian Shaker religion, Longhouse religion, Native American Church, and Waashat religion (Noll, 2002).

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While settlers kept on coming, it became evident that religion emerged to become the number one problem between the Americans and the settlers. The immigrants in the new America were very serious with matters of Christianity. The settler Christians began fearing the Native Americans and the Indians in the land. They thought of the Indians as the people who were evil since they did have a pure religion. Therefore, the settlers faced the Natives and told them that they must change and become full Christians. It was unfortunate that the American Natives did not comprehend the reason as to why they could convert to Christianity. Some of the settlers, including the European visitors, failed to comprehend that the Native Americans were exceptionally religious people possessing a strong belief in unseen powers (Noll, 2002). Since some of the Native Americans lived adjacent to nature, they believed that all things on the universe depend on each other and that nature was more powerful than anything else. Thus, the Native Americans made it clear to all the incoming groups that the gods of nature were to be revered.

Other events triggered serious problems between the Native Americans and the incoming settlers. One of these problems was disease. The settlers brought multiple sickness with them from different corners of the earth. For instance, the smallpox disease was well known in the continent of Europe. Some of the settlers were transmitters of the bacteria though they did not suffer from the disease itself.

Majority of the diseases that came into the land of the Native Americans were unknown to the original inhabitants. The approach of dealing with these diseases was unknown, and this brought controversy between the inhabitants and the other groups. At first, there was friendship between the natives and the settlers because the two believed that there was a lot that was to be learned from each other. However, as time elapsed, the fear and lack of understanding increased. This was due to the manner in which the diseases in the land were increasing. The Natives thus heaped all blames on the settlers coupled with the way the settlers were changing the land and causing the Natives to think that they were destroying (Hirschman, 2004).

Due to observation of more problems and diseases entering the land than more good, there was no way the Natives could believe in the goodness of Christianity brought by the settlers. Though the settlers claimed to bring a salvation of light, the Native Americans could not join this new religion, because of the dark side associated with it. Out of too much fear of the settlers of what they had brought to the new land, they compromised and clung to the religions of the Americans.


Hirschman, C. (2004). The Role of Religion in the Origins and Adaptation of Immigrant Groups in the United States1. . International Migration Review, 38(3), 1206-1233.

Noll, M. A. (2002). The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity. . Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

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