Question #141906. Asked by Walneto.
Last updated Aug 30 2016.
Originally posted Nov 22 2015 11:19 PM.
Animism encompasses the beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical (or material) world, and that souls or spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in some other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment, including thunder, wind, and shadows.
1.First, at the time of European contact, all but the simplest indigenous cultures in North America had developed coherent religious systems that included cosmologies-creation myths, transmitted orally from one generation to the next, which purported to explain how those societies had come into being.
2.Second, most native peoples worshiped an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator or "Master Spirit" (a being that assumed a variety of forms and both genders). They also venerated or placated a host of lesser supernatural entities, including an evil god who dealt out disaster, suffering, and death.
3.Third and finally, the members of most tribes believed in the immortality of the human soul and an afterlife, the main feature of which was the abundance of every good thing that made earthly life secure and pleasant.