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Episode from the podcastUnBoxing “God”

The Great Spirit of Native Americans - an Indigenous Peoples' Day "Un"episode (10/12/20)

BonusReleased Tuesday, 13th October 2020
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Today has been known as Columbus Day for over a century but federally recognized since 1934. In more recent years, however, October 12th (or the second Monday of October) has come to be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  Today we celebrate, honor, and uplift indigenous people.  Also, our friend and guest, Laura, stops by to tell us a little about Canadian Thanksgiving, which they call “Gratitude Day”, instead of honoring the violence of colonialism.

“We’ve never been grateful for genocide.” - Laura

McCall explains her attraction to the Native Americans idea of two-spirit people - combining characteristics of both genders. In many tribes, two-spirit people filled special religious roles, such as healers, ceremonial leaders, and shamans. In some tribes, these people were considered especially blessed in the areas of love and attraction, with the ability to bless others with that gift.

Indigenous Americans view disease and death as the natural result of an imbalance in an individual. The Native American Church (NAC) uses peyote as a holy, sacred sacrament.

“What better pharmacist than the Great Spirit itself, who purposefully created peyote for medicinal, spiritual, and healing purposes.” - McCall

McCall breaks down the role of peyote in Native American Church and the amazing man, Quanah Parker, who began it.

Is it a monotheistic religion, based on faith in One Supreme Spirit?
The concept of that universal spiritual energy is called The Great Spirit, and it is interpreted as the power that resides in all.

“All matter is animated and alive, emanating and receptive to some spirit force.” – McCall

For most Native cultures, there is no distinction between the spiritual world and the material world. However, colonial European missionaries exploited the similarities between their concept of God and The Great Spirit to encourage conversion to Christianity. Worship of the land also created conflict with colonial Christians, which is explained in this episode with some beautiful spoken words from Professor Joseph Campbell that illuminate the dangers of dualism and the battle of Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong, Man vs Nature.

Conflict between colonial Europeans and Native Americans is addressed, noting a distinct connection to, and worshipping of, the land on which we reside. Today, there is a disconnect with Earth which we must mend. A ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ of sorts. Climate change is real, and McCall has some wise words regarding what we can to do make peace with our planet.

“It is undeniable that we as humans are out of balance with the planet.” – McCall

Perhaps we should adopt a way of thinking that is more aligned with the Native American culture, one where we strive for balance. Mother Earth needs us to take her into account when we act, celebrate, and create legacies.


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