June 26, 2013 (2)

June 26, 2013

From now on, learning to be a healer will be a main focus in my life. My sense of the mystical fits in very well with Native American beliefs. (Note that my belief in The One Eternal Soulmate is reflected in the Hindu statement about the Divine Marriage: that it may be found in physical form.)

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Here are the first three pages of:

Native American

~~Kentucky Hospital Association

info.kyha.com/documents/CG-Native_American.pdf
GUIDELINES FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS INTERACTING WITH AMERICAN INDIAN (NATIVE AMERICAN; FIRST NATION) PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION
Health care providers need to have an understanding of and respect for a wide spectrum of beliefs and religious preferences of their Native American patients in order to provide optimal care for them. As the population of Native American increases, health care workers including physicians, nurses and chaplains will more frequently encounter Native American patients who
require contact with the health care system. The information in this document is general and is applicable to all communities of Native Americans. In the United States, there are more than 500 nations of Native Americans, each having their own separate customs, language, culture, set of beliefs and religious practices. There is no single “Native American Religion”, or church
hierarchy. There is no central figure like Moses, Jesus, Muhammad or Buddha, nor is there a central holy book in Native American Religious tradition. It is an oral tradition that is passed down from generation to generation, based on certain guiding principles that are internalized
from childhood and are an integrated part of each person’s life. Following the sacred way does not separate life into segments, it is seen as one.
There are two and half million Native Americans living in the United States and Canada with over 100,000 residing in the metropolitan Chicago area. There are many Native Americans who follow traditional customs and spiritual beliefs. There are also many Native Americans who combine their traditional set of beliefs and religious practices within the framework of
Christianity and would want both traditional and Christian religious traditions while in the hospital. Chief Seattle said,
“Our religion is the tradition of our ancestors—the dreams of our
old men and women, given them in the solemn hours of the night by the Great Spirit, and the visions of our tribal chiefs—and is within the heart of our people.”
.
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
There are many ways of expressing ones spiritual beliefs and they vary widely from region to region and from Nation to Nation however there are certain basic concepts or ideas that do occur in most Native American Religions.

•     The Great Spirit, Great Mystery, Great Mysterious (Wakan Tanka {Lakota}, Gitchi Manitou {Algonquin}, Orenda {Iroquois}, Maheo {Cheyenne}, Taiowa {Hopi}, Tam Apo {Shosone}, Ussen {Apache} among other names) is a great power that is a part of all creation—in the wind, the water, the plants, the trees, the animals, the stones, in the sky, friends and strangers. This power cannot be imagined in a human form for it is a universal energy that is attuned to all of nature (plants, animals, earth, and humanity). All of nature, including human nature, is the Creation of this great power. The Great Spirit informs all of life and the traditions and rituals are meant to connect humans with that power. The Great Spiritcannot be seen or touched; it is present in the cycles of life such as the continuing change of seasons, day and night, growth and death, movement of sun, moon and stars. Most Native Americans whether they keep traditional (i.e. old customs and spiritual beliefs) or more modern (United Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, etc.) do share the common belief that there is one Creator of the heavens and earth and that all parts of creation (plants, animals, and humans) are created equal. This is emphasized further by the equal respectgiven to all parts of creation. Native Americans also believe that our Creator is never punishing or mean, but is a loving and just Creator. The Great Spirit is full of a joyous, wondrous and magnificent love that encircles all that desire.

•     The Creator’s Spirit is alive and in all things in the universe. Everything that can be seen or touched is “alive” with the spirit, or breath.
The Creator’s Spirit actively affects human lives
in ways that can be both good and bad. Mother or Grandmother Earth’s spirit nourishes and sustains life, and it is there that people return after death. Mother or Grandmother Earth is to be respected and given thanks for the life it gives to sustain creation. All forms of life depend on all others. The words Mitakuye’ Oyasin expresses this thought which means all of creation are my relatives, we are all one, “we are all connected and whatever
happens to the Earth it will happen to the children of the Earth.” (Chief Seattle). Lakota Holy Man Black Elk states, “Peace…comes within the souls of men and women when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the Universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere. It is within each of us.”
•     Each individual is called to “walk in the sacred way or to walk in beauty”. This means to live in balance and harmony with the universe and spirit world. Each person finds their own sacred way by seeking the sacred through traditional teachings, prayer, vision quests and or dreams.
•     Morals, ethics, values, beliefs, culture, customs, religious and sacred traditions are passed on through an oral tradition and through ceremonies. Cultural identity, understanding and bonding takes place through rituals developed by tr ibes over many centuries. Some of
these may include dancing, singing, drumming, prayer, worship, feasting, purification rites, fasting and physical ordeals. An example of this would be a singer coming to the hospital with a hand drum in order to sing a prayer song.
•     There are medicine men and women, singers, shamans, and healers who have been given a special gift by the Great Spirit to help mediate between the spirit world and the earthly world for healing, spiritual renewal and for the good of the community.
•     Humor is an important part of the sacred way because two-leggeds (people) need to be reminded of their own foolishness.
•     The theme of “One Mind” is one that runs through many Native American tribes.
•     Decisions will be put off if agreement cannot be reached. Dissention will dictate that one needs to proceed with caution and take time to reflect in order for everyone to come to “one mind”, “one accord” and/or “one decision”.
•     Community and relationships are important. Family includes m
any extended family members and friends and/or an entire clan. Elders are respected and listened to when decisions are being made.
•     Balance is an important concept. Illness occurs when life is out of balance. “Koyaanisquatsi”—life is out of balance.
BELIEFS RELATED TO HEALTH CARE
Health, for the individual Native American and/or the tribe or family, depends on proper actions and interactions with the spirit world. Well-being or wholeness comes about through walking in harmony with the forces of nature and the universe. Illness is a sign of having fallen out of step with those forces thus causing disharmony in spirit, mind and body. The most important
element, the essence of our being, is the individual’s spirit and for wellness to occur the spirit must be considered. For this reason, a Native American with a broken leg, for example, may seek treatment not only from a physician to care for the physical injury but also from a medicine
man or woman to care properly for the spirit. C. Locust in the article “Wounding the Spirit: Discrimination and traditional American Indian belief systems” states: “Treating the spirit is the process of finding out why the broken leg occurred, understanding the event in a spiritual
rather than a physical sense, and then beginning the process of changing whatever it was in the body, mind, or spirit that was out of harmony enough to warrant a broken leg.”
Many traditional Native Americans believe that illness comes from supernatural forces. Examples are: the Cherokee believe animal
spirits bring illness when hunters do not pay proper respect; other tribes believe illness is caused through an individual’s bad actions; Iroquois believe illness is caused by unfulfilled desires and dreams; Inuit believe illness can be the result of sins committed by ancestors; and others believe illness occurs through contact with evil spirits. Serious illness may be the result of “soul loss”, in which evil spirits, especially those of the dead, capture the sick person’s soul when it is out of his or her body during sleep. A diagnosis of soul loss denotes critical illness. This patient may have a wasting disease, be
delirious, unconscious, or in a coma. Curing takes place through rituals that restore the sick person to balance and harmony. Health and healing are built on the foundation of relationship and the interconnectedness of life.
Native Americans consider healing a sacred calling. If one is called into healing ministry one must use that gift to help others. Native healers use healing places and natural means to cure people during illness. Healing power comes from the natural forces of the earth, which can be
reached through the saying of prayers. During times of illness many Native Americans will call upon a medicine man or woman or shaman. In
most cases the medicine person is also considered a holy person because it is the belief that they do all of their healing with the Creator’s help and guidance. Many Native Americans today will call upon both modern
medicine and traditional healing ceremonies to achieve wellness.
GENERAL BELIEFS AND PRACTICES (INDIVIDUAL PRACTICES MAY VARY)
To Walk in Beauty,  a concept from the Navajo tradition is an important phrase. It is included in prayers as well as using it as an honored phrase in parting. It does not mean that you should see beautiful things around you. Beauty means to live in balance. This balance includes a circle containing our parts – body, mind, heart and soul. Another circle of Beauty would be community, family, plants and animal, brother & sisters. And yet another circle includes earth (mineral) air, water and fire. There must be a balance…a oneness with all parts, the ones listed above and our traditional spiritual self with the universe. This is a must. Picture a perfectly weighted mobile. That will represent all parts walking in beauty. Now place a weight on one of the strings. The mobile is out of balance. This could represent our lives
during an illness or crisis. The doctor may remove or fix that problem. But still we shake as the mobile does. We need the spiritual person to make everything right to restore the oneness with all so we may Walk in Beauty again.

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