Native American History… What is Peyote?

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

Peyote is the fruit of a cactus found in Northern Mexico and the American Southwest. It looks a little bit like a mushroom. There is a fuzzy substance in it that is removed before it’s eaten. After feelings of nausea, it gives the partaker a high euphoric feeling and visions. In other words, it’s a hallucinogen. Peyote was used and is still used today by Native Americans in spiritual ceremonies. It was also eaten during war and for times of hard work because of the stimulating nature of its properties and its ability to subdue hunger and thirst. Unless you belong to one of the Native American religious groups granted legal permission to consume peyote, you will find yourself in trouble with the law if you have it in your possession. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

Advertisements

Do Native Americans Believe in God? Can You Believe Someone Even Asked That?

Lately, the question was asked, “Do Native Americans believe in God?” As someone who has studied Native American culture, lived in communities with Native Americans and have a little Indian ancestry myself, I can assure you that yes, it is common for Native Americans to believe in God. Not only do America’s churches have Native Americans in their congregations, but most of America’s Indian tribes throughout history have had strong “spiritual” components. However, Native Americans didn’t (and often still don’t) believe in God the same way as Europeans who colonized the New World. Native American spiritual beliefs are so sacred and diverse I wouldn’t attempt to explain them, at least not today. Their spiritual beliefs were rooted in nature, and they did not go about proselytizing the way Colonial Europeans did. Many of America’s Indians believed that a person’s relationship to divinity was a private matter and were astonished at the “in your face” attitude of the European Christian newcomers. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

Religion or Lack Thereof: Have Our Thanksgivings Changed? What Would George Washington Say?

In 1789 George Washington proclaimed a Thursday in November as officially “Thanksgiving.” In his short proclamation he used the expression “Almighty God” and referred to “his will” “his benefits” and to “his protection, aid and favors.” The day is to be “devoted… to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and various favors which he has been pleased to confer us.”

I think for the most part we have maintained the original soul of Thanksgiving. It is a day of thanks and I haven’t seen it balloon into an orgy of gift-giving like we see in December. What has changed, in my world, is the idea that “God” should be seen as “he.” Decades ago my daughter-in-law asked me why I was so sure that God was a “he.” I had been taught (indoctrinated is a better word) that way of thinking. I started hearing the expression “Goddess” and realized how closed-minded it was to think of the Almighty as only being male. Then one night I heard a black radio broadcaster in San Francisco. His joyful reference to God went something like this, “the big beautiful black woman in the sky.” Why not? Many cultures past and present see deity as female. I think we do our children a favor by acknowledging that both male and female represent Glorious Power and Influence. Today, a growing number of Americans find their enlightenment and awe in science and nature and forego any reference to God or religion.

My favorite is Native Americans who during Colonial times couldn’t understand Colonists’ in-your-face attitude about religion. Their belief was a relationship with the Almighty was a personal one and was no one else’s business.  I liked that. What a better world we would have if we accepted that there are as many ways to be thankful as there are to be in awe of something that is bigger than us all.

Here is the entire George Washington Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection, aid and favors…. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and various favors which he
has been pleased to confer us.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV