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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Variety of 'Sacred' Moments

Ceremony

Secrecy

Variety of 'Sacred' Moments

Dominance of
the Pipe

Meanings of
Sacred Pipe

Western Use of Language

Personal
Responsibility

Other Ways
of Speaking
and Knowing

Sources

Visual representation of nature's laws

Typically, religious artifacts in Western religions are utilized in situations that practitioners describe as "sacred". This means that a time and perhaps a place has been set aside for a special "religious" moment, when everyone attending the activity takes on a certain sober comportment towards what is being done. There are indeed many such moments in Indigenous traditions, but neither the time nor the place may have the same meaning as 'sacred' for Westerners. The reason for this is that in the Indigenous system there is no conceptual framework that limits 'holy' behaviour from "unholy"; rather what occurs is a mixture of activities that we might call sacred with activities that we might call profane.

No such distinction exists in Nature's Law. Rather what we find is that there are sacred moments and not-so-sacred moments, all standing more or less together. Humour might mix with pious demeanour. Hunting can be a very "sacred" business for Indigenous people, yet few in Western religion would see it so. This is because the sacred is only supposed to exist in certain well-defined situations for the Western practitioner. Westerners think that hunting is not a sacred occasion.

In short, there are very few parallels between the Nature's Law of Indigenous people and the religious system of Westerners. Yet, there are clearly sacred moments, in which Indigenous people encounter spiritual truths of a profound kind. Consider the statement of Buck Navajo:

"Now to go back to when I was very young, to my earliest recollections as a child. I remember all these prominent men and leaders brought together and gathered in one place. And this was at the hogan of my father. And I remember well the masses of people who came to these gatherings. And their main purpose was to renew and to keep alive these sacred stories. And it happened during night time.

And I was in their midst, was lying in their midst, as they were talking among themselves. And even though I was young and little, I had an early interest in this (event of) teaching one another the way of life. And I remember as if it had (all) happened very recently. And this much I remember, and this much I understood when I was young. (Since then) I walked this sacred way. Again right now, as I think about it, it is as if it happened recently.

We are left to conclude that the relationship between the sacred and the profane cannot be predicted from the outside, and that an act of religion may be taking place when it appears that everyone is just participating in a social gathering. Special moments have a range of interpretations, even to the most ardent Indigenous person..

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