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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Punishment - Spiritual

Tribal Punishment


Sentencing Circle

Visual representation of nature's laws

"Freedom seemed to the Native American to be a natural state of affaires for animals and men. But it was a freedom within the framework and restrictions of nature itself, scarcely unrestricted freedom for either animals or men. Animals such as the buffalo, antelope and deer had areas of forage and men had to follow. It is a metaphysical ‘given’ among all Native American that nature is always stronger than man and if abused will eventually exact a vengeance of her own. The belief in ‘imminent or cosmic justice’ is strong even today … an example of this occurred recently in a reservation community when a man came home drunk and kicked his cat. The man apparently dislocated the cat’s neck vertebrae because, although the cat survived, its head lolled to one side in a queer manner. Shortly thereafter, the wife if this man was delivered of a deformed child. There was almost unanimous consensus that this was retribution for mistreating an animal" (Bunge 99)

"As one middle-aged Ojibwa hunter recalled, ‘There’s a man and woman in (this reserce) whose children are crippled (with congentital dislocation of the hip). Everyone knows the reason for this: it’s because of something the man did in the past. Before he was married he went out hunting and shot a moose in the hindquarters. The moose was crippled but it stillhad enough strength to wander off in the bush. That man should have followed that moose but he didn’t. He didn’t finish the job and that’s why his children are crippled" (Driben, Auger, Doob et al. 105)


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