Indigenous nations each have specific creation teachings.

Equality and Spiritual Diversity Among Nations

Duane Champagne

A main theme in contemporary liberal democratic states is equality. The equality that is implied in nation-states is the equality of individual citizens. All individual citizens within a country, at least in theory, have equality before the law, have the right to vote, equal opportunity, and should not face discrimination for differences in gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion or age.

Indigenous nations usually also have great respect for individuality, although it works somewhat differently from equality within a nation-state. Indigenous respect for equality comes from the spiritual world. A man or woman may seek knowledge and understanding from the spiritual world as a means to helping sick people, give direction to the community, create new rules, and to seek wisdom and guidance. Through ceremonies, prayers, sweats, or vision quests, individuals often seek personal guidance for how they are to live their lives, and what tasks a person should take up with their lives. Such spiritual knowledge can inform a person about their life calling, their leadership or family roles. A spiritual calling gained through fasting or ceremony is a way of seeking knowledge, and learning how a person fits into the great plan of the cosmic or spiritual order. Usually messages gained about spiritual callings are specific and mean only something to the individual.

Elders may listen to recountings of spiritual experiences or visions and interpret them, but the experiences are very personal, and often do not have meaning to other people. A person in an indigenous community has specific roles or tasks to do in their lifetime. The tasks come directly from the creator or indirectly through messengers from the creator. A person’s spiritual calling is specific and based on spiritual teachings or messages. A person’s spiritual calling is respected and honored. No mortal person has the power or right to tell another person to engage in a task that is contrary to their given spiritual path.


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