On chapels cathedrals and temples – I agree with Charles Eastman , a Santee Dakota physician:

 

 

“There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature. Being a natural man, the Indian was intensely poetical.

He would deem it sacrilege to build a house for Him who may be met face to face in the mysterious, shadowy aisles of the primeval forest, or on the sunlit bosom of virgin prairies, upon dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock, and yonder in the jeweled vault of the night sky!

He who enrobes Himself in filmy veils of cloud, there on the rim of the visible world where our Great-Grandfather Sun kindles his evening camp-fire, He who rides upon the rigorous wind of the north, or breathes forth His spirit upon aromatic southern airs, whose war-canoe is launched upon majestic rivers and inland seas—He needs no lesser cathedral!”

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One thought on “On chapels cathedrals and temples – I agree with Charles Eastman , a Santee Dakota physician:

  1. I do have a little trouble with the recent version of the Noble Savage narrative that has the ancestors of today’s indigenous people as sitting around all day engaging in peaceful spiritual meditations.

    They were certainly no worse, yet they were no better, than the rest of the world in this aspect.

    Historically hunter gatherer interactions and understanding of the spiritual world were just as much based on fear of bad luck and evil spirits than on some kind of happy-faced zen.

    Indigenous people called on the spirits to assist them in engaging in endemic tribal warfare, slavery, rape, infanticide and, other less gentle activities. From time to time, they took their neighbour’s stuff through force.

    They were not alone in such depravity yet it is what it is. And their actions don’t justify our actions. Hopefully, we can all seek better pathways.

    As for being the ultimate conservationists, the record seems to be showing that, like the rest of us, they conserved during the bad times and during the good times, not so much. Their conservation efforts were not so much based on their respect for nature, but rather practical decisions that best met their future consumption needs.

    Good on them, I say.

    At the same time, stampeding a whole herd over a cliff because it would be easier to kill them, isn’t exactly the spiritual ‘we don’t waste’ practice that it is suggested to be.

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