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Religious Freedom Granted in 1978

American Indians around the country could now practice cultural beliefs and practices.

By Denise E LindquistPublished 3 months ago β€’ 3 min read
Top Story - May 2024
Religious Freedom Granted in 1978
Photo by Kristina V on Unsplash

What traditions are you most thankful for and why? Rupi Kaur's Gratitude Writing Prompts

1. Enormous Gratitude for the return of religious freedom for American Indians in 1978. The same year I got into recovery. That year I could smudge, go into the sweat lodge, attend full-moon ceremony, pipe ceremony, wiping of tears ceremony, and others.

I was 24 years old in 1978, and had two children. It took many years for things to come above ground. As children, many were told that they can't ever talk about some of what happened in their communities without getting into trouble. Some things may never come above ground.

As a child, there were holidays that others celebrated, that we celebrated too. In our neighborhood, we had May Day baskets and all that entailed. I remember smudging with hippies in my preteens, and the smudge was with sage and the guy starting the smudge said, "It cleans your aura man!"

2. One of the things I think of is not written and wasn't even said but it was taught and that is that we have two eyes, two ears, and one mouth for a reason. Watch and listen more and talk less, until you know who you are with and the situation. Are you safe?

In graduate school, one of my professors wanted to review my MMPI and I was hoping to skip that. I had taken one before. I sat down with the professor and she looked at the results and said, almost to herself. All are within normal limits! A big relief to me, as it wasn't always that way.

Then she said, "Oh, you had me fooled as I thought you were shy!" I then thought, I have never been shy, and oh darn, now I have to participate more as in graduate school, the grade is dependent on participation and you have to get B's.

3. In my childhood, I attended Catholic school through grade four. My mother strongly believed that education was important and that we would get a better education by attending Catholic school. My siblings all attended eight grades of Catholic school.

After my dad died we moved and there was not a spot for me in the new town. It was probably best as I had such a positive experience with my fourth-grade teacher. Sister Phillippa.

None of my siblings or I can be considered Catholic. Sister Phillippa gave me bookmarks about the saints and talked about being married to Jesus. As a 9/10 year old I thought I wanted to be a nun because of her. I stayed in touch with her until she was older and retired in a nun's home.

She met my children, so I was in my 20s the last time I saw her. Over 10 years of knowing her, and her love and I continue to have her picture on my desk.

Most of my siblings will be buried where other family are buried and some of us were married. I never had my first marriage annuled that was in the Catholic Church. When I think of the Catholic Church and religion, I prefer to think of Sister Phillippa. Loving and kind spirit.

4. In much the same way to values, our people practice what are referred to as the seven grandfathers. They are Similar to Christian values and other tribes values. I grew up hearing stories related to the seven grandfathers.

The Seven Grandfather Teachings are a set of principles from Indigenous cultures in North America. Each teaching is represented by an animal and helps guide how we can live our lives. (Sample of the 7 grandfather teachings)

Wisdom (represented by the beaver)

Love (represented by the eagle)

Respect (represented by the buffalo)

Bravery/Courage (represented by the bear)

Honesty (represented by the raven or sabe)

Humility (represented by various animals, including the turtle)

Truth (represented by the turtle)

There is so much more, but this is enough to talk about for traditions I am thankful for and why. Many Native people working in substance abuse and mental health believe that TRADITION IS PREVENTION, AND CULTURE IS TREATMENT!

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About the Creator

Denise E Lindquist

I am married with 7 children, 27 grands, and 12 great-grandchildren. I am a culture consultant part-time. I write A Poem a Day in February for 8 years now. I wrote 4 - 50,000 word stories in NaNoWriMo. I write on Vocal/Medium weekly.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (11)

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on your Top Story!

  • Andy Potts3 months ago

    Congrats on top story. I hadn't realised that religious freedom came as late as 1978 for native Americans - clearly I still have a lot to learn.

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Awesome story for the prompt!!! Love that you included watch and listen more and talk less!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!β™₯ β™₯ β™₯

  • Andrea Corwin 3 months ago

    Beautiful, Denise! I loved reading about the Grandfathers. Congratulations on the TS!!πŸ’•

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! πŸŽ‰πŸ’–πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸ’–πŸŽŠ

  • Cheryl E Preston3 months ago

    This is a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing your truth.

  • Belle3 months ago

    Very educational, eye opening. Thank you, Denise! Congrats on top story!

  • Amelia Mapstone3 months ago

    Amen! Wow, thank you for sharing. Such a beautiful testimony to the True Spirit who works in all of us. πŸ₯°

  • Christy Munson3 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story. I especially enjoyed the lessons from the seven grandfather teachings.

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    That's really interesting. I wonder what research is put there around the idea of tradition as prevention.

  • Oooo, watch and listen more but talk less. I really liked that one!

Denise E LindquistWritten by Denise E Lindquist

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