By Joel W. Martin
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Additional info for Native American Religion (Religion in American Life)
New World crops altered the lives of Europeans who never migrated to America. Potatoes became a mainstay in Poland, Russia, Ireland, and elsewhere in Northern Europe. Tomatoes added color to Italian cuisine. Corn, squash, beans, pumpkins, and many 50 Tradition and Crisis in the Eastern Woodlands • other foods enhanced Europeans' diets and lives. These Native American contributions and others decisively changed European history. Contact altered the lives of Native Americans just as fundamentally.
Or, the alienated species might exact some form of vengeance, sending sickness to hunters or killing the hunters' kin. The Delaware hunter knew exactly what he was doing when he yelled at the bear. Treating the animal as if bears were sworn "enemies" of humans, the victorious hunter cajoled his ursine victim, reminding him of the "war" between humans and bears. The Delaware hunter hoped his words would convince the spiritually potent animal not to hold a grudge. But he may also have been talking to himself.
Through a great variety of ceremonies, songs, and dances, Native Americans expressed their sense that life was a deeply spiritual affair. "On the approach of a storm or thunder-gust," Delaware Indians, according to John Heckewelder, prayed to the god of the air. " In both cases, reverent Native Americans sacrificed tobacco in gratitude. Mohawk travelers did something similar when crossing Lake George in upstate New York. They placed specially prepared bundles of tobacco on the particular rock where the god of the wind resided.
Native American Religion (Religion in American Life) by Joel W. Martin