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Chapter 3.11: Apsáalooke Spirituality

Apsáalooke Writing Tribal Histories Project

Anytime a person looks at a person different than themselves, another family or another group of people, the things that are unfamiliar may be difficult to understand. When learning about the Apsáalooke, there are many things that tribal members have grown up with that seem normal to him or her. Like many other people living in the United States, the Apsáalooke have cultural and social practices that are part of their everyday, contemporary lives. Beliefs and practices that have their origins in the development of the Apsáalooke as a Native people. These concepts and ways are held dear by Apsáalooke people.

Historically and today, much of what Apsáalooke people do and think is based on spiritual beliefs. Whether people were guided through visions or sent gifts to help in the lives of their people, the Apsáalooke believe strongly that there is a reason for the order of the world and what happens within it.

One of the biggest misunderstandings about Apsáalooke spirituality has been that the people practice polytheism, or believe in multiple gods. This is not that case. The Apsáalooke believe in First Maker, the creator of the world and practice monotheism. While First Maker is the supreme creator, the Apsáalooke believe that certain things were given powers and could aid humans as was needed. When we hear stories that tell of animals talking, or humans being helped by particular things, it should not be confused with the worship of multiple gods. For the Apsáalooke, there is one creator, and many things that have been blessed with different powers by Him. In addition, the Apsáalooke believe that any form of worship or prayer is good, and that to be fulfilled as human beings one needs spirituality. For this reason, Apsáalooke people respect the right of individuals to worship as they feel appropriate. They do not ridicule or reject anyone’s spiritual beliefs or practices, instead they support religious and spiritual diversity.

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