Native Americans

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Native Americans

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Pueblo Indian near Gallup, New Mexico, in 1937. Spirits and communication with the dead have long been an integral part of Native American culture. AP/WideWorld Photos.

Native Americans

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Many spirit guides who work with mediums appear as Native Americans. For example, Estelle Roberts’ Red Cloud, Stephen O’Brien’s White Owl, Maurice Barbanell’s Silver Birch, Kathleen Barkel’s White Hawk, and Ronald Hearn’s Running Water. Nandor Fodor lists many others: North Star (Gladys Leonard), White Feather (John Sloan), Greyfeather (J. B. Jonson), Grey Wolf (Hazel Ridley), Bright Eyes (May Pepper), Red Crow (Frederick Foster Craddock), Black Hawk (Evan Powell), Black Foot (John Myers), Moonstone (Vout Peters), Tecumseh (W. H. Powell), and many more.

In This Is Spiritualism (1959), Maurice Barbanell discusses the number of Native American spirit guides, saying, “North American Indians were masters of psychic laws, with a profound knowledge of supernormal forces and how they operated. This qualifies them, after their passing, to act as tutors and guides to their mediums.” Certainly most Spiritualists acknowledge that by their very lifestyle, being close to nature and working with the earth, Native Americans were probably much more in tune with the forces of nature and so were able to accept communication with spirits.

Whether or not it is because modern Spiritualism was born in North America, the tie with Native Americans seems firmly established to the point where many mediums—both in America and around the world—enjoy such a figure as their spirit guide. In Spiritualism Explained), E. W. Wallis wrote, “Many [American] Indian spirits become true and faithful friends. They act as protectors—'doorkeepers’ so to speak—to their mediums. They do the hard work of development in the circle and prevent the intrusion of undesirable spirits. Sometimes they are boisterous and exuberant in their operations and manifestations … we think it is wise to exercise a restraining influence over their demonstrations. They generally possess strong healing power and frequently put their mediums through a course of calisthenic exercises.”

Scottish medium Gordon Smith has a list of popular myths about mediums that he likes to dispel. One is as follows: “Myth #4: Mediums always have Native American spirit guides. There are lots of Native American guides, but they’re probably only there to try to sort out some of the cowboys who call themselves mediums!"


Barbanell, Maurice: This Is Spiritualism. Oxshott: The Spiritual Truth Press, 1959
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
Smith, Gordon: The Unbelievable Truth: A Medium’s Guide to the Spirit World. London: Hay House, 2004
The Spirit Book © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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Dreams in Native American cultures are considered very spiritually significant and may help guide the dreamers toward their future purposes in life.

Native Americans


The meaning of dreams to Native Americans varies from tribe to tribe. However, dreams are regarded as the most important experiences in the individual’s life and as the determining factors in the individual’s role in the life of the tribe. All dreams reflect the various supernatural and religious traditions of specific groups and are shaped by each culture’s distinctive influence and mythology. Generally, Native Americans regard the individual dream as having significance for the individual, and its influence is judged as good or bad, favorable or unfavorable, pure or impure in part by its content and in part by its effects on the dreamer.

The Navaho, the Kwakiutl of the Canadian Pacific Coast, and the Eastern Woodlands tribes usually interpret individual dreams from the point of view of their influence on the life of the individual. If the dream seems to indicate violation of taboos, it leads to purification and other rituals. If it indicates illness, it leads to curing rituals.

In the lower Colorado region, the Yuma see a clear distinction between the power-bestowing dream or dream vision, and the less significant dream of everyday life. Dreams are considered the direct basis of all religion, tradition, and shamanic power and are believed to begin before birth and to be more real than waking. The Yuma believe that whatever is dreamed has happened or is about to happen. The Mohave, on the other hand, believe that dreams are the basis of everything in life and that good dreams indicate good luck, whereas bad dreams equal bad luck. Also, they believe that shamans (“medicine men”) acquire powers by dreaming. According to the Kamia of the Imperial Valley of California and Mexico, dreams are best for young persons, as old people may die during dreams. The Kamia also believe that knowledge of the destiny of human souls can be derived from dreams.

In the Southwest culture area, the Navaho believe that gods, dreams, and sickness are causally related. Dreams represent the cause of illness, and such dreams are referred to interpreters or magicians, who reveal the cause and prescribe the cure. Dreams are viewed as good or bad according to the aftereffect of the dream. Certain dreams, such as death dreams, have standardized interpretations, and it is generally believed that gods and spirits of deceased men and animals can put dreams into the individual’s head. The Navaho also believe that good dreams come true only once in a while, whereas bad dreams always come true.

Among the Crow, visions are very important, and success in life is believed to result from the vision. According to the Dakota, dreams are revelations from the spirit world, and prophetic visions are what the person saw and knew in a former state of existence. Fasting by girls, who then tell their dreams to their parents, is a tradition among the Menomini, central Algonkin, and woodland Pottawatomie. Among the eastern Cree the fasting dream must never be shared lest it give offense to the spirits.

Among the Ottawa and the Ojibwa, for whom both pattern dreaming and individual dreaming are regarded as important, dreams are induced by formal parental suggestion to the child vision seeker to keep dreaming until he or she dreams right. Fasting is also important among the Kwakiutl Indians when they seek to gain the help of the spirits. Hunting dreams are regarded as good, and certain dreams are interpreted as indicating the conditions for fishing. The Kwakiutl regard dreams of the dead as bad dreams that will cause an epidemic in which many will die. Persons who have prophetic dreams that are deemed good, however, are considered to be valuable tribe members.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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In addition to the Council, the USDA will: 1) create 10 to 15 USDA regional sub-offices that will provide education and technical assistance to Native American farmers and ranchers and their advocates; 2) undertake a systematic review of its farm loan policies to determine how its regulations and policies can be reformed to better assist Native American farmers and ranchers; 3) create a customer guide on applying for credit from the USDA; 4) create the Office of the Ombudsperson to address concerns of all socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; and, 5) regularly collect and report data on how well Native Americans fare under USDA's farm loan programs.
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