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HUMA 1865 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Glooscap, Traditional MedicineExam

Course Code
HUMA 1865
Donald A Burke
Study Guide

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September 13, 2019 HUMA 1865 TUTR 8
Tutorial Exit Questions
1. What are the problematic terms we discussed in lecture? Why is each term problematic?
The first problematic term discussed in lecture was primitive. This term is defined as being
one of the first of their kind. This can be problematic in some cases as they are unable to adapt to
their surroundings and different changing customs. The next term was tribal/small-scaled. I think
this term is problematic because Indigenous religions are not limited to certain religions. There are
various groups and tribes within their religion so it is inaccurate to say that it is small-scaled. The
third term was primal. I believe this word is problematic because indigenous religions have been
practiced for a long time so it should not be considered ‘infant’. Another term discussed was
oral/pre-literate. The problem with characterizing oral terms is that it ignores those who follow
written traditions. Sometimes, oral traditions can be changed overtime so the accuracy is not
always ‘right’, it can be hard to remember rituals for some people, and there is limited access to
oral traditions unless someone knows another who follows these traditions. The final term that was
used to describe Indigenous Religions was traditional. This word may suggest unchanging.
However, similar to other religions, the beliefs of the people from this land do change over time.
2. How/why are spirits and ancestors important in most Indigenous Religions? Provide two
examples from the text(s)
In the text, it mentions that the indigenous sacred ways” often worship the spirits of ancestors
as part of the culture/community life. There are many creation stories talking about how the world
was created and how humans came to be. There are even origin stories mentioned, including Sky
Woman, Glooscap, Spider Woman, and Raven. Most indigenous religions believe in some sort of
spirit or a god, whether male or female, who created the world and is responsible for the way the
world works. These religions tend to believe that the natural world is full of spirits who control
everyday things and provide guidance to the living. For example, Shamans are really important in
indigenous religions. They are believed to be able to access the spirit world, communicate with
the spirits, and understand the future. There are other spiritual specialists mentioned in the
textbook, including the medicine” person, who is a traditional healer and spiritual leader in
indigenous religions.
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