Indian's Creed

 

 

 

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Preface
Nine Principles
Spartans of the West
Indian's Creed
Reverence

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by Ernest Thompson Seton

These are the main thoughts in the Redman's creed:

(1)  While he believed in many gods, he accepted the idea of one Supreme Spirit, who was everywhere all the time; whose  help was needed continually, and might be secured by prayer and sacrifice.

(2) He believed in the immortality of the soul, and  that its future future condition was to be determined by its behavior in this life.

(3)  He reverenced his body as  the sacred temple of his spirit; and  believed it his duty in all ways to perfect his body, that his earthly record might be better.  We cannot, short of ancient Greece, find his equal in physical perfection.

(4)  He believed in the subjection of the body by fasting, whenever it seemed necessary for the absolute domination of the spirit; as when, in some great crises, that spirit felt the need for better insight.

(5)  He believed in reverence for his parents, and in old age supported them, even as he expected his children to support him.

(6)  He believed in the sacredness of property.  Theft among Indians was unknown.

(7)  He believed that the murderer must expiate his crime with his life; that the nearest kin was the proper avenger, but that for accidental manslaughter compensation might be made in goods.

(8)  He believed in cleanliness of body.

(9)  He believed in  purist of morals.

(10)  He believed in speaking the truth, and nothing but the truth.   His promise was absolutely binding.  He hated and despised a liar, and held all falsehood to be an abomination.

(11)  He believed in  beautifying all things in his  life.  He had a song for every occasion -- a beautiful prayer for every stress.  His garments were made beautiful with painted patterns, feathers, and quill-work.  He had dances for every fireside.  He has led the world in the making of beautiful baskets, blankets, and canoes; while the decorations he put on lodges, weapons, clothes, dishes, and dwellings, beds, cradles, or grave-boards, were among the countless evidences of his pleasure in the beautiful, as he understood it.

(12)  He believed in the simple life.  He held, first, that land belonged to the tribe, not to the individual; next, that the accumulation of property was the beginning of greed that grew into monstrous crime.

(13)   He believed in peace and the sacred obligations of hospitality.

(14)  He believed that the noblest of virtues was courage, and that, above all other qualities, he worshipped and prayed for.  So also he believed that the most shameful of crimes was being afraid.

(15)  He believed that he should so live his life that the fear of death could  never enter into his heart; that when the last call came he should put on the paint and honors of a hero going home, then sing his death song and meet the end in triumph.

If we measure this great pagan by our Ten Commandments, we shall find that he accepted and obeyed them, all but the first and third:   that is, he had many lesser gods besides the one Great Spirit, and he knew not the Sabbath Day of rest.  His religious faith, therefore, was much the same as that of the mighty Greeks, before whom all the world of learning bows; not unlike that of many Christians and several stages higher than that of the Huxley and other modern schools of materialism.

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.