Native Manifestations of God?

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by Ahanu, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Let's discuss Native Manifestations of God.



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    “Figure 12.2. Jenny Manybeads, a Diné (Navajo) Baha’i, embraced the Baha’i Faith in the 1950’s. At the age of 100, she is pictured here, in 1984, in front of her hogan (traditional Navajo sacred home of wooden poles, tree bark and mud) in Dinnebito, Arizona. Rug weaver, herbalist, and midwife, Manybeads was affectionately called the “Grandmother of Big Mountain.” She passed away on November 3, 1999, at the age of 115. (Photo courtesy of David Smith.)” (Excerpt From: Christopher Buck. “God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America” (2015), p. 324. iBooks."
    It should be noted Joseph Smith comes from a line of Abrahamic religions. There are different streams of religious traditions. The Abrahamic stream represents only one of them. Abdu'l-Baha said:

    "In cycles gone by, though harmony was established, yet, owing to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could not have been achieved. Continents remained widely divided, nay even among the peoples of one and the same continent association and interchange of thought were well-nigh impossible. Consequently, intercourse, understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the earth were unattainable...."

    The Research Department has considered the implications of Abdu'l-Baha's words above and other similar sayings. They said:

    ". . . it would appear possible that Manifestations of God have lived simultaneously in different areas of the globe..."

    Since religious streams can be considered distinct because of their extreme remoteness from one another, it does not follow that Shoghi Effendi's quote about Joseph Smith excludes Native Manifestations of God. Many Native American Baha'is consider Deganawida (12th century) a Manifestation of God, but how can that be if he came after Muhammad? Christopher Buck PhD provides a possible answer:

    "The fact that Deganawida came after Muhammad need not pose an insurmountable difficulty, since native spirituality has had no historical connection with the Abrahamic stream of revelation. Diffusionist theories may explain the transmission of some vestiges of ancient native spirituality, but such diffusion does not predetermine subsequent developments. Though Islam is a universal religion and was always so potentially, its presence in the New World is relatively late and Bahá'ís cannot expect Amerindians to have accepted Islam when they had no knowledge of it. While having appeared long after Muhammad, yet Deganawida came prior to the advent of Islam in North America. The Qur'án is not universal in its particulars. And despite the universal features of its salvation history, the quranic universe did not include the New World at the time of its revelation."

    For more information, see Christopher Buck's work below:

    Native Messengers of God in Canada?:
    A Test Case for Bahá'í Universalism


    Messengers of God in North America, Revisited:
    An Exegesis of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablet to Amír Khán


    Another great resource is Christopher's book titled God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America. Two sample chapters have been released by the publisher. Here's an excerpt from the beginning of a chapter published online about Deganawida:


    Benjamin Franklin was right: the Iroquois Confederacy was a worthy model for America.

    Franklin refers to the “Six Nations,” the most well-known New World democracy prior to European “contact.” The Six Nations was a consensus-based system of governance, and therefore democratic. The founding nations were five: Oneidas, Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. Later, between 1710 and 1735, the Tuscaroras joined as the sixth full nation of the league. In Benjamin Franklin’s day, the confederacy was known (and is still known today) as the “Six Nations.” More were adopted into the league as incorporated nations, according to Barbara Mann: the Andastes (the Cones-togas), the Conoys (Piscataways), the Delawares (Lenni Lenapes), the Eries (the Long-tailed Cat (or Lynx) Nation), the Honniasonts, the Kah-Kwahs,the Mahicans, the Munsees, the Nanticokes, the Neutrals (Wyandots ofCanada, miscalled “Hurons” by the French), the Saponis, the Squawkihaws,the Susquehannocks, the Tutelos, the Wappingers, the Wenros (or Wen-ronhronons), the Wyandots (or Ywendats), and the Wyomings.

    The original “Five Nations” alliance was established by Deganawida (a.k.a. the “Peacemaker”).
    Me personally? I think Deganawida was a Manifestation of God.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Interesting reading...the portions about utilizing portions of the confederacy constitution in our own are intriguing.

    As is the concept that essentially the prophet's words had not reached here yet therefore post prophet...a stretch maybe but has merit.
     
  3. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Staff Member

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    Very interesting. I'm learning a lot about the Baha'i faith, but also a lot I didn't know about the beliefs of Native Americans. I see myself going down the reading rabbit hole...
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Native Americans were as varied in their beliefs as could be...they each had their own stories, their own belief... With so many nations/tribes/languages there is no single understanding...other than white man speak with forked tongue.
     
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  5. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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  6. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Staff Member

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    Aside from a few stories my great grandmother told me about her experiences as a Sauk, I have done a poor job of learning about the variety of Native American beliefs. Your comment is a helpful reminder that I need to avoid making it sound like they all fall under the same categorization. Thanks.
     
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  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    The Iroquois Confederacy was bound together by the Great Law of Peace. Searching Youtube, I found this video that goes into a little more detail below about its connection with our own:



    The description says it features a "voiceover by Donald Grinde, Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Buffalo".

     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  8. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    By the way, have you read this book about Patricia Locke? I haven't had a chance yet. I had a chance to see her son Kevin Locke perform his hoop dance live. It was pretty cool. He's another famous Native Baha'i.

    The title of this thread mentions Native Manifestations of God (plural). With that in mind . . . in one interview, Christopher Buck asked Kevin Locke about White Buffalo Calf Woman.
    White Buffalo Calf Woman is another possible Native Manifestation of God.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  9. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...CFAF68F60BAB527EAD04CFAF68F60BAB527&FORM=VIRE

    I've met Kevin Locke.... but it was quite awhile ago.. David Villasenor was a Yaqui Indian who learned sand painting from Navaho wise men and actually did a healing service for a little girl with diabetes in my living room. He spread a large leather sheet over the floor and had made a sand painting and had her sit in the middle while he was chanting... at the end of the service he picked up the leather sheet with the sand in it and distributed the contents somewhere. David was a Baha'i and used symbolism of Native American art to explain the Faith.
     
  10. Abdulhamit

    Abdulhamit New Member

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    Chahta and Chicksah were twin founders of the eponymous nations, led by the spirit of Aba (in some versions an unnamed messenger of Aba). Similar to the "twin manifestations". These ideas are quite common within the mythologies and religions of the Indigenous Americans. Most have a name, or many named, messenger(s) within their traditions. I suppose it's best to do the study of their cultures. I dunno how useful my input is here or if I'm qualified to speak amongst the Baha'i.
     

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