Spanish Influence On Native American Culture

1981 Words8 Pages
Spanish colonization of the United States had a unique impact on Southwestern Native Americans and their way of life, especially in the religious aspect. Harsh Spanish policies, created in the name of religion, such as the encomíenda system and the papal authorization to impose conversion, communicated a blatant disregard for the Native American culture, completely effecting their religious expression. Today, Native American religions have been either been successfully stamped out or have been merged with strict Catholic traditions to form the emergence of a fascinating new culture and interesting practices. The initial fallacy of Spanish conquistadors and monks was the assumption Native American tribes would hold the same religious beliefs,…show more content…
There was no central historical figure. There was no written creed that dictated whom or what to worship, or anything on specifically how they should do it. The most prominent and important aspect was respect for all things, especially in their interaction with the environment, with their every action. Oral traditions and role models, rather, conveyed their distinct values. There was no separation between secular and religious lives; culture and religion was a single, unified practice. Thus, Native American religion was completely exemplified to young children through actions; lessons became engrained from birth and were passed down from generation to generation. Because of the differences in religious culture and the lack of any palpable confirmation of Native American philosophies, Spanish either believed they had no religion, or that it was not substantial. They considered the Native Americans barbaric also because of their lack of technology. Originally, Spaniards even questioned whether the Natives were human or not. Due to their primitive ways and life in a completely foreign, unknown, and isolated region, they were a surprise to the Spanish (and to the rest of the
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