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Comparing & Contrasting Native American & African religion

            Native religions may be similar but may also be different. Native religions are also called basic religions because there is not any written information about these contemporary religions. For example, native African and American religions have similar concepts of animism and the High God. Their differences are seen in their treatment of their ancestors. The native religions from America and Africa are similar but also have several differences.
             Animism is a common concept among native African and American religions. It is "the belief that nature is alive with spirits that have feelings and can be communicated with". These spirits are able to help or harm, and an animist believes that therefore they should worship these spirits. The Native Americans believe that the Supreme Being lives in all creation. Therefore, the attitude of the Native Americans toward nature is respectful, because they have to be respectful to the Supreme Being. They seek to live in harmony with nature. For example, hunting was only done when needed, and then every part of the animal was used. The hunter prayed before the kill, because "the hunter saw the animal as a fellow creature". The Native Americans are also prayerful toward the soil, plants, and trees. Planting and harvesting are done with rituals and taboos. The gathering of clay for pottery production is "done with an understanding of the life in the soil". Before cutting a tree one makes an offering to it, and nothing is wasted because trees are sacred. Similarly, the Native Africans also believe that "the universe is populated by spirits as well as humans and animals". They believe that the earth, the sky, and the waters have a life force similar to that of humans. These forces could be helpful or harmful. Native Africans believe these forces have a direct influence on human life, and therefore try to understand the spirits and seek their favors by prayer, flattery, and sacrifice.

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