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Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Religions & Faiths > North American Indigenous Spirituality

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Old 27-02-2016, 02:10 PM
SoulsInMotion SoulsInMotion is offline
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Native Americans, Finno-Ugrics, Finndians, and my story.

First of all, I write this with all respect to the various native american cultures out there. I am aware that some do not take kindly to "pretenders" or those who would use their symbology and traditions. This is not my intent - but merely to tell of what I know and what has happened to me.

My ancestry is 100% finno-ugric, for as long as I can tell anyway. If you know anything about European bloodlines, then you might be aware that both linguistically and genetically, Finns are quite distinctive from their geographic neighbors in Scandinavia, which can be illustrated quite well in this image (see small tree on its own in bottom right):



Finns have a long historic connection with the land, are considered a forest people and live by lakes, where their most holy activity is to sit in a hot room called a sauna. Originally, these were "smoke saunas" made of stone, life revolved around them. Meat was smoked there, women had their babies there, and illnesses were treated. It was also a spiritual place of course, and it was always understood how one should act reverently in this place. Nothing like it is treated in big western cities today.

In the middle ages, and into the 20th century, Finns were persecuted and their culture and traditions destroyed. The kingdoms of Russia and Sweden were in constant battle over their territory. Finns were either subjects of one kingdom, or the other. Finland eventually gained its independence, but this is not true of some other Finn nations within Russian territory. These people were sent off to gulags or killed, and those who were blessed escaped.

My father was one of these people.

Finnish immigrants in America and "Finndians"

I will quote another website, which tells you a bit of the relationships which were forged since the 1800s, between native american tribes and finns:

Quote:
“Years ago it wasn’t long before the Finns and Indians began to marry. You have to be careful what you say now. A guy may be partly Finn, partly a White person — and look like a Finn — but he’s an Indian all right. He’s on the reservation enrollment. Be careful when you’re talking about the Indian, because if he doesn’t like that, you’re going to be caught outside.”

“When the Finns arrived in Minnesota in the late 1800s, they came at a time when the Anishinabe were just put onto the reservations,” Lyz Jaakola said. Lyz is a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Her mother is also a band member, and her father is Finnish. Jaakola’s father grew up on a Finnish farmstead on the Fond du Lac Reservation, where he met and married Jaakola’s mother. “There were a lot of circumstantial things and similarities in beliefs and mannerisms, that nurtured these connections between the Finnish and Native Americans.,” Jaakola stated.

It seems to some that it was inevitable that the two groups would mingle, creating a new population of “Finndians.” One culture had the sauna; the other had the sweat lodge. One group found multiple uses for cedar, the other used birch. In the late 1800s, both the immigrant Finnish population and the native Ojibwe people of northern Minnesota had strong storytelling traditions, and both put great stock in communal living. The two cultures also shared reserved personalities and the tendency to avoid conflict. And for Finns who wanted to buy some land of their own to settle down and start farming, “the land that was available and affordable at the time was near and on reservations,” Jaakola said. Much of that land was low and waterlogged — which just happened to resemble much of the landscape in Finland. Both peoples had learned to thrive in similar environments.

Both cultures also faced persecution and degradation. They both have a history of being pushed out of their homeland. Finns were forced from their homes when part of the country was ceded to Russia. American Indian populations had endured such forcible removal nearly a century earlier. “Both ethnicities were the underdogs in the region, especially after the Finnish involvement with the mines and the strikes,” Jaakola said. In 1907, Finnish iron ore miners in northern Minnesota spearheaded a strike against the Oliver Mining Co. The company eventually broke a three-month strike, after which Finns were largely excluded from mining jobs.

Now you understand some of the history. In part two (next post) I will describe the unusual chain of events which make my own story even before I knew any of this history.
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Old 27-02-2016, 03:00 PM
SoulsInMotion SoulsInMotion is offline
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I was born in Canada - my Finnish parents had both emigrated there - My father as a war refugee.

The city I grew up in, was just such a mining town, built on land taken forcibly from the Algonquin people. I grew up around people who bothered me greatly in their spirit. They seemed full of darkness and emptiness. Miners and drunkards who wasted their lives away in misery. And yet, they always spoke harshly of native people and used pejorative slang and accused them of being nothing but gasoline drinkers and glue sniffers who were human trash. It was difficult sometimes not to get caught up in these beliefs and rhetoric, but I remember mainly that whenever native peoples were portrayed in the media, I found something that I resonated with in their lifestyle, a certain kind of straightforwardness and simplicity. I felt "this is right."

It's easy to talk about this Hollywood cliche of the "noble savage", because there are good and bad in every culture. But you can see when a culture is healthy overall, and when viruses of the mind and spirit have rendered a culture diseased and corrupt. So. I took a vague interest in native americans. But nothing more. This was all 15-20 years ago. Then the winds of change began to blow, as I moved across the globe myself.

Immediately, I got into contact with someone from my old hometown through a friend who began to provide me with freelance work. It turned out that a very large percentage of the work involved various First Nations groups all across Canada. This is when my understanding first began to grow.

Here is the next piece. I grew up in a Christian home and went to an evangelical church. The idea of "God" made sense to me, and the spirit world did as well, since I had personal knowledge and experiences of it since childhood. They just came to me, outside of church. It was never anything indoctrinated into me by them, and they would have called my experiences imaginations. My own mother did not know how to handle them. For instance, as a child one night, I saw a scroll appear above my dresser cabinet next to my bed, with strange symbols on it.

At 24 years old, one year before I moved, I had felt the pull in my heart to stop going to church. To my parents this could only be interpreted as "falling into sin". In truth, I felt that I was not getting closer to God there, but that was what I wanted. It was stunting my spiritual growth. I received a powerful vision where I was transported out of body, into the church building. A man in a suit was trying to beckon me to the front, and I refused, crying out to God instead for help, in my head. As I knelt at the bench, a voice spoke to me. It assured me that what I needed to do was find my own voice, and not follow these rituals. A being of light took my hand outside the church doors.

I never felt comfortable with the Christian practice of speaking in tongues. It felt like it was "not me". Christians tried to convince me that I WOULD receive this gift. Many years went by and I did not receive it. It felt forced and fake.

Years later I had a dream, where I was again in a church building. This time it was filled with faceless men in suits. They beckoned me over, and I approached. One held out his hands, and showed me an object. I looked down and it was a tribal mask, the appearance of which I still remember. As I studied the mask, it sensed my confusion and explained: "This is you."

One of my interests became the study of belief systems of cultures and indigenous peoples around the world. I became interested in plant based healing, and use of chanting for both spiritual and physical healing. I began to practice it. This chanting became my own way to call out to God, to heal, to express myself spiritually. I was finding "my own voice". These prophecies and dreams were coming to pass.

Some years ago, my dad died. We never had a very good relationship. There was a lot of regret and sorrow involved. The war he escaped made him a hard man, and the modern culture I grew up in separated us in knowledge. A while after his death, a dream came to me:

I found myself in the air, with sharp vision like of an eagle or a hawk. I soared over the trees, and over the waters under a blue sky and bright sun. As I scanned the landscape below, something golden caught my eye. It was a hat, on top of the head of a man. The hat was fur, and with a feather in the band. I was drawn to it, and began my descent. As I drew closer, I realized who it was - it was my father. He was standing, surrounded by a group of native men, by the shore of a lake. He was in conversation with them. I landed next to him, and transformed into human form. I was my childhood self. I looked up at them all, and hugged him and said "let's go home."

This dream brought me the warmest feeling of peace inside. As I eventually read about all these connections between Finns and native American tribes later, I knew that somehow it was true, and that there is some connection there in my blood. I know "who I am".
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Old 27-02-2016, 05:52 PM
Thunder Bow Thunder Bow is offline
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Religion is all about social order and control. You were being controlled by religion. Religion has nothing to do with the universe and all its powers. The dream was a good one where your found warmth and peace inside yourself. It was a dream of your healing.
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Old 27-02-2016, 06:52 PM
sparkles sparkles is offline
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thank you for sharing your story, SoulsInMotion... I enjoyed reading it very much.

I feel like whichever way we express our connection to Source culturally, it is through Source that we are all interconnected

beautiful dream about your father. I agree with Thunder Bow, it sounds like a true healing dream.
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Old 27-02-2016, 07:56 PM
SoulsInMotion SoulsInMotion is offline
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Glad you enjoyed it.

I forgot to add that I realized after that dream that he really owned such a hat. It seemed very symbolic to me, with the feather in it and all.

You see, he was pretty much the biggest religious figure in my life. For this dream to happen gave me the impression that "he gets it now" and also understands why I was so different from him.
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Old 27-02-2016, 09:30 PM
sparkles sparkles is offline
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Your spirits connected! we are all tiny parts of the same Oneness, but we forget about that when we incarnate. Religion as we know it here in this life is a cultural thing. It's something that is supposed to lead us to Source and Oneness, but the reality is that it usually doesn't. For you it did: it awakened something in you, after which you found your own way to Source. But for your father it probably didn't at the time. Hence the 'religious' disconnect between you. It must have been a beautiful experience that you felt that your father, in spirit, did understand you after all. We are all one!
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Old 27-02-2016, 09:46 PM
SoulsInMotion SoulsInMotion is offline
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Sparkles: Yes indeed. I know he loved God too in his own way, but as Christians do, they project their laws and narrow mindsets onto everyone. That belief system made some sort of sense for a long time, but the longer I tried to fill in the remaining gaps which create what I'd call "dissonance", the less I could justify staying in it. These are people who create a great deal of their own suffering (through guilt and shame) and then project it onto others. There is a lack of a direct relationship with the Creator, maybe only something superficial (like asking for help every now and then through prayer - but even then, not accepting it half the time!). Which is so ironic to me when a Christian buzzphrase is "it's not a religion, it's a relationship!" I rarely see that relationship in them. If it is one, it's dysfunctional!

But I digress, the point of this thread is not to bash them. As you said, it is about our oneness, even in times and circumstances when we are blinded to it. We should not lose hope and love for each other, even when we can seem so different on the surface.
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Old 28-02-2016, 08:22 AM
sparkles sparkles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulsInMotion
That belief system made some sort of sense for a long time, but the longer I tried to fill in the remaining gaps which create what I'd call "dissonance", the less I could justify staying in it.
well said
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Old 10-03-2016, 08:01 PM
makwaiskwew makwaiskwew is offline
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Thank you for this history...:)

"The Sami are arguably the only indigenous people within the European Union. They are concentrated in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They share a common language and distinguishable traditions dating back thousands of years. The Sami heritage became threatened when Finland started rebuilding herself after the Second World War with the ambition of forging “one people, one language, one nation.” Lapland, the northern part of Finland, an extremely rural part of the country, was in dire need of modernisation in order to achieve this goal. These Finnish policies had a direct impact on the Sami communities in the country, as families were converted to a Finnish culture, language, and lifestyle. The Sami were seen as a barbaric people at the time, and many were forced to abandon their old traditional ways of life. This has been a hushed topic in Finland for decades, but it has recently started to gain more public interest"

I share this with you as I have Sami ancestors on my matriarchal side. Their story is similar to the turtle island and abya yala nations. Well actually the story is similar to indigenous peoples globally that have faced the genocidal policies of church and state.
I will share the source with you in pm.
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Old 10-03-2016, 08:40 PM
SoulsInMotion SoulsInMotion is offline
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You're welcome, makwaiskwew, and thank you for sharing as well. Yes, I've come to know about the plight of the Sami, though I still don't know a very large amount about them. But they are constantly threatened by mining operations in the north of Scandinavian countries as I understand it. This is much like what happened in many other areas of the world and it's tragic seeing these traditions slowly eroded for the sake of some global monoculture and for money.

There are many related cultures to the Sami as well, from the Finno-Ugric tribes especially in Russia which are now virtually extinct. We have to learn about their traditions in documentaries. Who is yet willing to find value in the old ways, and not cave in to ignorance about them being "outdated"?

Surely there is much in common between the history of the east and west in this world, though because of Hollywood we get to hear about the plains indians the most. It is a global problem, and it is ongoing. It affects everyone.

I'll have a look at your links, thank you.
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