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Ojibwa Beliefs

The Anishnabe as Good Beings

Indian Country - a painting by Ojibwa artist Nokomis.For the Ojibwa, belief is not an opinion, not a set doctrine, not a set of principles.

In English the word belief means an opinion or a conviction or, in the context of religion, it can refer to a doctrine or theories held by a group.

In the language of the Ojibwa, belief literally means "the truth that is evident in the way of the action". The word we use is n'debewetawinxxi.

For the Ojibwa, belief is a process.

Belief is a lifelong committment to consciously living life in a way that allows the spirtual essence of everything we know and everything we don't know to contribute to our sense of oneness with our universe.

Christians and Muslims presume that man is created in the likeness of god, but that there is a separation between the two.

The Ojibwa don't have a word or concept that separates man from his environment. The universe in which we live is alive with the spirit of the Manitou.

In the Ojibwa culture everything is a part of that spirit and as Anishnabeg (the good beings) we are called to act accordingly. Each individual is expected to live life committed to finally understanding what it means to be a part of Manitou.

As humans we procrastinate, goof off, make excuses, rationalize and generally avoid the things we know we "should" be doing. Appreciating the nature of human beings, the traditional Ojibwa social structure and value system evolved to guide men and women back to consciousness.

Ojibwa beliefs and the vision quest

The concept of vision quest is part of that process. By participating in that ritual young men begin their lifelong search for meaning and spiritual fullfillment.

But for the Ojibwa, belief that it's possible to envision one's life path is only a beginning.

True self-realization is only possible through the process of being in action again and again and again, to understand the spiritual truths that are fundamental to being a good person.

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