NOTES: Other Evidence of Religious Beliefs and
are some key characteristics of Religion:
1. All religious people have narratives
of some kind.
Whether they appear in written or oral form, they
have many things in common:
tell about the creation of the universe
tell the historical origins of different groups of people
They set standards of proper behavior by telling
about the wise and the foolish, the good hearted and the malicious, and the
believers and doubters
Religious narratives tell how the universe is
2. All people use space to express
They may have buildings, such as churches, that are
constructed especially for religious purposes.
(The Micmac and Maliseet built sweat lodges, which
are used for religious ceremonies.)
Building may face a certain direction or have a
steeple that reaches up toward heaven
They may be restricted for use only by certain
people at certain times.
3. People use religious symbols of
Such as a cross, incense, the eagle.
4. Music and dance are important in religious rituals for
the personal expression of spiritual feelings.
Native people of North America the sound of the drum has always had spiritual
In Christianity Hymns are held as being very sacred.
celebrate the significant points in their lives or “transitional events.”
Why are the moments of birth and death so meaningful to us?
Why is a Jewish boy made bar mitzvah at age thirteen?
Why is a wedding a religious ceremony?
What is the importance of a Micmac/Maliseet boy’s first hunting
The first Jesuit missionaries had arrived at Port Royal
in 1610 and met immediate success working among the Micmac. Their first
important convert was the sachem Membertou who was baptized with his entire
family in 1610. Unfortunately, conversion did not protect him from epidemic,
and Membertou died the following year.
Devastating epidemics were sweeping through the tribes in southern New England. The Micmac went home but took the sickness
with them. The worst year in the Canadian Maritimes was 1617, and before the
epidemic had run its course, it had killed almost three-quarters of the native
population. There were not enough survivors to bury the dead, much less wage
By 1620 only 4,000 Micmac remained from an original population of 20,000.