It is important to share ideas and philosophies. There is much good that can be learned from individuals of different walks of life. I believe that there is a great wealth of knowledge from overseas that is invaluable to life in the Western word. The “peaceful protest” example set by Gandhi in India practically revolutionized American political and social activism. However, it is important to note that his Hindu belief system or vegetarian lifestyle did not leave much of a sizable impact on American culture.
I agree with Ed Mcgaa, when he speaks of the importance of adapting some Native American values, but I do not think it is necessary to for the United States to actively practice their religion to its full extent. The population size and political complexity of today’s world is a stark contrast to Native American life a few hundred years in the past. It is almost like comparing apples to oranges. All the Native Americans knew about the world at that time was seen through the lens of their culture, and as a result, they managed to formulate values unique to their situation.
Contrary to the Native American view of being equal with nature, The United States still has a fairly anthropocentric view of nature. Some of our most popular slogans are “Only you can prevent forest fires,” and “We’ve only got one planet.” This allows for a stewardship relationship to take root. There is nothing wrong with being stewards, so long as we are good stewards. For some this may carry a negative connotation, like we are ruling over nature with an iron fist, or only concerned about ourselves. If we intend to be stewards, we must be good stewards, and to be good stewards, we must respect what we are given stewardship over.
Perhaps the most important argument Mcgaa makes is for the respect of nature. He says that it is made up of three things, “A belief system, an ultimate moral attitude, and a set of rules of duty and standards of character” Whether you belong to an Abrahamic, Non-Abrahamic, or a non-religious worldview, each of McGaa’s three essentials could (and should) be applied.
Should be all begin praying to the Great Spirit? Perhaps not. Should we learn a few lessons from the native inhabitants of our country concerning respect? Of course.