American Indian Religion in Northern California

Chimney Rock, Sacred Indian High Country

"Chimney Rock . . . was regarded traditionally as an especially important place where ritual trainees could acquire power, where those who had gained power could pray, where healing rituals could be performed, and where personal medicine could be made."--Theodoratus Report, p. 231.

Spiritual leaders go to the high country to prepare for the tribes' major religious ceremonies, the White Deerskin Dance and the Jump Dance, and to obtain power to perform healing rites through ceremonies such as the Brush Dance and the Kick Dance. Further, this sacred area is where tribal leaders give religious instruction to the youth, passing on traditional beliefs and customs to future generations.

Eagle Poem by Joy Harjo (Photographs by J. Emenhiser, August, 1998)

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear
Can't know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.

We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

End of the G-O Road

"The Yurok traditional ceremonies include the Deerskin Dance, Doctor Dance, Jump Dance, Brush Dance, Kick Dance, Flower Dance, Boat Dance, and others, that have drawn Yurok people and neighboring Tribes together for renewal, healing and prayer. This whole land, this Yurok country, stayed in balance and was kept that way by our good stewardship, hard work, wise laws and constant prayers to the Creator" ("The Yurok Tribe,"

"The Yurok were an exceptionally spiritual people who were thoroughly convinced of the intimate daily connection between spiritual relations and natural events. Hence, the stability of the world, the success of food acquisition, and the acknowledgement of one's power and influence in the community all depended upon one's ability to understand and control spiritual powers. While all human works demanded the attainment of technical skill, handling one's spiritual dispositions was at the center of all" (Beckman, Ted. 1998. "Chapter 10: The Yurok and Hupa of the Northern Coast,"

| Native American Spirituality | Harvard Pluralism Project, Bibliography of Native Peoples' Traditions | Smithsonian Bibliography of American Indian Religion | Smithsonian Bibliography of American Indian Healing and Medicine | Karuk Traditions | Karuk World Renewal Ceremony | Karuk Brush Dance, Kick Dance, Drum Song | Karuk White Deerskin Dance | Songs of Charlie Red Hawk | Yurok Traditions | Yurok White Deerskin Dance | White Deerskin Dance | Yurok Brush Dance | | Native American Spirituality | McNally, Michael D. 2005. "Native American Religious and Cultural Freedom: an Introductory Essay," The Pluralism Project. | Smithsonian Bibliography of American Indian Religion | Smithsonian Bibliography of Native American Spirituality, Religion, and Medicine | Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, "Selected References on Native American Healing and Medicine" | Northern California Tribes | Karuk World Renewal Ceremony | Karuk Brush Dance, Kick Dance, Drum Song | Karuk World Renewal Cermony | Karok Indian Legends | Yurok Brush Dance |

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