Noah Nez is a Native American skeptic living in Arizona; he is a member of the Phoenix Area Skeptics Society (PASS) and author of Native Skeptic, a blog that looks at critical thinking from a Native American perspective.
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The Myth of Native American Religion
There are many myths and misconceptions found in every culture around the world. Some are more fanciful and colorful than others.
A quick search on the background of some of the speakers and sponsors reveals much of the same brand of pseudoscience that is found permeating through the entire institute, its offered programs, and the Wisdoms of the Origins conference.
While there might be some variability in the details regarding the reasons for long hair from tribe to tribe, there is one major component that has remained consistent: long hair has never been about aesthetics but instead is a religious concern.
There is little documented information about the details of “witchcraft” among the Najavo—or Diné, as they call themselves. What is relatively well known is their term “Skinwalker,” or “yee naaldlooshii,” which means, “with it, he goes on all fours.” This is a reference to the special ability to transform into a four-legged animal.
Some attempt to correlate the various stories from different tribes of indigenous people into modern Thunderbird sightings. However, when one looks a little more critically at these legends, it is clear they serve a much different purpose.
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