Native American Spirituality
The majority of the tribes believed in "Manitou" or "spirit being." Contrary to the Western idea of spirits as part of the human psyche or personality, Manitou is something inherent to all things: animals, trees, the earth, and even machines. They were seen as both individual spirit beings that could be contacted, and as a universal spiritual energy that flowed through everything.
As the more universal Manitou connected all life and non-life, shamanistic tradition suggests ways to bend or manipulate this energy to create a desired effect. Blessing a newborn, dancing to summon rain, or using herbs to heal injuries are just a few of many ways in which the natives sought to utilized the Manitou.
However, overuse could theoretically break the relationship between a people and the Manitou. While scholars can't find-