I’m afraid it isn’t possible to give you one answer that will apply to all tribal peoples. As part of their cultural heritage, they do all have practices that we dub “religious,” but tribal peoples don’t have “religions” in the same sense we do; for us, a religion is a body of beliefs and practices that occupy a domain that is separate from (and sometimes even in conflict with) the rest of our lives (so that someone who goes to church on Sunday may make his living swindling people during the week).

I’ve never come across anything like this in an aboriginal group. Nonetheless, some aboriginal peoples seem to us to be very “spiritual” (and others less so). The Gebusi have lively contacts with spirits that would strike most of us as not the least bit “spiritual” but rather downright profane.

This is why, in the end, the most I can say about them as a whole is that they share a common worldview, which I’ve summarized in this way: The world is a sacred place, and humans belong in a sacred place.

ID: 658
updated: 17 Oct 2003