Native Skeptic

Native Skeptic
Apache Crown Dancers 1887:

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Guest Spot on Freethoughtify

It is not too often that I focus on writing articles which include my own personal perspective. I have made a great effort to look at the subjects that I post on here with the most objective eye as possible by utilizing all of the critical thinking, scientific, and skeptical skills that I have learned through both my formal and personal education. When it comes to Native American culture and beliefs I want to show ultimate respect by depicting them, not as I view them, but as closely to how they were depicted by those tribes practicing them. In most cases, my point of view is not relevant to those types of historical and cultural accounts, so it doesn't get included and is normally weeded out. However, there are those rare occasions in which I do get an opportunity to speak from a frame of reference that reflects my way of looking at and interpreting the world. Well, I present to you one of those special opportunities that I was more than grateful to have in this post titled Native Atheist that I did as a guest blogger for Freethoughtify, "an atypical secular" blog site.       

"While I still feel like an outsider amongst my family, friends, and ethnic group like a minority amongst minorities, I am still more than grateful to have found my way to reason and scientific thinking. Now, I feel that sense of awe and wonder that I was always looking for in acknowledging that I belong to something greater than me called the Universe. I found my humanism and a different spiritual view for my ever-present love for life in understanding the way the world really appears to be." (Nez 2013)

Nez, Noah. 2013. Native Atheist. Freethoughtify. Can be accessed online at:



  1. Dear Mr. Nez,
    I totally relate to your sense of wonder, I was an engineer for two decades before I took time away from my career to be a caregiver to my parents -- because family is most important -- and then went and studied to be a geologist. My sense of wonder went into low earth orbit and it is still there.

    May your life, and the universe, yet bless you.

  2. Hello Noah,

    This is a great piece. I came across your blog over a year ago and found you on FB as well.

    I am part Blackfeet & Choctaw, though I did not grow up on the rez or knowing that much about my ancestry. Before I became a secular humanist, I was "walking the red road" and got caught up in the mystical aspects of "Native American Spirituality", mainly from a new age perspective complete with smudging, totems, and worshipping mother earth and father sky. I do believe, that if we honor anything it should be life, as it is, in it's inevitable morality. I am an environmentalist and still tread lightly on my path. I have just simply shed my spiritual skin if you will. Part of my deconversion was how my fellow Indians here in the west could think certain animals were bad, while other tribes worshipped these same animals. It didn't make sense and then everything else started to unravel. I started questioning a lot of these things and other religious beliefs as well. I'm glad you have found reason within your culture. I am here in Tucson, and my Navajo & O'odham friends are all very spiritual. I don't want to disrespect them or their beliefs though. How do you get around this?

    Keep up with the great writing.

    Many Regards,

  3. Thank you for your comments Karen and Keely. Often it feels like the majority of what I do falls upon deaf ears, so hearing from individuals such as yourselves goes a long way and motivates me to keep writing.

    As for your question Keely, I feel that it's not so much that I found reason within my culture, but rather I managed to find reason in spite of my culture. I have the attitude that we should all be able to celebrate our unique perspectives of the world. People tote their devotion to their respected religions with a badge of honor. That prompted me to ask, why can't I do the same with my personal worldview? I suppose it was a matter of logic that gave me the strength to be confident in my own conviction. Why should we always take efforts to walk on egg shells around others when they do not do the same for us? You are not alone in this struggle. I get quite a few people in the predicament that you have described to me asking for some guidance from time to time. If you are having trouble, or simply need advise, you can always contact me directly through my FB.

    Thanks again for your comments! They go a long way. :)

  4. Noah ... you continue to walk a journey along an interesting path. Recently I was taking a look at articles posted at the following web site - which is part of the Skeptic Movement. So you might enjoy the articles.

    my own approach is scientific and logical, but i am not an atheist myself. However I have no problems at all with people who seek a rational explanation of the universe.

    I hope that in time you will resolve your differences with your own people. Why shouldn't the Nde outlook include a skeptic point of view? It seems like a healthy development. I have no doubt that your philosophy may seem "alien" to those who follow traditional beliefs - but perhaps they must broaden their outlook.

    Pete, California

  5. I guess it depends. Plains Indians were somewhat more skeptical, I assume. (There's an ethical notion that you can't tell someone else what to believe. Also, in Lakota at least, there are a number of verb forms to indicate the veracity of a statement.)

    This is actually hilarious. During Kennewick man, I was more offended by the fact that the plaintiffs 1) insisted Indians looked just like East Asians, and 2) seemed to be denying Darwin. I caught a definite "life doesn't change ever" vibe from them.

    The toughest thing I've encountered is, some skeptics don't want to know that no, Indians don't believe in crystal woo. No, most every medicine marketed as Indian in the MSM wasn't actually discovered by Indians; they've been doing this bit since the old medicine shows. Yes, there were written languages; in the 19th century, anthropologists simply denied anything that went against their theories, and in the 20th, they heaped praise on CastaƱeda, so make of that what you will.

  6. Let me phrase a comment as a question - to our Native American guests here. If you go back to the roots of native American philosophy - doesn't the Circle Of Life play an integral role? Yes - it's true that the Circle becomes tied to a wide variety of spiritual beliefs in the tribes. But in its most basic form, doesn't the Circle symbolize the perpetual cycles and rhythms of life? Furthermore, isn't there a respect for the environment that is built into this outlook, and the view of minimizing your "ecological footprint" on the Earth - since it maintains the Circle?

    It seems to me that the Circle is just as meaningful to a "skeptic" as it is to a "spiritual believer". Therefore, isn't there common ground for discussion and respect?

    Pete, CA