Source: Native Americans

The following are right hemisphere functions as they relate to the traditional Native American mode of thinking:

Traditional Indian education was done by precept and example…creativity occurs in the learning process when a person is allowed to learn by discovery.

Many tribes used symbols to record their history… the right hemisphere cannot think in words, it only thinks in symbols.

Native American elders taught the youngsters to think twice before they spoke or acted on anything…setting a problem aside, until an answer arises allows the right hemispheric tasks to function.

Traditional Native Americans taught through the use of stories or story telling.

Historically many tribes believed in and used dreams as a method to guide their lives.

People acquainted with Native Americans are amazed at their ability to laugh about serious situations. Humor is the right hemisphere’s metaphoric ability.

Almost every school child has studied about the perceptiveness of the traditional Native American… scouting, hunting, tracking techniques of the Native American. Perception is a unique ability of the right hemisphere.

Scholar after scholar has been impressed with the dominance of the verb in Native American sentences (Native American sentences are structured in reverse to English, and most commonly end with a verb). The fact that the verb may be more oriented to the object than to the subject in Native American sentences suggests they are interested in the result more than the cause.The cause (a reason for an action, logic) is a function of the left hemisphere.

The Native American language does not differentiate between time and space states. All temporal statements are therefore spatial: Example-letan Pine Ridge tohan hwo? Translated into English it would read “When is Pine Ridge from here?”.Spatiality is a function of the right hemisphere. The Hopi language can verbalize non-linear ideas with ease.

Traditional Native Americans never developed a written language. Two reasons may be that the right hemisphere cannot think in words, it only thinks in symbols and the fact that when traditional people wanted knowledge all they needed to do was to participate in a ceremony to receive knowledge. The Native American ceremonies allow a person to utilize his unconscious mind (the right hemisphere). Dr. Jung states that within the unconscious mind are latent memory traces from one’s entire ancestral past.

Dr. Jung also stated that the archetype of the supreme being exists in the unconscious mind (the right hemisphere). Traditional Native American religious ceremonies utilize dance, artistic symbols, music–all functions of the right hemisphere. The Native American view of the supreme being is holistic (the seeing of whole things or overall patterns). Holistic is a function of the right hemisphere. This may be the reason why Native Americans do not have a single term for describing the supreme being.

The I Ching states that within the unconscious mind (the right hemisphere) exists the feminine principal. The hero archetype for Native American religion is a female (white buffalo calf woman-Dakota, deer mother-Taos, corn mother-Hopi, changing woman-Navajo). For the Native American the mother or woman is first, all other things or persons follow.

The right hemisphere hasn’t a good sense of time and doesn’t seem to comprehend what is meant by the term “wasting time” as does the left hemisphere. In observing traditional Native Americans this lack of time specific is a dominant trait.

Each hemisphere is in competition with the other–each demanding that its perceptions and methods of organizing data be considered superior.Currently we are living in a left hemisphere oriented society, and nowhere is this more emphasized than in our schools.

This is limiting, not only to the youngsters who learn and express themselves through right brain activities, but also to left brain thinkers who have not developed right brain activities. The brain should be synergistic in its approach toward developing a whole person.

Native American spiritual people have developed methods to deal with this competition of the hemispheres. Since the spiritual side of the brain is the right side, and verbal dominant is the left, spiritual people practice a technique which allows both sides to exist without fear of being out of balance. This method for balance is called the Dakota “Red Road” in Dakota religion. This term denotes an existence between pairs of opposites. Almost all Native American spiritual people have a concept which enables this psychological balance to occur. Spiritual people pray constantly for this balance.


7 Responses

  1. It is not just a left-brain waiting to the “end” with our lives but the Spirit of right-brain living spirits enjoy the Great Mystery.

  2. Walt.

    The Native Americans have a sacred culture consistent with the right brain…if the left brain collapses there is an experience of no-thing and with it the end of duality.


  3. Hi, Mr Sid
    As usual I feel impelled to comment. This may not be exactly the right post, but then again, what is as everything affects everything?

    This may be a link you would be interested in, maybe add him to your blogroll. He is an aboriginal professor of physics.

    And I just did a page on duality, notice his comment.

    for some reason it occurs to me that the same pattern keeps appearing in everything we look at. This left/right mind dichodomy.

    It occurs to me that this pattern is replicated in the internet. viewing posts as activity on the axon level (knowledge) and links as activity on the dendrite level (understanding)(to seek out and communicate)

    what an odd thought.


  4. Hi Jaguar,

    I have researched the Pineal Gland and its relationship to the “Third Eye”…and found some interesting information supporting this long standing belief…I posted a blog today summarizing these findings.


  5. Hello Sid,

    I came upon this fantastic website a few days ago, and I have had the good fortune to read the articles, and to watch the videos each day.

    The right hemisphere of the brain is intuitive.

    The Third Eye has its connection to the pineal gland; the source of psychic phenomena.

    – Jaguar

    Comment by Jaguar
    October 15, 2009 @
    9:05 am

  6. Hi Dan,

    This blog was an insertion from the following site.

    It does have a bibliography at the bottom of their page…basically all indigent cultures are primarily right brained since they do not develop a written language but instead depend on oral communication…unfortunately very little research has been done on the benefits of such a culture.

    Advanced Western cultures are entering a post industrial era where right brain dominance is preferable,so we have much to learn from the indigent cultures

    I would enjoy hearing about your thoughts on a reseach project.


  7. Hi Sid,
    I stumbled onto this site a few years ago, researching in this area, and I wanted to find you again. I’m really interested in these ideas of Native American – Right Brained function emphasis. I want to learn more – I may do a research project in this area. Could you point me toward your sources for this stuff?
    I love your site, and would really like to talk about this stuff with you.

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