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Spirituality

The Nanticoke belived in a variety of spirits. They knew many things in nature , such as water, earth, lightning, fire, stone , animals and trees, possed a unique spitit. To have a good life they would offer sacrifices to these spirits. They made sacrafices to Manito, an important spirit who was considered to be the giver of good fortune. To Manito they sacraficed the first food of the harvest and the first game of their hunting and fishing. They also made sacrafices to Okee a powerful spirit that was considered evil.

There were many Religious Ceromonies held throught the year. There was a special wigiwam used just for Ceromony. Special songs, dances and prayers were used in the Ceremoney.

Tobacco was smoked in a special pipe to cleanse and purify ones self.

They believed in life after death. If you had a lived life in the proper way you would go to a good place in the after life, a place of great happiness. If you did not live in a good way, you would go to a place of much suffering and pain.

Nanticokes were buried in three staged:

1. After a person died , the body was placed in a structure called a Quiackeson.

2. The next resting place was a pit dug in the earth.

3. About every seven years the bones of all the dead were gathered from their burial pit and placed in a comunal pit grave or ossuary.

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The Nanicokes were Christianized early on. Indian people who accepted baptism ceased to be Indians in the eyes of the larger communities. once they were baptized and became taxpaying land owners,former indians became Omulattoes in the eyes of the law. In those times one could be Omulatto or Ocolored person regardless of ancestery. Certain laws and customs applied to free Blacks.and a diffrent set of laws applied to free whites. Because of the law was basically bi-polar a person was treated as either white or black, which was a cause for vexation and difficulty for people who happened to be in the middle. Customs and ceremony have long been lost since the arrival of the Europeans. The Nanticoke were accredited with being conjourers of witchcraft. Nanticokes were able to make strong poison from vegetables. Even Capt John Smith secured poison from the Nanticoke for use on his enimies in Jamestown.




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