Native American Martial Arts Culture

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Native American Martial Arts Culture

I see many young people joining martial arts training classes now. In my opinion, mixed martial arts is a fantastic way to keep you fit, strong, and disciplined.  Martial art is not just about fighting. You can learn a whole lot of new skills. The wrestling, boxing and other forms are beneficial in developing skills. I use my grappling dummy to increase my resistance training benefits. Athletes too have woken up to the diverse benefits of these martial arts fitness training sessions, as they want to get more out of their weight training and other fitness workouts.

Native American martial arts

Martial arts are also infused in the Native American culture. The fighting style is both a physical as well as spiritual experience by the Native Americans. They consider the killing of an enemy warrior more of a ritual than as predatory. The martial arts training in Indians differ based on the tribes and people. There are nearly 17 regional styles of fighting in Native American history. The Alaskan and Arctic warriors used dog sledge, bows, and spears decorated with ivory and feathers as their main weapons. The armor used was of very high quality and artistically designed. Helmets were made of grimacing faces of men or animals and protected the face, while gaps were present for enabling vision. The helmets were also used as symbol for indicating family status. War clubs, spears and bows were used in the arctic regions.

West coast warriors used a type of body hardening fighting that enabled them to take on several strong blows and this is used as a planting ritual. Shields, slings and bows are the main weapons used by these people. The eastern or Cherokee Indians used the Tomahawk or hatchet as the main weapon. Other weapons used include shield, bows, gunstock club and war club.

The Indians on the plains used several fighting techniques of which the ‘ritual dog soldier’ type of martial arts is a famous one. The main weapons used were the Sioux Teton Lances, which are said to be able to pierce several persons standing in a single row.

Okichitaw

The traditional fighting techniques have been fused with other forms of martial arts that are popular like Judo, taekwondo etc. George J. Lepine a Canadian martial artist has created one such form of fighting called as Okichitaw. This is a type of martial arts style, which is created as a hybrid of taekwondo, judo and the traditional fighting methods of Cree or Native Americans.  This type of marital arts uses the gunstock war club, lance, knife and tomahawk.

Martial art does not involve just punching and kicking. There are other advanced techniques like the grappling method, which increases the effectiveness of the training and helps in controlling or defeating the opponents. These submission techniques are being increasingly used by martial art students to enhance training process. When learnt under a proper instructor, these methods give a great many benefits to the learner.

Understanding American Indians

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Historically, the term “Indian” usually refers to the indigenous people. Originally, they prefer the term Desi pertaining to diasporic subculture of South Asians.To avoid confusion, the United States Census Bureau categorized Indian Americans as Asian Americans or Asian Indians. Moreover, Americans of Indian clans were more or less 2.81 million alone and around 3.18 million in combination with one or more races.

Emerging in the US

According to some research, the first Indian came to the American continent from Asia over 20,000 years ago wherein very cold in the northern part of our world, which covered with ice. On July 2, 1946, US President signed the Luce-Celler Act of 1946, which was proposing by Republican Clare Boothe Luce. Through this act, 100 Filipinos and 100 Indians provided to immigrate into the United States per year.  The act allowed Filipino Americans and Indian Americans to naturalize and become United States citizens. As of 2012, an estimated 5.2 million people were classifying as American Indian and Alaska Native. These two racial groups comprise of 2 percent of the total U.S. population.

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Spiritual Peace and Strength in Native American Indian Jewelery

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Spiritual Peace and Strength in Native American Indian Jewelery

Many older martial artists have a good luck charm, a small item that assists in providing them with the inner peace and strength they need to achieve perfection. Many don’t believe that an object has the ability to do such a thing and thus it is written off as a superstition. Perhaps I was one of these people, many, many years ago. I’d been doing martial arts ever since I was young, but had only started to take it seriously as I grew older. The younger me was all about the fight, the power kicks, the knowing that the average Joe had nothing on me. However, with age, I learned to look a little deeper and as my love for martial arts grew, and life got a bit more complicated, I started to look inward and developed a craving for spiritual peace.

On my journey to self acceptance and spiritual peace, I met a martial arts master who had more words of wisdom than I thought existed. He enabled me to look at the deeper side of things and keyed me in on some of the ways he was able to stay strong and achieve spiritual peace. One of the things he mentioned that really struck me was Native American Indian jewelery. I experienced a sort of flashback to the days my grandmother would show me her jewelery collection and speak proudly about all the properties of each piece and I’d pretend to be impressed. As a boy, jewelery was, by no means, something that I was particularly interested in. But that day seeing the piece dangling from this renowned martial arts master’s neck, I knew there had to be some truth in it. He spoke of the spiritual peace that it helped him to obtain in such a captivating way, that it stuck with me for weeks after our encounter.

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How Indians Used Plants and Herbs to Cure Diseases and Gain Strength.

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How Indians Used Plants and Herbs to Cure Diseases and Gain Strength.

Herbal remedies were more popular in the past, however, they never really seemed to die out. Before all the pharmacies and prescription drugs popped up, there was a need for cure or comfort due to an ailment and when it came to the Native American Indians, they sure had an abundance of ways to use herbs.

Some of the herbs they used include:

Elecampane

This herbs was used as a remedy for lung infections that resulted in the production of excess mucus. One way in which it was used was by boiling water and adding a teaspoon of the elecampane herb to the water once it had boiled. The person with the illness would then drink this ‘tea’ up to three times a day. Even today, elecampane is used taken by many when suffering from bronchitis.

Acacia arabica

Given to those suffering from diabetes, Acacia arabica extracts promote insulin production in the body.

Aloe vera

This was a very popular plant amongst Native American Indians and in today’s society has held a strong reputation. You can find it in skin care  products as well as in juices and some even grow aloe vera in their homes.

Aloe vera was mostly used to aid in the healing of wounds. Earlier uses, however, included cleansing internal organs, promoting the health of the reproductive system as well as consuming to improve liver health.

Aloe vera can also very easily be grown in ones home with the use of a growing light as its light source. As a succulent, aloe vera, like many others in its group can withstand a wide variety of different conditions. If you are looking for grow lights yourself I recommend you visit http://plantozoid.com/ for LED grow lights reviews and handy tips on indoor growing.

Caesalpinia bonducella

A common plant in the India’s coastal regions, it is popular amongst herbalists for the controlling of blood sugar levels. It’s also been used to treat malarial fever as well as colitis and dysentery. One of the amazing things about Caesalpinia bonducella is that so much of the plant was and is useful and each has a different medicinal property. When fried, the Caesalpinia bonducella leaves are a great remedy for constipation. While the seeds of the Caesalpinia bonducella stimulate the uterus and ease lower abdominal pain.

Proof in the plant

In the earlier days, Native American Indians were very fond of their herbal remedies. Many people today, are rather hesitant when it comes to believing that without our modern instruments, Native American Indians weren’t truly able to determine the properties of specific herbs. However, proof lies in the fact that many of these herbs are popular even in today’s society and extensive research has concluded that the properties the Native American Indians claimed are the properties the herbs possess.

With the side effects of modern medicine, it isn’t uncommon for people in today’s society to turn to traditional Native American Indian remedies, whether it involves the boiling, ingesting or bathing in a certain herb. Because in many countries, it is hard to get access to a lot of these herbs, people have resorted to growing them in their homes, aiding their growth with a growing light, especially in the colder months.

What’s The Next Culinary Trend To Watch Out For? Read This

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What’s The Next Culinary Trend To Watch Out For? Read This

Americans love cheeseburger, tacos, hotdogs, French fries, and anything grilled or smoked like ribs, steak and meat. Every American home surely has a grill or smoker such as those reviewed here at https://smokeysteakranch.com/. These are classic American foods that everyone loves.

But aside from feasting on our own homegrown menu, a lot of us crave for international cuisines that originate from other parts of the globe. Look around and you’ll surely find lots of Japanese, Korean and other Asian restaurants. You won’t also run out of Italian and other European restos. And there are also others who love food establishments offering a taste of South America.

But there’s one sad reality, only very few patronize our very own Native American dishes. In fact, restaurants that specialize in American Indian menu are a rarity.

While the Native American cooking has all the makings of a culinary trend, it seems limited by people’s unfamiliarity to this menu and its rich history. So, in this post we’ll see how the menu of the first inhabitants of the New World looked like.

What was the staple food of the Native American tribes?

Maize or Indian corn is considered the most important food crop of the Native Americans. There were farming tribes that cultivated this corn. Other crops that were common in their menu included squash, beans, wild rice, pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet tomatoes, papayas, avocados, and peanuts.

But aside from these crops, Native American diet was very meat-heavy. The feasted on games like deer, rabbit, buffalo, elk, and caribou as well as ducks, turkeys, geese and other birds; fish like salmon and even whales. Almost any animal that can be hunted can be included into the menu.

What was Native American menu like?

Native American menu was simple. They had not much spices on their food and often feasted on fresh bounty. Meat was usually grilled on stones or roasted on fire. Fish was either smoked or baked. They didn’t have the luxury of modern gas smokers like those at Smokey Steak Ranch, so they used whatever was available. They also enjoyed stews and soups that comprised of their harvest. Corn was eaten in several ways, such as tortillas, popcorn, corn-on-the-cob, and hominy. Later on, they learned how to make corn bread.

For dessert, the Native Americans ate maple candy, fresh fruits, and fruit puddings. They also learned how to make hot chocolate beverage and some tribes developed chicha, which is an alcoholic beverage based on corn.

What changed in the Native American menu through the years?

When the Europeans came, new animals, spices and plant varieties were introduced into the Native America diet. Wheat, cows, sheep and banana were added into their menu. New crops were also introduced to the traditional crops, giving way to new dishes. Cooking techniques were also introduced.

The widespread hunting and deforestation of the new settlers forced some tribes to change their traditional lifestyles and that included their eating regimen. There were also tribes that moved to reservations far from where they originated and detached from their traditional agriculture. This has resulted in a major change in the way Native American tribes ate.

Modernization has also caught up with the tribal life which soon resulted in the gradual change in many traditional Native American food preparation and recipes. Today, there are only very few Native American menus and dishes that we come to know. Many have been lost through the years and the time is ripe for it to be given the center-stage.

There have been attempts to rediscover and reinvent the Native American cuisine but for it to flourish, we need to embrace and patronize it!

Native American Clothing: What Native Americans Wore?

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Native American Clothing: What Native Americans Wore?

Long before the Western Europeans set foot in the vast North America, Native Americans already have their clothing styles that were influenced by utility more than fashion and artistry. Almost every tribe had its own unique style of dress, and usually tribe members could be distinguished by simply looking at their traditional clothing, ornamentation, and headdresses. The clothing style would eventually change with the arrival and influence of Western Europeans.

Native Americans made use of indigenous materials that were available to their tribes. Many tribes used animal hides for their clothing, which they used when hunting. Other tribes like the Iroquois and Cherokee used deerskin. While the Inuit from Alaska used caribou or seal skin, and the Plains Indians wore buffalo skin. Other tribes such as the Apache and Navajo made clothing from weaving thread and plants. They also learned how to weave tunics and blankets. Of course, you don’t expect these woven threads to be as crease-free as the clothes we now have. Obviously, they used crude materials for ‘ironing’ their clothes as there were no steam irons at that time (here’s a link to steaming iron reviews).

Breechcloths, which were a rectangular piece of cloth or hide tucked over a belt, were common clothing worn by men in many Native American tribes. The cloth flaps fell down in front and behind to cover their genitals. During cold climates, men wear leather leggings. In some tribes, men wore fur trousers or short kilt instead the usual breechcloths. Not all Native American tribes used shirts. For instance, Plains Indian warrior had special buckskin war shirts that were decorated with intricate beadwork and quillwork as well as ermine hair and tail.

As with men, Native American women wore clothing for utility and not for fashion. Native Indian women also wore skirts and leggings, but the design, length and material varied depending on the tribe. Women’s shirt was optional for many tribes and used them more like coats. In other tribes, American Indian dresses were one-piece clothing that was worn overhead.

For the footwear, nearly all tribes used mukluk (a heavy boot) or a moccasin (a sturdy leather shoe). The designs and styles of the footwear varied depending on the tribe. There were also additional clothes that were used on certain occasions or climates. For instance, many tribes wore cloaks during cold climates, while some northern tribes used fur parkas. The tribes differ greatly in terms of formal clothing and headgear, which were different in every tribe. Usually, headgear complimented the hairstyles of the natives.

A dramatic evolution in the clothes of Native Americans was seen after colonization. While the colonizers did not bring technologically advanced equipment, such as a flat iron or even a one of Rowenta steam irons, the colonizer’s culture and fashion sense has greatly influenced the Native American’s clothing style. Native Indians started to adapt some European design styles into their own designs. Aside from this, there was also mingling among the different Indian tribes. As they were forcibly evicted from their lands, the natives were also forced to live close to each other resulting in the merging of tribal dress styles. Post-colonial native dresses were reflective of the colonizer’s clothing style. Fashion became the main driver of new clothing styles. Soon, the Native Indian clothes such as headdresses, breechcloths, leggings and dance shawls became decorative, often worn only during religious ceremonies and powwows. Native American Indians used regalia for traditional clothes there were worn only on special, ceremonial occasions.

How Native American Indians Used to Smoke Meat To Prepare A Nice And Juicy Meal

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How Native American Indians Used to Smoke Meat To Prepare A Nice And Juicy Meal

How foods were prepared in the past is something that is very intriguing to today’s society. The reason for this is that it’s often hard to imagine how we have grown into such a technologically advanced culture, one where not having a stove is uncommon, and grills are often made to look fancy rather than to be as practical as they could and should be. As a result, it’s nice, every once in a while to look back at the ways in which the Native American Indians prepared their meals and perhaps even try out some of these tricks as a reflection of how things once were and of course, to get a taste of the great flavours that they had during their times.

There are many different ways that Native American Indians used to prepare their meats. These include roasting them over a hot, open fire, grilling them on hot stones, as well as smoking them.

When it comes to smoking meat, this is something that leaves the meat with a decadent texture and of course, an incredibly rich flavour.

How Smoking the Meat Was Done

tasty smoked meatTypically, when smoking meat, the Native American Indians would cut the meat into strips and place it on a rack where it would be hung and then later smoked. This would not only give the meat a great flavour, but it was a great way of preserving the meat. Once the meat had been smoked, it wasn’t uncommon for it to stay good for quite some time and thus this was a tactic that was employed when storage of the meat was necessary. Unlike many meats that develop a dry texture when hung, the smoke enabled the meat to remain juicy rather than becoming too dry.

The fires that were used to smoke the meat were not generally large. Upon the coal, wood was laid in order to keep the fire going and produce light fumes that would both preserve and add flavour to the meats. This wasn’t typically a job for the elders. Instead, the younger Native American Indians were the ones assigned to watching the smoke, ensuring that it stays at just the right amount throughout the process and feeding more wood when necessary. In contrast, nowadays people simply get a good smoker and smoke their meat with a click of a button.

What is also interesting to note about the Native American Indian culture in relation to cooking, is that back then, wasting any part of the animal they were preparing was not an option. In accordance with this, parts like the eyes and the tongue that would be easily discarded in today’s society were not seen as trash to the Native American Indians back then.

Smoking meat was not only a delicious way to prepare a meal, but it was also a necessary one. The fact that this measure would allow the meats to stay edible for a longer period of time, meant that none of their preciously hunted food would go to waste and also that their food storage wouldn’t be limited during the harsher months of the year.

Using Modern Lighting to Illuminate the Past

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Using Modern Lighting to Illuminate the Past

Light is really a wonderful thing. Though light from the sun is a bit different from the light produced by a LED bar or a similar electronic source, the fact is they are both able to brighten an area and make things more visible. As I journey around checking out various sites across North America to try and find stories of the people who were here before us, I find myself packing light sources all the time. Many of my searches take me into the depths of caves, or into the sides of cliffs, or into other locations which haven’t seen light in centuries.

Actually, it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even carry around those big, bulky flashlights anymore. One of the main ways LED lighting is superior to standard bulbs is in the weight of the device. When comparing a system of LED lights to traditional lights where both systems produce the same amount of light, or lumens, it is a guarantee that the LED system will simply weigh less. It requires less wiring and is designed in such a way as to make it more portable and easier to carry. That’s not to say the LED lights I use are always necessarily better than other types of lights.

led light barFor starters, I’ve noticed that LED bars and other lighting fixtures tend to be unable to produce a great deal of light. They can be bright, but certainly spotlights and other light sources with a good deal of energy flowing into them are still capable of producing more light. On light bars like the ones I use, it can also be a real pain when individual LED cells die, leaving me with a bar which has uneven lighting. These are impossible to replace as far as I know, though I imagine there is a way. I also imagine it would probably just be cheaper to replace the entire bar, as I’ve done several times in the past.

The bottom line is, when I’m going for my treks, climbs and hikes to check out various areas with a strong Native presence here in North America, I need to be able to move quickly and easily. I can’t afford to be tied down by heavy equipment, or burdened with items that are unwieldy or difficult to maneuver in an enclosed environment. In a great number of different ways, LED lighting is better than other types of lighting for the things I want to do. I’ve already outlined how it isn’t perfect here, but remember nothing is perfect, right?

In my experience, it’s the best kind of lighting there is. But everyone has different needs, you know? I need to be able to spot things like bits of pottery, arrowheads, tools and other remains left behind when I’m rooting through dark places. This means I usually need at least a free hand to dig through dirt or other roughage while my other hand holds onto the light. Comfortable clothing is also important here, but I think I already mentioned that.

Interesting and amazing Native American customs

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Interesting and amazing Native American customsIt is always interesting to delve into the past and find about the culture, life, and ways of our ancestors. From the early civilization to the present day culture, there have been many changes for the better and sometimes for worse too. Nevertheless knowing about a particular tribe’s culture helps in understanding their way of life and gives us a glimpse of the world that was at that particular time. Native American customs form a part of their culture. They have evolved from their spiritual traditions and beliefs. Here are a few of the intriguing customs:

Medicine man

In Native American custom, the medicine man features prominently. While the names may vary based on the particular tribe, they were mostly decided based on the person’s character, animals, natural environment, and certain other factors. The medicine men were healers who performed rituals to ward off evil and cure illnesses in persons. Bloodletting was a common procedure used by the medicine men to treat back pain, headaches, and other illnesses.

Totem animal

Native Americans believed that each human being possesses an inherent animal presence or force such as bear, wolf, or eagle. This is a chief identity used by a tribe and is subject to many controversies and superstitions. The animal names were taken up to serve as guardian angel for them. This animal symbolism has been linked to astrology and is representative of the culture, customs and natural influences.

Dancing

Most of the celebrations in the Native American communities featured ritual dances in which men and women took part. Mostly the dances were performed to celebrate victory in battle. The blowing of conches was also done to indicate victory. Empty conch shells were also used as calling bells.

Nowadays with the huge technological advancements, we have sophisticated door bells, free of wires to ensure safety in homes. In addition to victory dances, joyous occasions such as weddings, religious festivals, and corn harvest were considered important and dancing was held at such events. The bravery of the soldiers in battles can be seen depicted clearly in the dances, which mimicked the fighting sequences in them.

Painting in sand

Based on the Navajo beliefs, the sand paintings were the gift bestowed upon the natives by the holy people. The paintings were done with a blend of gypsum, ochre, red sandstone, and charcoal and mixed using different techniques. The paintings created on a smooth sand base turned into a custom followed by several tribes. For added color, crushed flower petals as well as cornmeal was included. The paintings are connected to Navajo mythology and symbolize healing, harvest and other joyous events. Legendary visions, sacred mountains, and traditional dances are commonly featured in these paintings.

Sky, Great Spirit and Earth

Wakan-Taka, the Great Spirit is the core of universe and is present inside every person, according to the Native Americans and most customs followed by them revolve around this concept. Men and women thank the Great Spirit for their existence. The revered circle symbolized by rotating earth, stars and elements are related to the Great Spirit. The spirit was believed to wield control over stones, clouds, trees, animals and everything on earth.

Choose the right spiritual path to defend yourself with

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Choose the right spiritual path to defend yourself withOne of my latest posts reminded me of how important it is to stay rooted. By this I mean keeping in touch with your cultural roots, whether by heritage or those you’ve chosen to affiliate yourself with. And by affiliation I do not mean deliberately accepting the general behavior of mainstream ‘multicultural’ and commercial-oriented culture which has tragically become the American way of life. Back then, particularly before the Western settlers arrived and drove our forefathers and their tribes from their hallowed land, the American way of life was quite different. I feel myself drawing closer to those spiritual roots every day that goes by.

The spiritual significance of cultural weapons

Westernized culture also went on to create offensive ‘cowboys and Indians’ movies which always portrayed the Native American warriors as the proverbial bad guys. They were portrayed as vile primitive beasts that derived sustenance from drawing blood from innocent victims. And the primitive weapons they used, bows, arrows and axes, were their killing machines. But how quickly modern society still forgets what these weapons really meant to the young braves who were selected to defend their tribes and leave home on hunting expeditions to ensure their tribes’ survival.

It is also not out of place to suggest that these hand-crafted weapons had religious and/or spiritual significance for these men and in learned circles today, particularly among the survivors of those tribes who choose to have them close to their person; these weapons are regarded as cultural accoutrements. Apart from its spiritual significance, the weapons mainly served as a means which to defend with, not annihilate or wantonly kill with. As tools of necessity, these cultural weapons also resonate with the spiritual philosophies of the true martial arts practitioner.

The talismanic value of the jewelry I wear

When they practice their kicking and punching skills on a good freestanding punching bag, they don’t have vengeance in mind nor do they have venom coursing through their veins. I hope these thoughts on weapons and the means for equipping yourself with effective fighting skills have placed you in the right frame of mind too, particularly in light of recent, violent events plaguing mainstream society today. As it has helped me, it will also help you to stay rooted as a well-rounded American. It goes without saying that it would please me even more if you chose to one day become a true Native American.

I’d like to close this post with one more thought on my culture of choice. I’m digressing slightly from what I said earlier on being superstitious. Let me rephrase; I am still marveling at my transformation from being an inherently suspicious and superstitious young man to one who derives great spiritual value and benefit from the talismanic jewelry I now wear religiously.

To help you fully appreciate what I feel and mean to say here, think also of those folks who swear by wearing the Star of David or a crucifix around their necks.

Awareness of cultural diversity, brings about respect, appreciation and joy

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Even among the many Native American or Indian tribes of North America, there is cultural diversity. Long before European colonialists arrived to settle on the vast plains of the New Continent, clearing indigenous tribes, often violently and cruelly, from land they had inhabited for hundreds of years, there was cultural diversity among all the original and first inhabitants of Canada and the United States of America. Having come from all corners of the earth to settle here long before the ‘white’ colonists arrived, Native Americans were inherently different from each other in numerous but subtle cultural and religious ways.

Ignorance then and now

Yet even then, the indigenous North American tribes did not fully appreciate their unique and invaluable differences and still went to war against each other, usually over issues related to living space and natural and food resources. Back then, they did not have the benefit of opaque or bright LED light bars to see their way clearly through the fog of prejudice. But sadly and ironically, while the last remaining survivors of the continent’s indigenous settlers, often living in rural settings and in squalor on locations, now have a greater appreciation of cultural differences than their perceived urban sophisticates. With the benefit of technologies and vast resources of knowledge, mainstream (urban) American society remains far less aware and appreciative.

Recent remarks by a Presidential candidate have been taken so seriously that it prompted the White House to call upon the Grand Old Party to take action and remove this candidate from its roll. And yet among the remaining Republican candidates there are signs of hope because these gentlemen, one way or another, show signs of cultural sensitivity and tolerance, whether through proclamations or actions.

What needs to be done and what we can achieve

Speaking of actions little is actually done by mainstream American politicians to help improve the lot of our Native Americans. As you should know by now, many of them remain underdeveloped on isolated locations. And instead of beneficiating their elders and leaders with reckless casinos, we could be giving them a lift-up with more sustainable tools and work and life options and reviews, such as the ones shown here, farming and natural power-generating business opportunities.

These examples given here are perfect for propagating what we’re trying to achieve here. Close to our indigenous roots, we are trying to create greater awareness of our cultural diversity. By doing this, more respect and tolerance for those who are different is possible. And when this is achieved, we get more appreciation and joy out of life, particularly when we are able to laugh at ourselves when noting those quirky similarities that we did not know about before.

For instance, did you know that clan leaders of indigenous Southern African tribes are also referred to as ‘chief’? And did you know that like the buffalo once was to the Native Americans, the African bull is a prized asset of Southern African males?

Native Americans’ Traditional Fishing Techniques

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Aside from hunting and farming, fishing is another essential life skill that every adult Native American had to learn. But unlike the fishing that we now know (complete with spinning reels, a fishing rod and a bait), ancient fishing methods of the Native Americans were completely different.

Native Americans lacked conventional tools so they devised ingenious ways of catching fish. Had there been modern spinning reels, like the ones found at SpinningReelPro.com, things would have been much different.

The first settlers from the New World were impressed at how skillful at fishing the natives were. Their fishing techniques relied on indigenous materials and were especially designed for shallow waters. Since they had no metals, the natives used net-like obstructions (weirs) made of woven or tied weeds to catch or impound fish. They carefully placed weirs across channels or streams where fish most likely pass through. The weirs were made of tied or woven reeds, and are anchored to the sand using poles. The top of these crude fish nets extended above the water and appeared like fences. The patterns are carefully designed and weirs are arranged to ensure fish are impounded.

Besides using weirs, the natives, particularly men, were good at spear fishing. Spear fishing was a skill reserved for men, meanwhile women employed simple string with a hook for catching fish. Spring and winter proved to be the perfect time for spear fishing. Once the lakes froze, the natives cut a hole through the ice where they let down their hand crafted lures made of bones or woods. They peek through the hole in the ice, thereby covering the incoming light and providing them better view of the fish beneath.

Natives used different implements for spear fishing depending on the size of the fish they were catching. Before they started using metal and copper, the tips were made of sharpened wood or stick. The shafts were also made from wood. For small fishes, three-pronged spears were used.

During spring, the Native Americans rode canoes as they went spear fishing. The natives went spear fishing at night and used fire torches to light up the water’s surface. They traversed shallow waters. Usually, they stood for long periods of time while waiting for the perfect moment to let out the spear.

Nowadays, the traditional fishing techniques of Native Americans are not commonly used because of the much easier and more versatile fishing reel and rod. You can choose from the different saltwater spinning reel by visiting this site. Aside from fishing rod and reel, there are also modern methods of spear fishing. There are spear guns used for spear fishing, usually done with scuba diving. Due to environmental concerns, fishing may also be restricted to designated fishing areas.

What Colors Meant to the Native Americans?

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Native American paintings reveal so much about the culture and life of our ancestors. Like any other art forms, Native American paintings are replete with both physical and spiritual representations. Indians traditionally painted everyday items such as clothing, pottery, woodcrafts, and even cave walls and tipi covers. The most notable of all woodcrafts are the Totem Poles. But unlike today where we have power tools, such as air compressors with adjustable nozzle (visit this site for more details), that make painting much easier, ancient Indian tribes manually painted their pieces using rudimentary tools.

color-wheelWhile a great chunk of Native Indian art has not survived time, many ancient symbols are still used today as tattoo designs. They are also depicted on numerous objects such as clothes, tepees, and custom art. A lot of us appreciate this ancient art symbols, particularly Totem Poles, but do we really know their meaning, much less the significance of the colors they used?

Native American Indians used colors to show the meanings in their Totem Poles. There are many different tribes and each associate unique meaning to colors. Red color symbolizes life, power, blood, war, strength, energy, and success in war. It may also represent beauty and happiness. In totem poles, red is frequently seen as the scarlet tanager, the crest of a red-headed woodpecker, or the tongue of an animal.

White and other light colors are used as background. They represent the spacious heavens and the skies. It also means peace, purity and death.

In Native Indian art, black is a “living” color and usually used as face paint for war. It is very aggressive and stood for power and strength. They are often used to define lines in Totem Poles. They used mud from sulphur springs and other earth deposits for color black.

Blue symbolizes the skies as well as the waters, lakes and rivers. Some tribes use dark blue to signify mountains as seen from a distance. The color represents happiness and sincerity. Native Indians derived the color from berries. Sometimes they used western pigments and clay that lent different hues of blue.

Predominant in their surroundings, yellow is a perennial color in Totem Poles and represents happiness, sun and light. Native Indians source yellow dye from tree moss, clays, tannic barks, and roots.

The trees, the hills, the earth, and the mountains are represented by the color green. These natural features are predominant in Indian legends and are thus frequently depicted in Totem Poles. The color green is usually produced by mixing blue and yellow, but can also be derived from simple acid action on copper. The extracts from grass likewise produce green dye.

Purple coming from huckleberries is commonly used by Indians to symbolize reverent nature. It may also represent mountains in the distance.

Native Indian art has provided an effective way of enriching and passing their culture. Today, many Native American Indian artists continue the traditional art, blending ancient art with mainstream art. Colors are effectively used to convey the artist’s ideas.

Native American tracking skills

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Native American tracking skills

Living in harmony with nature means knowing how to follow her sings. Native Americans knew it, and they had developed orientation skills. They knew to predict weather conditions by the look of the clouds in the sky or to predict a natural disaster by the animal behavior. The hunt was an integral part of their lives, and it is quite logical that they have developed remarkable skills in tracking wildlife. If you are involved in hunting, probably you are using them to reach your prey.

One of the ways to get to the prey is to follow tracks on the ground. It takes a lot of practice and focuses to notice them, especially where there is plenty of other evidence on the ground. When you see an animal footprint, you need to know to which animal it belongs to. Simply, they are not all animals valuable for hunting. The Indians know much about animal tracks. They would first assess their size and whether the footprint originated from paws or hooves. Then, they would count the number of fingers and look for traces of nails. By the shape and size of the paws, they were able to assume which animal made footprints.

Finding traces is not the same thing as finding wild animals. Today, every hunter carries a good rangefinder, with which can observe the environment and see is there some wild animal around. The Indians had to find some other way to get to the animals – to monitor their movements tracking  the marks on the ground. The way the wild animals leave a trail meant a lot in the detection of animals. The diagonal pattern of tracks is characteristic for animals that move the front left and rear right leg at the same time (like a deer). Pacer pattern indicates that it is an animal that moves both limbs on the left and on the right side at the same time (like bears). Animals that jump also leave specific traces. All this can be recognized, and the man can determine the direction in which the animal has gone.

Besides the footprints, the animals leave other traces. Big animals can break branches passing through their trajectory. A careful eye of Indians would not miss that. There are also traces in the form of animal feces, or in the form of food that has been dropped. Some animals leave their mark with their way of eating -tips of the plants that are eaten and the like. A good tracker will know to distinguish the fresh broached plant from the one eaten before a few days. Also, it will recognize the freshness of other marks. In this way, they will know whether they are on the right track to reach the prey.

To get a catch, the Native Americas had to know a lot about nature and its inhabitants. They supposed to know where are their habitats, where they sleep, where they like to eat and where to hide, to find all the marks they leave and to recognize their external anatomy. It’s a survival skill that all people once had.

Benefits Of Holistic Healing Approaches

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Benefits Of Holistic Healing Approaches

Modern medicine treats people who are sick as though they are machines with which something has gone wrong. The most common used methods are to radiate and cut them open to see what parts have succumbed to illness, and then to treat only those parts of their bodies.

The human mind and spirit are never taken into consideration.

Unlike these methods, holistic approaches take a human being as a whole. Like Native Americans still do, they actually stop and ask questions about the general well-being of an individual. Nowadays many people see the significance and the benefits of such approaches, and there is an increasing number of people who choose to be treated by so-called medicine men.

Things are changing so rapidly that even modern Western medicine has started doubting its methods. There are more and more techniques that are specially developed to rid doctors of the need to heal their patients in the invasive ways that have become customary.

One of the most famous such methods is definitely electrotherapy. I did some research and found some sites, such as TensUnitReport.com, that have reviews of many different devices for electrotherapy that can be used out of the comfort of your own home. So it really seems that things are changing for the better.

The benefits of non-invasive methods that still fall under the category of modern medicine can easily be proven. For instance, you can read about the advantages of above-mentioned electrotherapy here, as well as on countless other sites. When it comes to alternative methods, however, it’s all treated like hearsay.

This is exactly why I believe that people should be more invested in promoting holistic approaches, and that’s why I’m going to take this opportunity to say something about all the benefits of alternative healing methods.

After subjecting yourself to a holistic healing method, you’ll notice that not only does it relieve you of pain, it does that a lot quicker than any modern method could. Apart from healing the part of your body that’s most affected by the illness, it also improves your overall sense of well-being. In the process, it makes you understand some basic things, the most important being the fact that you need to take care of yourself in order to remain healthy. This, of course, excludes drinking, smoking, irregular sleep cycles and bad eating habits.

Healing is conducted only with the use of natural ingredients and positive energy, which means that you won’t get your body poisoned while trying to treat it. Apart from all this, it’s highly likely that you’ll open up a communication channel with Mother Earth, which means that you’ll become someone who cares about the environment as well.

As you can see, there are plenty of advantages, and no disadvantages when it comes to holistic healing methods. By now you should have realized how harmful it is for mankind to stick with modern medicine, when there is such a wonderful alternative to it. I’m not saying that people should stop seeing their doctors; I just believe that we all could do a lot better.

Popular Native American Bird Legends

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Popular Native American Bird Legends

When looking at Native American mythology, we see that birds are an important part of it. This is because these creatures generally are messengers and deliver the message of the Almighty and even humans as pigeons have been proven to be used for communication in the past, several of these considered war heroes today. They also allow the interaction between the spirit and the human realm. Moreover, throughout varying Native American tribes, we see that birds feature as clan animals.

It is commonly observed that several important clans are associated with particular bird types – for instance the Raven and Eagle Clan. Besides this, there also exist specific Bird Clans throughout quite many tribes, for instance Creek tribe’s Bird Clan. It is also essential to note that the majority of tribes present throughout the Northwest Coast keep birds as their essential clan crest. And that they are usually engraved on totem poles.

In light of all of this, here is a look at some popular Native American bird legends:

The Bittern Folklore

The “bittern” terminology originates from Old French and does not feature Native American roots at all. Although you should note that “sun-gazer” comes as a translation of it throughout varying Native American languages.

By doing a careful analysis of the Native American mythology, it can be seen that bitterns fail to play any major role in it. Also, in many tribes (like Blackfoot), bitterns are related with the factors of rain as well as water. Throughout Native American art, a specific silhouette of a bittern is often utilized as a figure for water, thereby clearly showing its association with the element. Also, in several flood stories, it has been mentioned that bittern aided in order to conclude the Great Flood, and they did so by consuming flood waters which they later on spew out in river form.

In some of the Native American cultures, bitterns were utilized as animals of the clans. Here, Chippewa was a well-known tribe that featured a Bittern Clan.

The Blackbird Folklore

Throughout a range of Plains Indian cultures, blackbirds are recognized as a sign of corn. Due to this factor, they are considered sacred in quite a few contexts. By doing a careful analysis of the Mandans and Arikara mythology, it is found that blackbirds serve as the Corn Mother. It is held as a belief by quite many Sioux individuals that whenever blackbirds’ flocks consumed their crops, this was merely a form of price they have to pay because they failed in honoring the corn appropriately. Throughout the rituals of Arapaho Sun Dance,the blackbird medicine is utilized. Furthermore, blackbirds are considered by the Hopi as among the guardians that are related with the underworld.

In quite a number of Native American cultures, blackbirds are utilized as clan animals as well. Here, the Chickasaw is a prominent tribe that features Blackbird Clan. Besides this, the Blackbird Dance is a tradition of the Chumash.

The Bluebird Folklore

Throughout the traditions of several Native American culture, bluebirds stand as an essential nature spirit. Additionally, in many tribes, bluebird is a sign representing spring. As per the famous Iroquois mythology, because of the bluebird’s singing, Tawiscaron (a demigod representing winter) was driven off. The Cherokees relate bluebirds with the wind. It is also believed that they forecast (and can also regulate) weather. The sun was related with bluebirds by the tribe of Navajo. Moreover, throughout various tribes of Pueblo, it was considered that bluebird was actually Sun’s son.

In quite a number of Native American cultures, bluebirds were utilized as clan animals. Some of the tribes that featured Bluebird Clans are Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo. Among them, Navajo features a special Bluebird song which is in fact part of their Native American music traditions.

The Blue Jay Folklore

In reference to the bluejay, it is observed that several Native American tribes view them negatively. This is primarily due to their aggressive actions. By studying legends, it can be seen that bluejays are represented as a self-centered and bullying thief. It is also important to note that in quite a number of Northwestern tribes, the representation of bluejay is of a trickster, which is still self-centered and greedy,but here it is also clever and caring towards mankind. There are relatively very few tribes that feature bluejay as a clan animal, one of which is the Hopi.

The Buzzard Folklore

In the majority of Native American tribes, buzzard are looked at negatively. Few tribes also relate it with death. Besides this, several are of the view that watching buzzards take a flight should be taken as a sign of either strife or danger. By studying Native American legends, it can be found that buzzard is generally showcased as a trouble creator that frequently cheats and lies. It also stores up precious resources that otherwise deserve to be spread across the masses. Buzzard also utilizes its massive size in order to bully others.

Even despite all the negativity that surrounds it, buzzard still occupies a respected place among various other clan animals – at least in few cultures. The buzzard clans are present in tribes such as the Miami and Menominee.

The Crane Folklore

Generally, cranes are viewed in a positive note. Great numbers of Native American tribes associate them with good fortune. Additionally, it is important to note that the native fishermen used to consider crane as a good sign – this during their fishing campaigns. It is commonly observed that crane is a peacemaker. And in others, it is also prominent due to its vanity. Cranes were a symbol that showcased good speaking skills as well as leadership – this as per the Anishinabe tribes. Besides this, the Cheyennes connected lightning with sandhill cranes.

Few Native American cultures utilized cranes as clan animals, these are the Chippewa and the Zuni. A few of Northwest Coast tribes also adopted crane as an essential clan crest. This is even more evident from the fact that it was engraved on quite a number of totem poles. The Chumash as well as the Creeks also featured a Crane Dance within their dance traditions.

How Native American Indians Celebrated Winter Solstice?

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How Native American Indians Celebrated Winter Solstice?

North American Indians have a legendary environmental wisdom and spirituality. They seemed to know when winter will come, when summer rains will start, when to hunt for specific animal species, and even when a storm is coming. They were very observant of the things that happen in their surroundings.

And since nature directly impacted their life, their cultural beliefs and traditions were also very much rooted in nature. Changes in season determined the time for sowing of crops, bearing of fruits, mating of animals, migration of birds, and basically their survival. One of the astronomic events that directly impacted their life is winter solstice.

winter-solstice-fireModern winter solstice traditions would usually include going on a ski trip or looking for a jacket or ski clothing and accessories. As soon as winter comes near, you’d likely start reading reviews about mountain skis from websites such as this WinterNinja.com.

But thousands of years ago, traditions were different. Native Americans celebrated winter solstice for far deeper and more significant reasons. For the ancient civilization, this astronomic event marked a time of change and renewal. It marked the New Year. It signified life.

It was difficult to survive through the cold months so winter solstice was celebrated with much fanfare. Cattles were slaughtered at this time of the year. Although it was mainly for practical reasons since the cattle couldn’t be kept alive through winter, the tradition has become a much-celebrated, spiritual event. It is also the only time of the year when the tribe can feast over fresh meat. Further, the winter solstice marked the return of the sun to the sky, which many tribes consider as sun god or a sign of rebirth and renewal.

Different tribes celebrate different traditions to mark the winter solstice. The Navajo ceremonies involve memorizing prayers, songs and arts. A Medicine Man leads the tribe in singing the Night Chant. The doctor priest is someone who has undergone years of apprenticeship and has mastered the complicated and detailed practices of the chant.

The Hopi, one of the many Pueblo tribes, celebrates a festival called the Soyaluna or Prayer-Offering Ceremony on December 22. They use a symbolic black Plumed Snake which signifies new life. This tradition is one of the most sacred ceremonies of the tribe and is celebrated to wish each other good health and prosperity for the New Year.

Each Iroquois tribe celebrated winter solstice a little differently. Some tribes slept early “to dream”. These tribes believed that Mother Night reigns the earth and walks through their dream to send message. At dawn, every tribe member is gathered to relate what their visions were. For some Iroquois tribes, this time of the year signified the start of the spiritual year and is a time to choose new council members. They also gave names to all children born that year during the winter solstice.

Today, we also celebrate winter solstice in many different ways. For the younger generations, gift-giving such as a nice winter ski or any other gift has become a common tradition during Christmas (a Christian celebration that coincides with winter solstice). And although winter solstice traditions have greatly changed over time, one thing has remained– it’s a time of thanksgiving.

Ancient Woodworking Techniques of the Native Americans

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Ancient Woodworking Techniques of the Native Americans

Wood is an integral part of human civilization, including the Native Americans. From pre-historic times to the modern era, humans have used wood for various purposes. This basic engineering supply has been used as materials for shelter, hunting and fishing, transportation, entertainment and games, household utensils, musical instruments, self-defense and war equipment, and many more.

Unlike now where we are equipped with an arsenal power tools that make woodworking easier, ancient cultures employed primitive tools and developed ingenious woodworking techniques in order to turn woods into useful as well as artistic and decorative objects. I could imagine the amount of time and effort they devote in creating every single wooden project.

Today, you can simply use a reciprocating saw (like the ones found on this website) for cutting accurate wood designs and patterns. What took them days to build, we can now do in just hours. That’s why I couldn’t help but admire the ingenuity, artistry and dedication of ancient woodworkers.

Woodworking masterpieces of Native Americans abound and can be seen in various museums. These artifacts range from basic wooden equipment used for daily life to furniture pieces to decorative objects to gigantic wooden projects, such as homes, boats and canoes. By simply looking at their wooden creations, one can vividly imagine the kind of life and society they lived in.

Each tribe uses different woodworking techniques and tools, as well as varying wood types depending on the ones readily available in their surroundings. For instance, Northern tribes used hardwoods such as elm, maple, and birch because of their abundance in the area. They turn these hardwoods into spoons, bowls, ladles and other household utensils. Native men used stone and bone tool to scrape the hardwood and form them into their desired shapes. The introduction of steel crooked knife allowed them to create ornamented wooden utensils, usually showing animal effigies.

For major woodworking projects, such as boats, canoes, and shelters, Native Americans used tools such as stone and steel axes, scrapers, chisels, wooden wedges, gouges and others. It took several groups of men to cut down trees as well as to cut them to pieces. Most of the ancient woodworking tools were limited in function and often resulted in rough wooden products. Ancient woodworkers learned by experience different techniques of using their tools. Unlike today, power tools such as the Milwaukee reciprocating saw allows woodworkers to build wooden projects with much precision, accuracy and speed.

Native Americans have developed many other woodworking techniques, particularly bending wood without breaking it, which proved to be useful. Bent woods were very useful in making canoe ribs, basket handles, snowshoe frames, and other curved objects. They used charring technique to make hollow wooden items such as wooden bowls, dugout canoes and log mortars for pounding corn.

As the natives developed and mastered their woodworking skills, they become better able to hunt for food, cultivate the land, and build transportation, furniture, and buildings. Thus, early woodworking techniques were very much instrumental in the advancement of our civilization.

Traditional Farming Techniques of the Native Americans

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Traditional Farming Techniques of the Native Americans

Ancient societies depended on four basic ways to feed their families: fishing and hunting, gathering, farming and growing animals. Native Americans were no different.

Most of the Indian tribes were semi-nomadic, moving from one place to another as they gather and hunt for food; other tribes were agricultural, settling at one place and farming the land for a year. They also raised animals but they were not many.

Even before their first encounter with Europeans, Native American tribes in the northeast grew crops particularly beans, corn and squash. Their three principal crops, known as the ‘Three Sisters’, were inseparable and were interplanted in the same mounds. This farming technique was widespread among ancient farming tribes.

The ancient farmers did not have the luxury of modern technology. Unlike today where farmers use sophisticated machines to till the land, ancient farmers used indigenous tools like wood branches and stone.

Each family is farmed about an acre of land. They would create small mounds all over their land, where they interplanted the three crops. There was no extensive disturbance of the soil as they individually hoed up each mount.

I imagine how the ancient farmers would envy us with all the modern farming technologies. Even homeowners can now use garden tractors, like the ones at this website, for trimming their lawns.

Despite the lack of advanced farming technologies, their tradition of interplanting the ‘Three Sisters’ proved to be a sustainable system that allowed them to maximize the soil fertility at the same time provided a healthy diet to their society. The ancient tribes believed the three crops were a precious gift from the gods. To honor them, the planting season was marked by ceremonies. The first harvest is also celebrated. These annual rituals, along with retelling of stories, ensured that their farming traditions were preserved and handed down to future generations.

Their traditional planting techniques allowed long-term, high-yield and high-quality food source without much impact on the environment. The acre of land that each family tilled was sufficient to feed the entire family and even produced surplus. They even traded excess food supply with early European settlers.

For many centuries, Native Americans followed their farming system and it sustained them throughout the years. They had no idea of modern conceptual vocabulary such as soil nutrition, fertilizers, vitamins, etc. They depended on the cues of nature when they will start farming.

As farming become more developed and sustainable, tribes started to settle and form villages. They chose areas with easy access to rivers and seas which were abundant in fish. Other tribes settled near mountains where they can hunt and gather other foods. Permanent settled areas were composed of dispersed dwelling and large areas of fields. Women were a central figure in the tribe as they were the ones who did most of the farming. They were also the ones who passed the farming traditions to the succeeding generations.

In the recent years, farming experts have revisited the ancient farming practices of the Native Americans. How these farming traditions have enabled ancient tribes to flourish amidst droughts for thousands of years seem to offer solutions to problems that beset modern agriculture.

The Famous and Successful Native Americans Athletes

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The Famous and Successful Native Americans Athletes

It is sad that the notions of crime and alcoholism are associated with today’s Native American youth. Life in the reservation certainly is not a premium but does not have to be fitting into the wrong molds neither.

Many Native Americans have managed to become successful athletes, to achieve significant results and become famous names of US sports. Let’s mention some of them.

  • Jim Thorpe was a Native American athlete who dominated the 20-years of the last century. He was successful in many fields and was best known as a football and baseball player. But he was not just that. At the Olympic Games 1912 in Sweden, he made such a spectacle that has been declared as the greatest athlete in the world, by the Swedish king.
    He won Olympic gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon, and also gold medals in the high jump and long jump. Because of its sports ingenuity, he should really be considered the best athlete in the world, bearing in mind that athletes typically focus on professional engagement and success in just one sport.
  • Notah Begay is a famous name in the world of golf. He is a Native American who originates from Navajo tribes, the only one who has participated in the PGA tournament. He began dealing with professional golf in 1995. In 1999. he qualified for the PGA tournament, where he showed remarkable results within 9 months and became a famous name in the world of golf. However, the thing that can single out this athlete is the establishment of the Notah Begay III Foundation.The aim of this foundation is that, through sports, namely football and golf, change the attitudes of Native American youth toward life and success. Golf is an expensive sport and for professional engagement, it is necessary professional equipment like this one. The road to success is hard, and the Notah knows that. Therefore, the aim of the Foundation is to present a Native American youth healthy and active life as a path to a better future.
  • Joe “The Boss” Hipp is another great sports name. He was a world champion in boxing, and he wins numerous titles in a heavyweight category in the 90s of the last century. After the end of his sports career, Joe has not given up the fight. In 2007. he founded the “All Nations Foundation” which is dedicated to Native American youth. The purpose of this organization is to encourage young people to strive for success, health, and self-assertion.
  • Ellison Myers Brown was the famous name the 30s of the last century. He won first place at the Boston Marathon in 1936 and 1939. He was supposed to take part in the Olympics games in 1940, but the games are canceled due to World War Two.

These are just some of the names that have remained notable in American history. Some of them provide valuable lessons about the motivation and energy, especially those which have used their influence to educate young people and to show them that success does not fall from the sky. It is necessary to awaken the spirits.

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