Trials of Manhood for Indians

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Trials of Manhood for Indians

Most ancient cultures in the world have a rite of passage for boys; when they reach a certain age and strength, they would be given a quest or a task to do. When they finished this task, they were officially considered men by the people of their tribe. Sadly, in most Western cultures we have all but abandoned the notion of a “rite of passage.” We’ve replaced manhood with an extended boyhood, and never expect people to grow up and improve themselves. I’ve compiled some observations from my study of the Native American people, and I want to share some ideas I’ve had about how we can learn about rites of passage to adulthood!

The Quest

The main part of the journey to adulthood in Indian culture was The Quest. The quest that Indian boys undertook was simple, yet difficult to complete. The boy who wanted to be considered a man had to go on a 1-2 week journey by himself, building his own shelter and hunting his own food. During this time he would commune with the spirits and find his life purpose. Was he a hunter? Was he a warrior? Or was a musician or shaman, one who would guide the tribe spiritually? Maybe he would be a sportsman, one who played sports like ones you could find at… Or perhaps his purpose and goal was to be a chief or an elder in the tribe, making the day-to-day choices that kept the tribe alive. The spirits would tell him what his purpose was, and how he would accomplish his visions.

His New Name

Indian children were given a name as children, one that was given to their parents by the spirits. One of the reasons for this quest was to transition the child out of childhood and into adulthood, and to do this the boy needed a man’s name. No one got to choose their own name however… It was given them by the spirits on the quest. Often, you would make a name for yourself by your actions… Much like I’ve made a name for myself around my hometown for being great at indoor basketball… Thanks Patio Sport! Although you could not choose your name, your name might be influenced by the actions you performed, such as bravery in the hunt or in a fight.

The Return

After the quest was over, the new man would return to his tribe. A ceremony was held after he arrived, celebrating his transition into manhood and honoring his accomplishment in finishing the quest. The ceremony would also recognize the man’s new name, and discard his old childhood name. He would be added to the tribe as a contributing member, and the elders would consult among themselves and the spirits about his new role in the tribe, and what his primary job would be. It’s a real shame that we no longer perform such rites… They gave everyone a place in the tribe, and in the world around them.

Lessons We Can Learn from the Native Americans

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Lessons We Can Learn from the Native Americans

If you don’t like history, you’re throwing away a huge chance to learn about the things other people went through without having to go through that trouble yourself. Why would you miss out on a chance to learn from the past, if it meant that your future would be better? There are so many lessons that we can learn from the Native Americans that apply so well to modern day. I’ve studied a lot of the philosophy that the Indians had, and I want to share with you guys some of the lessons I learned. Here are some truths that you can apply to your own life!

Waste Not, Want Not

Maybe the Indians didn’t invent that saying, but they certainly practiced it. Whenever the Native American people killed an animal, they used every part of its body. It was considered disrespectful to the spirit of the animal to throw anything away, so everything was used. The meat was eaten, the bones could be used as tools, the brain was perfect for tanning leather, and the skin was used for tents or clothes. Even the sinew from the muscles that couldn’t be eaten was used for a sort of twine, to tie clothes together or to sew tents. Most modern cultures are far too wasteful, and we could take a lesson from the Indians here. Reuse water bottles, keep plastic containers, use less water for dishes… There are all sorts of ways to show respect to nature and keep things in balance.

Be One with the World

Our modern culture conquer nature; the Indians wanted to live side-by-side with it. It’s much better to try and be one with nature, rather than trying to control it. We tend to see so many animals as pests, but often they were here long before us and will be there after we’re gone. That being said, I am very glad that we have bug traps like the ones from, because some animals truly are pests! However, often we should just observe the nature around us and be at peace with it as much as possible.

Believe in the Spirits

I don’t know what your personal beliefs are, and I don’t want to contradict them. I do think it’s valuable to see the world as the Indians saw it; that there was a bit of God or “The Great Spirit” in everything. You could see it in the deer, or the trees, or the rivers. This is why they didn’t waste anything of what they killed, because it disrespected the gifts of the Great Spirit to throw anything away. I believe it is valuable to have that attitude towards nature, because it makes you respect it. You won’t disrespect something that has a personality and feelings of its own, would you? Nature is more of a living being than we often think. Maybe that’s why we have environmental problems; we have no respect for the spirit of nature.

Native American Indian Cultural Vacation Spots

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Native American Indian Cultural Vacation Spots

Some vacations are all about relaxing somewhere nice; you don’t need to learn anything, and you don’t need to do anything. However, sometimes it’s nice to take a vacation where you learn something new. I’ve taken a few vacations in the US where I just wanted to learn about Indian culture all over the country.

The US is a gigantic country. There is a joke that it’s the only place where you can move 3000 miles away and still be in the same country. Because of the massive size of the country, many Indian tribes did not have anything to do with each other, so their cultures never influenced each other. The Indians of the American Southwest are quite different than the Indians of the Northeast. But here are a few of my favorite Native American Cultural Vacation Spots.

New Mexico

New Mexico has one of the most interesting populations of Navajo people in the US. The city of Santa Fe is a wonderful glimpse into the culture that dominated the area hundreds of years ago. The turquoise jewelry is the hallmark of this tribe, and the beautiful designs and paintings that cover the rocks draw the eyes as well.

In addition, if you’re in New Mexico you might want to take a trip up north to Southern Colorado. There, you will find the Pueblo city of Mesa Verde. This tribe built clay houses right into the sides of the mountains, hundreds and hundreds of feet in the air. These “mesas” or “tables” hold large villages that were home to hundreds of people. They were mostly safe from invasion, and were protected by layers of ladders that traced the area. If you’re a thrill seeker, you’ll love the Pueblo dwellings.


The first contact that the British colonies had with Native Americans was around the area that is now known as Virginia. These were the Powhatan Indians. Pocahontas is the most famous member of this tribe. Near Williamsburg, VA you will find an abundance of cultural history, both of the US and of the Native Americans. Jamestown features dig sites that constantly unearth pottery, and evidence of trade between the Englishman and the Indians. These tribes were largely matriarchal, and had views we would consider differently today in many cases. For example, they viewed menstruation positively, as a sign of new life and replacement of the old. This view is held today by Top Ladies Secret and other sites as well. We can learn a lot from their views!

Other Cultural Spots

You can find amazing cultural heritage in other places in the US as well, such as Alaska, Tennessee, and Kansas. Native Americans left their mark on the United States in the big way; most of the states are named after the tribes that once lived there. Anywhere you travel in the US, you will find cultural landmarks that point all the way back to the days of the Native Americans. Don’t just pass these by; take some time to learn about them!

Did Native Americans Ever Played Games?

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Did Native Americans Ever Played Games?

The answer is yes.

I’ve been hearing this same question for quite a long time now from both kids and adults interested about the Native American’s way of life. And many are still surprised when they learn that our ancestors actually know how to play games.

Traditional games were part of their ancient traditions and culture. But unlike modern sporting events, ancient games played by Native Americans had many purposes.

They strengthened the body and spirit through exercise as well as brought the community together. They helped instill values such as endurance, fairness and patience, as well as skills that they need in life.

Games were essential to our ancestors, such that, they were participated not only by children but also by adults and youth. Every member of the tribe is actually involved in sports, either as spectator or as an athlete. And it proved to be practical as it helped sharpen their survival skills and reinforce group cooperation. Traditional sports also maintained the warriors’ combat skills and readiness. They helped keep the tribe healthy and fit, and thrive in their harsh environment.

3 Native American games we still see today

As you can see, games were not only a past-time of our ancestors. They are an integral part of their everyday lives. But while Native Americans had a lot of physical and chance games, there are virtually no traditional games that are still being played today. However, there are three modern sporting events that have a close semblance or have originated from traditional Native American games.

  1. Stickball

What we now know as lacrosse actually originated from a Native game, stickball. The forerunner of lacrosse has a very basic rule which is to move the ball down the field using only their sticks. A score is made when you are able to hit the opposing team’s goal posts with the ball. They used a hoop with an inner web-like mesh to catch the ball made of indigenous material. The players also made their own sticks. There were no lacrosse racquets, which now look more like the badminton rackets reviewed at

Unlike modern lacrosse, stickball can have up to hundreds of players to a team and with the playing field spanning for miles. Aside from being a physical event, it was also a spiritual event and is thought to heal the sick. Different ceremonials rituals come along with the game – and some of which still remain evident with modern lacrosse.

  1. Chunkey (Hoop and Pole)

Different Native American tribes played unique versions of hoop and pole. In this traditional game, the teams roll along the ground a hoop with inner web-like mesh. The players (usually boys) will then attempt to pierce it using an arrow shot from a bow or a spear. The teams then take turns shooting the hoop. This hoop looks more like a tennis racquet. You can view one here at Peak to visualize it.

Every time an arrow or bow hits the hoop, the team gets another chance to shoot. The game ends when one team runs out of spear or bow. This Native game helped sharpen their hunting skills.

The mechanics of Hoop and Pole is still being played today, such as in archery, darts and similar sporting events, as well as, in some children’s games.

  1. Pasuckuakohowog

This Native American game has been played as early as the 17th century and translates to “they gather to play ball with the foot.” It is akin to soccer or football. The Algonquin and Powhatan tribes were among its early players. Their playing field measured about half mile wide and had two goals that were one mile apart. For the ball, they used tightly wound animal hides or leather. Similar with modern soccer, the basic rule was to get the ball to the other team’s goal without using hands and primarily the feet. But unlike modern soccer that is less physical, Pasuckuakohowog is played in a violent and aggressive manner.

This ancient version of soccer was not a very nice sport with some players often retiring with serious injuries or broken bones. It can have up to a thousand players in one game. It can get chaotic and more likely symbolize warfare. However, it was culturally significant as it kept the warriors in shape and ready. There was also a celebratory feast after each game.

From stickball to Pasuckuakohowog, sporting events have played a vital part in the Native American culture!

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 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!

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