5 Ways American Indians Kept Their Lustrous Hair

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5 Ways American Indians Kept Their Lustrous Hair

When looking at old pictures of Native Americans, one can surely notice their lustrous locks.

Having great hair is perhaps one of the most admirable characteristics of Native Americans, both men and women. But have you ever wondered how they do it? Why does it seem that only very few older people have gray hair?

Well, unlike other indigenous tribes Native Indian culture places much value on their hair – their crowning glory. They considered hair as integral part of their identity and often embodied how they lived their life. Just as they give respect to nature, American Indians put much attention on their hair. They took pride in the different hair styles that often represented a certain aspect of their life. To some tribes, hair was not only a source of pride but also had spiritual importance.

Unlike nowadays where hair products and gadgets are ubiquitous, our ancestors didn’t have any of these basic necessities. Don’t ever expect to see a shampoo or soap dispenser in their bathroom; or anything close to the kitchen soap dispensers like this one reviewed here at Sinkhq.com.

What was hair care like during their time?

They made use of indigenous items like roots, herbs, oils, infusions, and teas. Here are some natural hair practices of American Indians.

  1. Aloe vera

Abundant in their surroundings, aloe vera was used since ancient times by our Native ancestors. It provided protection for the hair from the blistering sun and the elements. Regular use of aloe vera helped keep the hair silky and soft. But they didn’t only use it as natural shampoo; they also ate aloe as toxic cleaners and immune boosters.

  1. Rosemary

Although rosemary is known for its uses in the kitchen, American Indians have a unique use for it. They infused the herb in oil and applied it into their hair and scalp. The inherent properties of rosemary helped stimulate blood circulation thereby allowing hair follicles to function and breathe normally. This results in a delayed graying of hair among Native Americans.

  1. Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is a common herb among Native Indian tribes. Aside from its nutritional values, it also has very good medicinal benefits. They dried the fruit Saw Palmetto, grind it, and concocted into teas, ointments and tinctures which can applied to the scalp and hair. It strengthened the hair and helped prevent scaly scalp. Furthermore, Saw Palmetto was also used to prevent baldness. It can be used as topical application or taken orally for beautiful indigenous hair.

  1. Stinging Nettle

Long before modern science has discovered the medicinal properties of Stinging Nettle, Native Americans have been using it to prevent hair loss. This grass is abundant in the wild and is widely available to the Native Americans. They’ve used this herb as hair moisturizer as well as a tea for drinking. Stinging Nettle contains high levels of vitamins B, C, and K as well as iron and amino acids – all of this can help grow healthy and strong hair.

  1. Washing & Protective Styling

Native Americans didn’t mess with their hair by washing it everyday thereby allowing uninterrupted hair growth. They also practiced braiding which is actually a form of protective styling. Although they would normally decorate or dress their hair on different occasions, they would only usually do a French braid or one big braid. This way, they protected their hair.

 

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.

Why Go Nomad?

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us nomad is defined as, “a member of a people who have no fixed residence but move from place to place usually seasonally and within a well-defined territory.”

That’s not to say a nomad is homeless, but on the contrary, that their homes span much farther than the walls surrounding them, wherever they might be staying at any given time. Many Native Americans lived nomadic lifestyles, constantly moving around to follow food and growing cycles for those things they liked to hunt and eat. Considering all the movement and the lack of stability, why go nomad?

I already mentioned following the food, but why do that when you could simply farm land and raise crops and livestock in one spot? Well, land gets worn out eventually, after plants pull all the nutrients from the soil and make it barren.

Traveling constantly would mean that no particular location would become picked clean of plant or animal life, and after making the rounds and going to five or six other locations, the balance would be restored at the first when you returned to it. Or at least that’s how some of the Native tribes thought about their nomadic lifestyles.

Natural disasters can be, well, disastrous. But they need not be the ruin of a person or a people if those same people are constantly moving. If you aren’t settled into one location, you can just walk away when conditions become inhospitable; maybe return at a later date to see if things have improved rather than wallowing in the misery.

See, the Native Americans here didn’t have things like sump pumps to suck water out of lowlands after a flooding spell. They couldn’t just go to some place like http://sumppumpjudge.com/ to compare pumps before purchasing one and having it shipped to them.

It’s clear then that some people go nomad out of necessity. The land isn’t feeding them, or maybe it’s actively trying to kill them like the natural disasters which were mentioned, so they simply get up and leave for greener pastures.

There’s a real element of force here. But then there are people who actually prefer to live such a lifestyle. Travelers, explorers and the like, folks who hate to be tied down to a single place, these are the ones who are still nomadic to this day. That’s right – there are still nomads in this world, believe it or not.

As mankind continues to hack away at the world and carve it up into neighborhoods, condominiums, apartment complexes and roads, more and more natural habitat is lost to urban development. Because of this, it’s getting harder and harder for people in civilized parts of the world to live in that nomadic lifestyle.

But the clutter of people and the cluster of pollution is, strangely enough, a great driving force behind some of those people who want to just get up and move away from it all. While they aren’t as bad as floods or tornados, these conditions push people to move all the same.

Native American Furniture

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Native American Furniture

They say that necessity is the mother of invention – that is, until people finally are faced with an issue which needs to be solved in some way, they tend not to think about solutions to said issue. Once it becomes necessary to do or make something to resolve a problem, suddenly people start working towards inventing something to remedy the problem.

For example, let’s take a look at furniture, especially furniture which is of a highly limited use in a very restricted niche or field. Naturally we’ll be looking at Native American furniture, but you could take what you read here and apply it elsewhere.

There are two things you’ll probably notice about Native American furniture, and these two things will show up in almost every tribe, regardless of location, culture or interactions with other tribes and groups of people. Most Native furniture features a lot of leather and beadwork.

The first one is understandable since Native Americans of all types made it a point to use as much as possible of any animal they killed. This included skinning them and tanning their hides to make furniture upholstery, as well as the clothing, weapons and other paraphernalia where leather was applicable.

As for the beads, that’s simply a matter of decoration. Bright, shiny bits can add a lot to the appeal of a piece of furniture depending on the tastes of whoever might be looking at that piece of furniture. This here is the point where I start to wonder about things.

For instance, what might some more modern furniture look like if it were to be crafted using these old world methods? Car seats, especially convertible and booster seats for babies, might look really interesting. Just look at the seats at The wise mom and imagine them with much more leather and beads.

The only issue with studying Native American furniture is the fact the stuff was predominantly made from materials which would wear down and eventually go to dust over time, except in the case of the beads, which were valuable in their own right and would often be ripped from old, ratty furniture to be used again for newer pieces, constantly getting recycled.

There are very few examples of Native American furniture from the past which have survived until today, and I don’t think I need to explain that it’s hard to find authentic pieces in the present due to many Native tribes being wiped out by Europeans.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t still Natives who survive today – I’d be lying if I made a claim like that. Some of these Natives even maintain the practices of their ancestors, including the crafting of quality Native furniture.

There are specialty stores where you can find this sort of stuff, but you shouldn’t really expect to go to your local furniture shop and see it. Do any of you have some nice Native furniture you might like to share with the rest of us? It would be interesting to see different design schemes and try to figure out what furniture was crafted by which tribe.

My Crazy Movie Watching Binge

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My Crazy Movie Watching Binge

Hi guys! As you know, I love American Indians and movies about them. Most of the movies based on this community are timed at the time of arrival of English sailors to the New World. This weekend, I had some time off so I decided to go on a movie watching spree and here are the movies I saw and a little bit about them.

  • The New World (2005) – This film is based on the historical events of the arrival of Englishmen to the New World, the challenges they faced and the resulting conflicts with the native Indians. It also has an element of a love tragedy between an English sailor “Captain John Smith and a Native American Indian, the daughter of a chief “Pocahontas”. This movie is a good watch especially if you are interested in the events of arrival of English sailor to the New World.
  • Apocalypto (2006) – This movie is based on a fictional setting of clan conflicts between the Mayan (led by Zero Wolf) and the native American Indians (led by Jaguar Paw). The Mayans raid and capture the Indians and plan to take them back to their city. While on the way, a sick girl prophesies that Zero Wolf will be killed by Jaguar Paw on the day of the solar eclipse. On the arrival the captured women are taken as slaves while the men are taken to the temple as a human sacrifice. They are however spared due to the eclipse celebration, the men escape into the jungle were Jaguar Paw kills Zero Wolf. The movie ends with the reunion of Jaguar Paw with his family and the arrival of Spanish ships at their shores.
  • Dances with Wolves (1990) – This movie is about the interactions of a civil war hero-soldier (Dunbar) with a Native American Indian tribe. The soldier is sent to a fort but being the only one in the fort he is interested in the ways of the Indian tribe. He ends up falling in love with the clan’s ways of life and a native Indian girl “Stands With A Fist”. Although they don’t have refined tastes in dining or orchestral music with awesome violins, he starts to love their simple way of life. This makes fellow soldiers to label him as a traitor and is arrested. While being transported to prison, the Sioux clan-men ambush the convoy and free him. The film ends with Dunbar leaving with “Stands With A Fist”, so as not to put the clan in danger from the US soldier.
  • Last of The Mohicans (1992) – This film is based on the historic events during the times of the French and Native American Indians conflicts in the then British colony of New York. The film revolves around the three remaining members of the Mohican tribe namely; Chingachgook (the father), Uncas (the birth son) and Hawkeye (the adopted) son. This family is trapped between the various conflicts going on such as British and French conflict, British and Indians conflict and Indian tribes conflicts. These violent events culminate to the death of Uncas and hence making Chingachgook the last of the Mohicans.

One of the main lessons one learns from films based on the Native American Indians is the rich cultural diversity they had and the well organized social structures they lived in the pre modernization era.

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