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.

Tools Then and Now

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Tools Then and Now

Technology has made leaps and bounds in the world of computers over just the last ten years. But computers and other electronics are not the only place where major technological improvements have led to better, faster or stronger machines. If you want a quick, clear example of this, just look to tools, along with power tools.

Today we have things like drills that work as screwdrivers and take all the work out of fastening one thing to another. We have machines that roll around on floors and sweep them for us, even. But what about the tools and technology of the past; how does it stand up today?

Well, sometimes the simplest solutions to a problem are really the best. Some old, literally ancient tools, are still in use today. They may have changed a little over the last several hundred or even thousand years, but they are essentially the same thing. The hammer is a good example of this.

simple-toolsA bar of some length with a weighted end crafted for the purpose of pounding other objects is one of the simplest tools mankind has in its repertoire, but it always has and probably always will be one of the most useful. Another good example is the wheel – these are things which are pretty much impossible to improve.

There are certainly tools today which are better than anything even remotely similar from the past though. You really have to hand it to people, always innovating and coming up with new ways for machines or tools to do their work for them. While it isn’t exactly mind-blowing, have a look if you will at the common pole saw.

This is basically a saw attached to a long pole to increase the user’s reach and allow him or her to saw through something at a greater distance. It’s perfect for chopping branches from trees without risking your safety by climbing up a ladder.

Just thinking about it, it’s hard to imagine how many people may have been injured or even killed in a situation similar to the one outlined above. Thankfully we have pole saws so people don’t need to go risking life and limb just to clear some branches before they can become a serious nuisance.

Unfettered growth could lead to issues like branching busting through windows, or touching power lines and giving the electricity a way to the ground, which is almost guaranteed to cause a fire. So that pole saw really is useful.

Looking at tools from the past and present, there are some improvements which have been made, that’s a fact. There are also a handful of tools which will probably never be improved, simply because they are more or less perfect as they are.

In either case, necessity is what pushed people to come up with new designs and items to help them tackle difficult problems and projects. Therefore, if you want to try and guess about what tools might appear in the future, just look at what people believe is necessary today and are yet unable to do. Those gaps will be filled by the right tools sooner or later.

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.

Native American Leaders and Pioneers

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Native American Leaders and Pioneers

It took for more than a thousand years after the birth of Christ for the human civilization to notice two huge continents lying on the face of earth, where today rests one of the most powerful nations of the world. Even after being discovered, Columbus mistook it for some other country. But who dwelled in these no man’s lands for all those thousand years before the renaissance driven scientific rational minds mingled their pointy noses and claimed these large continents?

The Native Americans are those whose pre-Columbian ancestors were local to the lands within the boundaries of United States. Here you are brought a list that features Native American leaders and pioneers who have made their mark in the pages of history. Let us delve into them in brief:

Sitting Bull

A Hunkpapa Lakota medicine man and a holy man, Sitting Bull is famous both in American and Native American history mostly for his victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn against Custer.

Sacajawea

Sacajawea is famous for accompanying William Clark and Meriwether Lewis during their Discovery of the Western United States in the year 1806. Born in 1788 in a Shoshone tribe of “Salmon eater”, she assisted the two gentlemen on their quest as a return of the favor of Lewis’ assistance in the birth of Jean Baptiste Cherbonneau in February of 1805. Her face can now be witnessed in the dollar coin.

Red Cloud

Red Cloud was one of the most capable warriors from the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribesman ever faced by the US military. This battle we are talking of was for the rights to the area known as Powder River Country in Northern Wyoming and Southern Montana. They fought the army of the States with weapons that were indigenous. For instance crossbows, which came very handy to them and, one can learn more about them at http://arbalistzone.com/. Eventually, he led his people during their item of reservation.

Will Rogers

Will Rogers was a man with many hats. He was known as an actor, a Vaudevillian, a philanthropist, a social commentator, a comedian and a presidential candidate too. Born to a well respected Native American Territory family he learnt horse riding and used lasso so well that he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. He made several movies both during the silent ear as well as in the age of the talkies. He was a world famous figure of huge fame.

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte

An Omaha Indian doctor and reformer, Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte is widely acknowledged as the first female Native American physician in the United States. She all through her life campaigned for public health and for the betterment of her tribe, from which she proudly belonged.

Coming from numerous distinct bands, tribes and ethnic groups they are termed differently in different regions but one thing that that is indifferent is the remarkable men and women they have produced, who were pioneers in different fields.

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.

Salvaging Pieces of the Past

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Salvaging Pieces of the Past

There are few things I enjoy more than getting out into the field and trying to track down old artifacts myself. It’s one of the most rewarding activities I can think of, and not just because of the little trinkets and paraphernalia I sometimes find. Some people say that taking the road less traveled will lead a person to more interesting travels. While that might be true for some, I contest that there are still plenty of adventures to be had where people have already come and gone. Tracking down bits of the past and preserving them is something any historian would enjoy, I imagine.

It’s not at all difficult to track down maps of the paths walked by various tribes that lives throughout North America. The real difficulty is finding things in these same places which have already been excavated, examined and exploited by others who share my interest for digging up artifacts. To be fair though, even places which have already been presumably picked clean may yield some little morsels now and then. Arrowheads of flint and various stone don’t get too many people excited, but I still thrill at every one that I find. Who knows what beast or man each might have been used against?

Most of the good pieces have already been found and dragged away to various museums and historical societies around the world already. But I do still find bits of pottery and tools on occasion, more than enough to keep me eager to go out searching again. For me, the most difficult part of it all is preserving the rare gems that I’m actually able to find. Truly fine, gentle tools are needed to clean some specimens. I prefer to use items such as these to brush away dirt and grit from the artifacts I find. Though they are used for a number of other purposes, I can easily attach a brush head and use them for cleaning.

Generally, I find it is better to use softer bristles which require more brushing rather than stiffer bristles which can scratch up or damage the things I find. If the item recovered happens to be made from stone or some other material which won’t be destroyed by water, I also try to wash the item while cleaning it to make the dirt looser and easier to remove. In my experience, as long as you aren’t dealing with paper or wooden goods, this is a safe practice.

Wouldn’t it be quite frustrating to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles from home, hoping to find something that really connects you to the past, only to find the thing and inadvertently destroy it through reckless care? This has happened to much better people than me I am afraid. Not to say I’m any professional archaeologist or anything like that – I just run into some of the same issues they do since we all happen to enjoy hanging around and investigating similar places. With that said, guides focused on that topic might also be helpful to you when looking for native artifacts.

Native Americans And Today’s Sport

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Native Americans And Today’s Sport

Native Americans had many sporting activities. Many of them were the precursor of today’s sports. The equipment that was used was hand-made from natural materials. Common games and sports were a source of entertainment, but also a way of trial of strength. In this way, they maintain fitness and sharpening the senses to survive in conditions that are not tame as today. Some of these traditional Native American sports and games are played today, while others have evolved in similar sports.

Lacrosse is a sport that takes its origin from the Native Americans. For the game, you need a team of players. Equipment includes ball and a stick with a net that serves to catch the ball. The aim of the game is to hit the opponent’s goal. Today, this equipment is improved, and the players wear helmets and protective gear. In the Native Indians, this sport was also called stickball.

Surfing is another sport that derives from the Native Americans who lived in Hawaii. There are a lot of data which claim that riding on the waves is part of their roots and traditions. Boards for surfing was made of hard wood. Today, there are boards for surfing on the waves that are made of polyurethane. This sport had its version which was adapted to the land. These are Holua sliding, specially designed sleds on which the athletes ride down the hill. The same is true today. Where water is not available, it is possible to ride long boards. These boards are similar to those boards for surfing, but they have wheels so that they can move along hard surfaces. In addition to the long boards, there are also skateboards. In many reservations, this is a favorite hobby of young American Indians, and they are often hosts of this kind competitions.

Shinny is a sport of Native Americans, which is a forerunner of today’s hockey, regardless of whether we talk about the one on the ice or the one on the grass. As well as Lacrosse, it is a team sport which includes use of a stick and ball. Sticks were often decorated and curved at the bottom. As with today’s hockey, the purpose of the game was to put the ball in the opponent’s goal using a stick.

native-american-archerArchery is not an invention of Native American Indians, but it is something that we often associate with the stories and myths about them. The bow and arrow had a role in hunting and warfare. Today, hunting with such weapons is obsolete. The weapon was modernized, and bow and arrow have been replaced with a crossbow and used for sporting activities.

We can say that a lot of today’s sports and games were inspired by sports and games of Native Americans. They were physically active, and these games have great significance in the development of their strength and skills. The harmony of body and spirit was always very important in the native American Indians. Many of these games also had a spiritual significance.

Active Life Of Native Americans – Why We Should Look Up To Them?

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Active Life Of Native Americans – Why We Should Look Up To Them?

When we talk about ancient Native Americans, few of us have in mind the image of an obese person sitting and looking at one point, as we today look at the screen. Obesity was not peculiar to them. They were physically fit, strong, powerful. Physical activity and readiness were of great importance. Although we cannot claim that their life expectancy was long, it is certain that they lived an active and healthy lifestyle, completely opposite the life they live today. We all know how much bad consequences can bring sedentary behavior. What can we learn from the ancient Native Americans when it comes to an active life? These are some advantages related to their lifestyles.

Hunting, fishing and movement through nature were an integral part of their lives. In this way, they have collected food. This means a lot of running, horseback riding, shooting arrows, power, skills, coping with unexpected situations. For me, their spiritual connection with nature it is fascinating. I love to spend time in nature. However, many of us rarely do it and we take natural beauty for granted, without the slightest bit of spirituality and connection.

Games, sports, and wrestling were, for Native Americans, something normal and made by default. It was not a question for consideration. Mutual conflicts, competitions and trial of strength were part of their lives. This made them train themselves to be better, stronger and to prove themselves in front of a tribe. It is similar today, but I think that motives are more narcissistic than competitive. Many of these games are played today, or they are developed in a more modern form.

Preparing of firewood, making tents, weapons or tools has required heavy lifting and strength. Ancient Native Americans were moving stones and wood to secure heating, weapons, tools or materials for a tent. In this way, today we lift weights in the gym. Lifting weights is something that obviously plays an important role in building muscle mass and strength. Today, maybe you are not able to escape in nature every day to lift the natural weights, but you can get   and practice lifting at your home.

Natural food and the cultivation meant physical activity related to processing and digging the ground, as well as picking of ripe fruits. Physical activity is not an only advantage when it comes to food cultivation. This food was natural, healthier, without artificial additives, preservatives, or colors as most of today’s purchasing food.

Active life today has become a subject of stories, writing and recommendation rather than real action. Least of all, it is something that we do by default. We spend more time sitting instead of moving. We’re going to “hunt” for food full of additives to the nearest shops, and children tap with their fingers on the keyboard or touch screen instead of running, being outdoors and active. Bad habits, like good ones, are acquired from childhood. Unfortunately, only when we become aware of a problem, we look for a solution. And it is often in the simple way of life.

Woodworking Tools used by Native Americans

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Woodworking Tools used by Native Americans

The various traditional woodworks used by Native Americans are a subject of intense interest to me and many other cultural enthusiasts. Of the various tribes, those who inhabited the Northwest coast exhibit spectacular woodworking trends.

The Northwest coast is home to several Indian nations that flourished due to the river resources and utilization of seacoast. This region stretches from Tlingit homelands situated in Alaska to Tolowa Homelands present in northern part of California.  All the Native American people who have lived along this coast have developed an advanced woodworking tradition that includes canoes, houses, totem poles, household utensils, and bent boxes.

Cedar is the most important tree for the people here. The tree has diverse uses, and it is linked to various aspects of Native American culture in this region. The tree catered to various necessities of life of the people. Before the Europeans invaded, the people in this region inhabited in multifamily residing large houses that were built on beam frame and posts. The trees were arranged in a line all facing water.

Adze for woodworking

Adze for woodworkingAdze is one of the most important tools used in woodworking. The people in the Northwest coastal region created several different models of adzes. For instance, the elbow adze has the blade inserted into long wooden handle.  The straight adze has a blade inserted into the haft of an antler. Then there are the D and U adzes. The blades made of jade used in chisels and adzes came from the Native Americans present in the interior parts. These were then traded to the people inhabiting the coastal region. To increase the hardness the blades were heat-treated.

Mauls and stone hammers

Nowadays woodworking has become easier with many modernized and electric tools such as the beltsanders, electric saws and many others. But the Native Americans had to use manual force in all stages from splitting wood to finishing it to perfection. For splitting cedar wood into planks that can be used for making boxes or building houses, initially a small cut was made for inserting wedges made of antler and bone. The wedge was then pounded using a maul. Various grades of wedges were used to split the log into planks. Pile driver was used for driving wooden posts to the ground. Hammers were of two basic types namely, hand maul where the grip or handle was carved directly into stone, and stone hammer, which comes with a wooden handle.

Kerfed boxes

These are unique boxes made of wood. The box sides are created by scoring a single board and bending it for forming the sides. The box is then fitted with just one side seam, which is sewn with spruce root. The bottom part of the box is also fitted carefully and sewn together. The boxes are mostly waterproof and some were even used for cooking. Water is filled in the boxes and is brought to boil by throwing hot stones into the water.

Stone celts, which appear, as modern day steel axe were also one of the woodworking tools used.  These tools were used by several generations of Native Americans to work on wood and create articles of immense day-to-day use, and for making artistic works too.

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