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.

Native American Indian People

Every individual portrays a different role on the society; it varies from cultures, religions and tribes. Distinguish the characteristics of its people.

Men >generally, a newborn boy would be named after an elder or ancestor of the tribe. He will grow with a goal to be tough and brave. When he is in the right age, he will be kept farther and away from the girls as they would be trained for war and horsemanship, as he develop his skills he would go on his first hunt. At the age of seventeen, he would leave his village to search for his guardian spirit in preparation to join the tribe warriors. In addition, men used to hunt buffalo for the village. Buffalo symbolizes as spirit blessing, which gives what they need to survive.

Women >a tribe would not be able to survive without them, they should keep their reputation as a good housekeeper, they played an important role to gather all goods and maintain their teepee. Skinning and drying buffalo is one of their responsibilities that include cooking and serving food, raising their children is one of their main tasks too. However, women do have time for fun; they think that playing game called “shinny” was giving them more fun.

Children > they normally grew up with their parents care, a baby was not supposed to cry. Their mother gave their best to guide their children; they nurture them by teaching their traditional values. Normally, children played, boys would ride toy horses while girls taught to make small version of teepee. When they are mature, they started taking responsibilities from their tribes.

Shamans>Mostly, a tribe had “Shamans” – those were religious people who had contacts with spirit, often called as medicine men which treated sick people in a family. One of their processes was and used broken bones and plants to cure certain diseases.

What is their Lifestyle?

Indians live in different ways and cultures. The indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial. Native American Indians were commonly:

  • Focus on the important things in life like, getting food, making clothes, taming animals and building houses.
  • Some Indians tribe parents chose husbands and wives for their children which they will allow to get married in an early age
  • Typically, Indians clothes are made from animal skins and furs, also include birds feather
  • Their spiritual belief varies depending from their culture most often, they believe in a mysterious force in nature and in spirits that were higher than human being and influenced their lives
  • Each tribe lived in its own area which typically has a leader or they called it chief
  • They had different types of home as they lived in different climate. Some made big houses for their families to stay together and others have small quarters for those few people lived
  • Indians usually created beautiful pottery, making basket and wove clothes into blankets and rugs
  • Bow and arrow was the most common weapon of the Indians, and they often fought against other tribes. When they defeated their enemy , most often they took his scalp as a prize

Today, there are many Indians in the United States and even more on other part of the America. Some of them are trying to adjust the civilization; they still speak more than 100 different languages. On some areas, there are Indians who manage to recognize the standard of living, and others have gained education. However, in general, Indians are proud of their tradition and heritage and some of them resist or allowing them to be submerges by white civilization. The relationship between the American Indians and the USA is not as omnipresent and publicly expressed as in the past, maybe because of the Native American resistance in the past century wherein its traces are still there as time goes by.


America Before Europeans