Culture and Traditions of Native Americans

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November has always been Native Americans heritage month. This month is to celebrate rich diverse cultures, traditions and histories which acknowledge the importance of contributions made by Native Americans. In my opinion time can always be made to educate and raise awareness about the different challenges Native American’s have faced past and present. Native Americans have worked hard to conquer the respect and dignity they have now. A fun fact that I have learned while learning about Native Americans would be that 24,000 Native Americans served during WWII. One of the most remembered groups during that time was Navajo code talkers who were a special group that created an unbreakable secret code.

Each Native American nation has their own unique life ways which share a lot of characteristic’s. Many traditions are oriented in any ways toward living well and making a living on particular landscapes. One tradition that stood out to me would be “The Sunrise Dance”. It is a small ceremony ritual that celebrates a girl’s entry into women hood. The sunrise dance is about a woman who survived a flood by floating in a white shell. When the white shell women grew old, she would walk towards the sunrise to meet her herself when she was very young, she will eventually then pass on this tradition to her daughter. Participant’s faces during this celebration are painted white which is mixed with clay or corn meal and for four days it consists of singing and dancing which brings all the tribes together.

The dance called “Mountain Gods” is a ceremony of healing for all tribes. Two young boys which they call blind and lame would have to hide away in a cave whenever there was war going on because their conditions would stop them from doing so. While being away in a cave for such a long time period they would be visited by Gods who would chant and dance and let them know that since they are Gods, they could cure them from the illness they have within their bodies by taking out evilness. The ceremony isn’t always for audiences but performed to express gratitude. It would always be good to dance in thanks to the medical expedition.

A custom that surprised me was that ‘The Indian Bureau was never culturally sensitive, especially when it came to Native American celebrations. It actively discouraged or forbade ceremonial dances, feasts, and other gatherings, fearing that they might unite tribes or keep them from assimilating into white culture. Most gatherings required written permission”. (Word press, 2016) Most as you can say companies didn’t want to pay any mind to fourth of July but many Native Americans took it upon themselves and celebrate the holiday without any given permission. A formal ceremony called pot latch was an excused used by them to exchange gifts, and reach out to the poorest tribes. Many people were surprised that the Native Americans gave out many valuable items almost being left with nothing but because they felt it was good to do.

The Native Americans belief are deeply firm in the culture. They believe everything blessed from trees, plants, animals, and even people. In their mind set everything has a purpose and everything is meant to happen someway or somehow. Native spirituality is about love, respect, and honor. “Native American isn’t blood; it is what is in the heart. The love for the land. The respect for it, those who inhabit it; and the respect and acknowledgement of the spirits and the elders. That is what it is to be Indian.” (Navajo Medicine Man,2015)

Native Americans values are something they cannot depart from due to them being the foundation of their tribes. One value would be movement which is respect for nature that has firm in people’s life and deep respect for the earth. Inclusion within Native American people, life is represented by the circle. In the circle, there is room for everybody. One more value would be called the vision quest when a young native American child is dropped of very far and is left to take care of themselves for a couple of days trying to figure out their purpose of life and how to handle things.

When it comes to the Native American men and their lifestyle, they would join wars and battles, which would take a lot of time during their lives. The guardian spirit which is the teacher who gives advice and so much more had the men to leave their tribe at the age of 17 in search of the spirit. Upon returning home, the men would be ready for battle or would be sent out to hunt for his tribe and family.

Cite this paper

Culture and Traditions of Native Americans. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/culture-and-traditions-of-native-americans/

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