Dienstag, 2. Juni 2009

Values and behaviors

Traditional Native American Values and Behaviors
Personal differences: Native Americans traditionally have respected the unique individual differences among people. This includes staying out of others’ affairs and verbalizing personal thoughts or opinions only when asked. It’s a expression of respect.
Quietness. Quietness or silence is a value that serves many purposes in Indian life. Historically the cultivation of this value contributed to survival. In social situations, when they are angry or uncomfortable, many Indians remain silent.
Patience. In Native American life, the virtue of patience is based on the belief that all things solve in time.
Open work ethic. In traditional Indian life, work is always directed to a distinct purpose and is don when it needs to be done. The nonmaterialistic orientation of many Indians is one outcome
of this value. Only that which is actually needed is accumulated through work. In formal
education, a rigid schedule of work for work’s sake (busy work) needs to be avoided because it
tends to move against the grain of this traditional value. Schoolwork must be shown to have an
immediate and authentic purpose.
Mutualism(Gegenseitigkeit): As a value, attitude and behaviour, mutualism permeates everything in the traditional Indian social fabric. Mutualism promotes a sense of belonging and solidarity with group members cooperating to gain group security and consensus. In American education, the tendency has been to stress competition and work for personal gain over cooperation. The emphasis on grades and personal honours are examples. In dealing with Indian students, this tendency must be modified by incorporating cooperative activities on an equal footing with competitive activities in the learning environment.
Nonverbal orientation: Traditionally most Indians have tended to prefer listening rather than speaking. Talk must have a purpose. In Indian thought, words have a power so that when there is a reason for their expression, it is generally done carefully. When planning and presenting lessons, it is best to avoid pressing a class discussion or asking a long series of rapid-fire questions. This general characteristic explains why many Indian students feel more comfortable with lectures or demonstrations.
Seeing and listening: In earlier times, hearing, observing, and memorizing were important skills since practically all aspects of Native American culture were transferred orally. Storytelling, oratory, and experiential and observational learning were all highly developed in Native American cultures.
Time orientation: In the Indian world, things happen when they are ready to happen. Time is
relatively flexible and generally not structured into compartments as it is in modern society.
Orientation to present: Traditionally most Indians have oriented themselves to the present and the immediate tasks at hand. This orientation stems from the deep philosophical emphasis on being rather than becoming.. Given this characteristic, the learning material should have a sense of immediate relevancy for the time and place of each student.
Practicality: Indians tend to be practical minded. Many Indians have less difficulty comprehending educational materials and approaches that are concrete or experiential rather than abstract and theoretical.
Holistic orientation: Indian cultures, like most primal cultures, have a long-standing and well integrated orientation to the whole. This is readily apparent in various aspects of Indian cultures, ranging from healing to social organization. Presenting educational material from a holistic perspective is an essential and natural strategy for teaching Indian people,
Spirituality: Religious thought and action are integrated into every aspect of the sociocultural fabric of traditional Native American life. Spirituality is considered a natural component of everything.
Caution: The tendency toward caution in unfamiliar personal encounters and situations has given rise to the stereotypical portrayal of the stoic Indian. This characteristic is closely related to the placidity and quiet behaviour of many Indian people. In many cases, such caution results from a basic fear regarding how their thoughts and behaviour will be accepted by others with whom they are unfamiliar or in a new situation with which they have no experience. Educators should make every effort to alleviate these fears and show that students’ subjective orientations are accepted by the teacher.
Tribes in this region: Navajo, Shoshoni, Nez Perce, Pomo, Apache, Pueblo, Zuni, Paiute, Chumash, Hopi…



Navajo made their homes of wooden poles, tree bark, and mud. They called their homes hogans. The door of the hogans always pointed to the east because the sun rises in the east. The hogans usually had only one room and no windows.
One type of hogan was four-sided, and another type was round and dome-shaped. The Navajo usually had one hogan in the desert and one hogan in the mountains because they needed to make sure they could find food and water and also grazing land for their sheep.

Foods and Clothing:
The earliest type of clothing for the Navajo probably was a simple skirt made from the skins of deer, antelope, and buffalo. Robes were worn for protection against the weather. The people also wore moccasins on their feet.
As time went on, they made more fancy clothing from buckskin. Buckskin is leather made from animal skin. Women began to wear buckskin shirts and skirts. Men wore a buckskin loincloth that hung down to the knees in front and to the ankles in the back. In the summer, the men did not wear a top.
In the winter, they wore long sleeve buckskin shirts. Navajo clothing styles were influenced by the Pueblo Indians of the Southwest. The women began to wear woolen dresses and high buckskin leggings. Many men wore Pueblo style pants. Today, the modern Navajo wear western style clothing. Corn was the most important crop. Men raised the corn. Women ground it into flour for bread. The Navajo probably learned how to farm from the Pueblo Indians. The Pueblo Indians were good farmers.
The Spanish brought sheep and horses with them from Europe in the 1600s. In time, the sheep herd became very important to the Navajos. Sheep provided meat for food and wool for clothing.

Singing had a special meaning for Navajos. Each song or chant was a prayer to the Holy People, or supernatural beings that the Navajo believe watch over life. Some of the Holy People were named Talking God, Changing Woman, Bear, Ant, and Corn People.
The Navajo believe that everything in the universe had a purpose. The Navajo believed in good and evil. Evil and danger happen when the normal balance of the universe was disturbed. To restore balance, a medicine man, or singer, performed a "sing" or ceremony. The medicine man sings in ceremonies to cure the sick or to protect their families, homes, crops, and herds.
Some ceremonies may last several nights. If the Holy People are happy with the ceremonies, they will restore the balance between good and evil. Some of the more important Navajo ceremonies are called "Blessingways." They provide a blessing for a long and happy life. The Blessingway ceremony was performed to protect livestock, to bless a new marriage, to help a woman in childbirth, to protect a warrior from his enemies, and to do many other things.
When a ceremony was performed to help cure sickness, a sandpainting was made on the floor of a hogan. A sandpainting is a picture formed from colored powder. Sometime during the ceremony the sick person sits on the painting to receive power from the Holy People. When the ceremony ends, the painting is rubbed away.

Navajo were very skilled at making crafts. They were known for their skill in weaving and silversmithing. The Navajo Indians learned how to weave from the Pueblo Indians. Navajo women began weaving in the late 17th century. Navajo used a loom made of wood to weave blankets and rugs. The wool is often dyed to make different colors. The Navajo people learned how to make silver from the Pueblo Indians. They made many types of jewelry, bracelets, rings, earrings, belts, necklaces.

Family Life:
Navajo didn't live in towns. They lived in family groups. Each family lived near their corn fields. The men hunted deer, and the women took care of the sheep and corn. Navajo family members lived near each other.
When a Navajo man married, he went to his wife's home to help his wife's family. Women provide the structure for Navajo society. The women own the property. The woman's property is passed down through her daughters.

This area covers the middle of the United States. Some other Indian tribes that shared this region with the Sioux were the Arapaho, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Cree, Mandan, and Pawnee. Some were friends of the Sioux, like the Cheyenne, and some were enemies, like the Pawnee. These tribes hunted over a large land area following buffalo herds. The life of these Indians on the plains depended completely on the buffalo.
The Great Plains area was very important to these tribes. Everything needed to survive was here, food, shelter and water from the rivers. The Great Plains also gave plenty of space for these tribes to move around and find new animals to hunt, and give them other kinds of foods. The plains had many animals such as the buffalo, foxes, wolves, coyotes, rabbits, and many more. In the hills, the Indians could find deer, bears and antelope.
Before the horse was introduced by the Europeans, the only working animal these tribes had was the dog. The dog pulled the travois and the Indians walked. When the horses came, the Indians could now travel and cover more land.
The location of Indian camps depended on the buffalo herd. Wherever the buffalo went the Indians would follow as long as there was enough food.
Along the major rivers, a few tribes grew corn, squash, and beans. Buffalo hides were used to make clothing, tepees, and storage containers.


The men would go hunting. The men would take the animal skins to the women, and the women would sew it together. They would get three poles and stick them into the ground. They would put the hide over the poles and tie them. Then they would decorate the tepee. The last touches weren't so important.

Family Life:
The Sioux had customs that taught them how they should behave. Not all men were warriors. Each man had a special job in the tribe. One man could be a hunter, another one could be a camp comedian and he told funny stories, another could be a recorder of history by painting on buffalo hides. The women took care of the camp. They would cook the food, find wood, collect vegetables, and make the clothes.
The men usually had one wife, but sometimes they had more than one wife. If a man had more than one wife, they got to share the housework. When the Sioux tribe was in marrying season, the men would ask about five women to marry them. Two or three would say yes. When they married, they made a new home. The men would find a buffalo and kill it. They would take the hide to the women, and the women would sew the tepee.
The children were important because they were the future. The Indian children weren't given names when they were born. They were given nicknames. Some won their names by doing a brave act. The adults never hit the children. Punishment would be to embarrass them in front of the tribe, be scolded or be given stern looks.

Foods and Clothing:
The life on the plains was very hard. The Sioux were very brave warriors. They depended almost entirely on hunting for their survival. The buffalo were part of their life. The buffalo was believed to have great powers, and by hunting it, the Indian could get some of its powers. It was a dangerous job to catch a buffalo. Sometimes, after they killed a buffalo, they ate the buffalo raw.
Not a single part of the buffalo was wasted after it was killed. The buffalo was used for everything including meat, clothing, tools, and objects for ceremonies. The Sioux moved from place to place hunting large game and added to their diet wild fruits, vegetables, and other kinds of food through trade. They also fished and traded fish for pelts.
The Sioux had jackets and pants made out of buffalo skins. Then when it got colder, they wore very thick gowns to keep them warm. They used the animal skins to make jackets and decorated the jackets.

Religion was part of everyday life for the Sioux. The Sioux believed that everything was controlled by the Wakan Taka, or Great Spirit, and that everything had a spirit. It was the Great Spirit that let them live on his land. Each tribe had one medicine man who could see into the future and heal wounds.
Religious festivals took place through the whole year. They celebrated by dancing and chanting to a certain spirit. They also believed that dreams and visions was a way to talk with the spirits.
In Sioux Indian tales, Spider or Iktomi was a trickster who gets what he wants by using mischief. Spider was once a man but when he started in his mischievous behavior, he fell into evil ways. There are many stories about Iktomi or Spider.
Arts and Crafts:
The Sioux were great artists. They could make beautiful things with wood. They would paint the wood. They also made art on their clothes. They would hang teeth on their clothes. They also put beads on the jackets they wore.

This area is the northeastern part of the United States, also known as the Woodlands. This area is in the rich and beautiful lands of northern New York . This land is fertile, thick and green with different types of trees such as oak, fir and mapple. Today, this is the area we know that surrounds Lake Ontario, Eerie, Huron, Michigan, Superior, the five finger lakes, and the Saint Lawrence River. These lakes and rivers had plenty of fish. For these tribes, hunting and fishing were important around the freshwater lakes and along the Atlantic coast. They also farmed corn, squash, and beans when the growing season was long enough. Because animal and plant life was plentiful, big groups could live together.
Trees also offered a good source of food for these Indians. The sap from sugar maple trees was made into maple syrup and sugar. There were many fruit trees like apple and peaches.
The Indians in this area traveled by walking over land, or they could canoe down the lakes, rivers or streams.
The woods offered different kinds of game. It was a great location. Other tribes that lived around the Iroquois were the Algonquian, Delaware, Tuscarora, Mohican, and Penobscot. The Seneca and the Mohawk tribes were the most fierce in the Iroquois Nation.


The Iroquois lived in houses called longhouses. The size of a typical longhouse ranged from 50 to 150 feet in length and 18 to 25 feet in both width and height. The frame of the longhouse was made out of wood The longhouse had two doors, one on each end, and it had no windows. The roof had several small holes that allowed smoke from the inside to escape to the outside. Around the longhouse were sharp, staked fences that covered the longhouse.

Family life:
Iroquois women controlled the longhouse. The women lived their whole life in the longhouse in which they were born. The leaders of the longhouse were the elder women. The women were in charge of raising the children and harvesting the crops. Iroquois men left their longhouse that they grew up in when they got married. Then, they lived in their wives' longhouses. The men brought only a few items such as weapons and clothing into their wives' longhouses. The men spent much of their time trading, hunting, and in war. The children learned a lot from their parents. The girls helped their mothers with household chores and with harvesting the crops. The boys' uncles taught them how to hunt and play games that would prepare them for manhood.

Foods and Clothing:
The Iroquois got most of their food from the forest. They ate almost all animals that lived in the forest. For example, the Iroquois hunted deer, bear, duck, and turkey. They also ate even turtles, frogs, and bird eggs. The Iroquois did not eat these foods raw. They cooked everything they captured. They also ate vegetables. Corn was most commonly eaten. They mixed the corn with such things as beans, berries, or nuts. Other vegetables like green plants and mushrooms were also eaten. The Iroquois loved maple sugar. In fact, maple sugar was mixed in all sorts of foods such as cakes and candies.
The Iroquois made their clothing out of deer skin. The men wore short skirts and a breech cloth. The women wore longer skirts. Both men and women wore moccasins. During the winter, the men wore pants that came up to their hips and shirts that went down to their knees. The women also wore pants and a full dress that covered most of their pants. They used porcupine quill to decorate their clothing. During war time, the warriors shaved their hair into a thin strip. They wore a deer tail roach, that had a couple of eagle feathers attached to it on their thin strip of hair. Also, the men wore scalp caps that were made out of silver.

The Iroquois believed that everything on the earth and in the sky had its own spirit. There were both good and evil spirits. Ha-wa-ne-yu, the good spirit that lived in a far off beautiful place in the sky, protected and cared for the Iroquois. The people worshipped, thanked, and obeyed the good spirit because they wanted to reach the wonderful place the spirit lived in after they died. The evil spirit was an Iroquois' twin brother. This evil spirit made all the bad things on the earth. The evil spirit had several bad spirits that supported him. For example, the flying head, a bad spirit that caused disease and lived in the forest, supported the main evil spirit. Also, members of the Iroquois Husk Face Society wore masks that looked like the spirits who introduced farming to the people.

Some of the tribes that lived in this region included the Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee. The Cherokees did battle mostly with the Creeks; they fought for hunting ground. The native people in this area were skilled farmers, planting year round in the rich valleys.


Family life:
The Cherokee had some rules in order to get married. One had to marry someone else from another clan. The tribe was separated into seven clans. A clan is a large group of family. Then, one had to ask a family member if it was a good decision. When the choice was made, in the morning the chief would put two roots on his two palms. Then, the chief would recite a prayer, and then if the two roots moved at the same time, it meant good luck. If only one moved, it meant bad luck.

The Cherokee lived in two different kinds of houses. In winter the cherokee built a round cone shape house, the round part of the house was made out of wood was covered with clay The cone shaped roof was made out of tree bark and long grass. The summer house was rectangular with a rectangular roof. The house was made with long sticks and tree bark.


The Cherokee believed that they were the principal people. Long ago, they thought the world was only water. A piece of land came out of the water. It was very crowded on the piece of land. The water beetle hopped into the water and brought back some mud. He spit it out and then amazingly the little piece of mud started growing. The animals waited till it dried. When it dried, the animals went into the new world. But then people appeared and those persons were the "Ani Yun Wiya", which means principal people. The Cherokee also belived that if they wore animal skins, they would receive the skills of those animals. The Cherokee also believed that everything in nature had a spirit. They often prayed to the spirits for good health and strength.

Foods and clothing:
The Cherokees grew corn, squash, and beans. The most important food was corn. When it was ripe it was like the beginning of a new year. The Cherokees used arrows, blow guns, and spears to hunt and fish. The Cherokee hunted rabbits, deer, fox, elk and bear. The most important animal was deer. They built canoes by scraping and burning the inside of a log. The Cherokee men wore a deer skin breech cloth which was tied with a belt. Women wore deer skin tops, skirts, and moccasins.
Arts and Crafts:
Cherokee crafts were very important in everyday life. The baskets that were made were used to hold roots and berries as well as the vegetables grown in the fields. Their clay pots were used to hold water and cook the food.
The Cherokee used a lot of clay in their crafts. The clay was dug from the ground and baked in the fire. They used sticks and stones to decorate their pots with designs. To make their baskets they used different kinds of grasses, vines, and other plant fibers including corn husks. To give colour to these baskets the Cherokee got their colours from the juices of nuts, roots, and berries. The Cherokees also carved beautiful pipes for their ceremonies.
The Cherokee also made many kinds of masks and rattles carved from buckeye and other kinds of wood. They also used these masks, the scary ones, to make fun of their enemies. These were called booger masks. The rattles were used to scare an evil spirit or the noise was used to get the attention of a good spirit. They were sometimes made of turtle shells filled with corn kernels. Sometimes they were made of gourds, small pumpkins, and squashes.

Freitag, 29. Mai 2009

History of Native Americans

America is known as the melting pot because it has always been a nation composed by immigrants of all races. The first humans to inhabit the North American continent were migrants from northeast Asia and the Pacific Islands who established settlements in North America as early as 8000 BC and possibly much earlier. These early immigrants survived the harsh times and difficult American climate as well as the wilderness on primitive basic instincts. The immigrants where mainly hunters and gatherers who had little control over their environment and food supply. They brought with them their own spiritual beliefs and ideas. To protect themselves from the cold in winter, most tribes constructed snug homes and wore the furs of their prey on their backs.
But not all of the early settlers where of Asiatic origin. The Norse Vikings explored the North American mainland in the 10th and 11th centuries and settled native Indian people, the Indians were not pleased by their stay. The Indians were unsuccessful in driving the Norse out of the land. It was the Norse who destroyed their own colony after a series of quarrels amongst themselves and sailed back to their homeland.
As the climate conditions changed in America, people adapted to the new, warmer conditions and were motivated to spread south of the region. While some tribes lived well on the hunting and gathering, fishing and farming, other settlers began to cultivate their own grains and plants and farm their own animals.
From the arrival of Christopher Columbus (1492) to the present day, the Native Americans have been misunderstood and treated like beasts. Beginning in the 16th century, many of the European settlers wanted the land that the natives called their homes, and because they wouldn’t give up without a fight, Europeans found other ways to deprive them of it. Diseases such as small pox, measles and cholera were deliberate acts of germ warfare and along with war, imprisonment, malnutrition, enslavement and inhumane behaviour of the white man, close to 99% of first nations people were wiped out. The U.S. government continually made new treaties with the native people. But there were often loopholes and the treaties were broken, taking more land away from the people who first lived on it.
In 1864, the government forced about five hundred Cheyenne into a barren territory near Denver called the Sand Creek Reserve. The reservation consisted mostly of women, children and the elderly. But on November 29, Colonel John M. Chivington and approximately 700 troops attacked the defenceless tribe. As the troops drove the Cheyenne out of the camps, some of the Native Americans were able to escape. Others, mostly women and children were shot at close range with high- powered guns.
An example is the Wounded Knee Massacre, which is known as the last of the Indian wars. It all started in late 1890, the Sioux tribe was suffering tremendously from loss of people and cattle to disease. To stop white settlers encountering Native Americans, the Sioux thought that they would have to perform a ritual called the Ghost Dance. The U.S. government feared that the Ghost Dance was actually a war dance that would eventually lead to mass deadly riots. In an attempt to stop this revolution, 40 Policemen were sent to arrest Sitting Bull, the leader of the Sioux, but ended up putting 350 Sioux into a camp in South Dakota called Wounded Knee.
There the Native Americans were forced to drop all their weapons, but there was one Sioux who disobeyed orders and fired his gun. This disobedience caused the soldiers to fire back and kill about 300 of the 350 Sioux, including some children.
Another unjust slaughter of Native Americans was the Trail of Tears. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which provided funds for the forced relocation of all Native Americans east of the Mississippi river to somewhere west. In the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole tribes were forced into designated points somewhere within their territory.
Once everyone was rounded up into these certain points, men, women, children and the elderly were forced by U.S. soldiers to march at gunpoint for hundreds of miles. The government provided the Native Americans with insufficient amounts of food, shelter or medical support. Appalling numbers of Native Americans died on these journeys.
As well as unjust slaughter, the U.S. government also unjustly enslaved the Native Americans. Americans refused to accept and understand the Native American culture. The American and Native American ways of life are very different from one- another. This difference in cultures caused almost 300 years of violent conflicts.