The Native American Culture
By Blake Finken, Vijitha Kantety, Afifah Mazhar, and Grant Reese
Native Americans are people that used and are still using the land to live off of and survive. Native Americans use the land for eating, hunting, living, and performing ancient ceremonies and tribal customs, also building shelter . The Native American Culture consist of many different things from tribal clothing, to ceremonies to ways of defence and education for their children. The Native Americans have been around for along time even before the Pilgrims came to North America. One thing for sure about Native Americans is that they are very environmentally friendly because of how they live off of the land and they want to preserve it for many future generations.
The Native Americans music was very sentimental and showed their emotions and how their culture worked. For the Native American, song is traditionally the chief means of communicating with the supernatural powers, and music is seldom performed for its own sake. Definite results, such as the bringing of rain, success in battle, or the curing of the sick, are expected from music. There are three classes of songs traditional songs, handed down from generation to generation; ceremonial and medicine songs, supposed to be received in dreams; and modern songs, showing the influence of European culture.
Native American art is also very sentimental and shows their culture and how they express themselves. Just like music plays an important role in Native American culture, art has a very special place as well. The use of art has been used as a form of expression in the Native American way of life for hundreds, even thousands of years. Most art was created as a symbol, such as a bear, walrus, eagle, or people. The materials to make this artwork varied from rocks, feathers, cloth, clay, and fabric.
1. Maid of the Mist
One of the main characteristics of the Native American culture is their ceremonies, examples of this is shown in the folk tale "maid of the mist". One example of how ceremonies are an important part of Native American culture is when the folk tale says, "singing a death sing softly to herself",(Maid 1). This shows that ceremonies are important to them because they take the time to specify that she was singing a death song. By saying this they are showing how because she was singing the death song she was about to die. Another example of this is when the story says, " Heno, the god of thunder who lived in the falls",(Maid 1). This shows that ceremonies are important to them because it shows how the gods in their culture were very detailed and had specific areas in which they lived. This shows importance because if their gods were not ceremonially important then they would not have taken the time to give them places and areas in which they lived. In this last example the story says, "To this day, an echo of the Heno's voice can be heard in the thunder of the mighty waters of Niagara Falls.",(Maid 1). Again this shows how ceremonies are an important part of Native American culture because it describes how their ceremonial god makes the waters of the niagara falls roar. This shows that it is important to the. Because if the ceremonies hadn't been important then they would have wrote a story describing them. Although Native Americans have many things they value such as family and nature the most important would most probably be their cultures/religions.
2. The Hero Twins
The Native American culture has many characteristics that are very interesting, like their environment. The Native Americans combine their environment with their names and sometimes their ceremonies. They show an example of the environment when the folk tale says "The female rain, which falls gently and steadily," (Hero 1). This quote from the story shows how they are very in-touch with the environment around them. It also tells how they combine rain with human like objects. This quote is similar than the last in the story when it says "The male rain, which strikes hard on the Earth," (Hero 1). This quote is much like the last but shows the two different types of rain and the different characteristics. It shows that they compare the two types of rain to the two genders. This quote comes from the end of the story and states "Over there the flowers are coming. Here the young corn is growing," (Hero 1). This says that their land grows diverse plants and food. It could also symbolize the elderly people in the tribe, the flowers, and the new and young people in the tribe, the young corn. "The Hero Twins" is a story of Native American environment but also a story of the parts of their ceremonial tribe.
3. The Never Ending Bear Hunt
Many people associate Native Americans with legends, tales, and deep life lessons having to do with the environment. Environment is best defined in the Native American culture as natural occurrences in their daily lives. They often tried to make sense of why things were what they were, and create stories of how things came to be. In the short story, “The Never Ending Bear Hunt”, the Native American tribes made sense of how bears hibernate and appear in the spring after disappearing for so long. “The Mimac Indians of Nova Scotia told a story to fit the changing look of the starry sky,” (Bear 1). In this quote, it is quite clearly stated that the tribe creating a story to fit a natural occurrence, the environment. The Native Americans happened to study the stars quite often. They used the sun, the moon, and all the stars to guide their journeys. Many Native Americans were fascinated by the four stars we call the bowl of the Big Dipper. To them, these four stars looked like a four-footed animal, with a star for its head, its tail, its front right paw and it back right paw. Since this animal was sometimes down on all four paws, and sometimes standing up on two, many ancient people decided these four stars must be a bear. They also noticed that the stars we call the Corona Borealis looked liked The Bear’s den. And they also saw 7 stars following The Bear. The Micmac decided that these seven stars were the seven birds hunting The Bear. “A new star bear will come out of the den to search for berries in the sky and Chickadee will begin the hunt,” (Bear 2). In this quote the tribes are attempting to explain that bears hibernate and disappear in the winter because the birds win the hunt every year. For the natives, their entire lives revolve around the environment. They wrote many things to help make sense of what things are. As decades and centuries passed by, the legends of such stories are still told within tribes, areas, communities, and ethnic group. “The Never Ending Bear Hunt” happens to be a legend among many, explaining the changes in the night sky. “ When spring awakens the sleeping earth, the den will reappear.” (Bear 2) In this quote, it is visible that the author of this legend is showing a way in which the seasonal changes due to the stars affect life on Earth. In conclusion, all Native American tribes are tied together with one thing they all have in common: Their love and respect for the environment.
4. Vampire Hermit
One characteristic that is special and helpful to the Native American Culture is the Environment. One Example of this is “ There was good hunting in this place”, (Hermit 1). This quote shows that the Native Americans in this story use the environment to eat and live off of. The Native Americans have always used the land and environment to survive off of. Another example is “Went to look for roots and berries”, (Hermit 1). The quote shows that Native Americans love to use the land to eat off of. The Native Americans eat the plants and animals that live or grow around them, instead of going and trading for food. The last example is “As soon as she was out of sight among the trees, she started to run as fast as she could”, (Hermit 1). This quote shows that the Native Americans depend on the land to survive. They use it as shelter, by using trees and animal skins to make houses. So in conclusion Native Americans use the land they live on a lot and for many different thing from eating to using it as shelter, so the land is very sacred and special to the Native Americans.
Our group's stories do not have any specific authors.
Hero "The Hero Twins". Angelfire. Web. 6 April 2015
Infoplease. Rep. Infoplease,Web. 12 Apr. 2015.
Kolata, Alan L., Donald L. Fixico, and Sharlotte Neely. "Indian, American." World Book.
Advanced. World Book, 2015. " Web. 11 Apr. 2015.
Maid, Mist. "The Maid of the Mist" Native American Myths. American Folklore . S. E.
Schlosser, Web. 31 Mar 2015.
"Native American Art." Native American Art. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.
Schlosser, S. E. "Vampire Hermit" Native American Myths American Folklore. Web 31 Mar. 2015.
“The Never Ending Bear Hunt.” Native American Legends. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.