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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Native American Pow Wows


A “pow wow” is a meeting of different tribes. 
Native Americans believed that each tribe had a strong relation with nature and the world. They sometimes had a meeting with other tribes and prayed. 
Through their prayers, nature answered their questions. These meetings had also dancing and singing. To show their respect to nature, they imitated animals during their sacred dances. 

Some traditional communities still practice pow wows to honor their ancestors and preserve their heritage.

(by 2LSA & 2LSB)

Native American Houses


Different tribes had very different weather conditions and lifestyles. 
Some tribes were agricultural; other tribes were nomadic.

Wigwams were houses used in the woodland regions. They were small and made of wooden frames covered with sheets. They were good houses for people who didn’t move from one place to another.  

Longhouses were similar to wigwams, but they were very big. Inside them there was a wooden second story used for sleeping, and separate rooms. Each longhouse housed an entire clan - 60 people! Longhouses were made for people who stayed in the same place for a long time. 

Tepees were tents in the form of a cone made of a  wooden frame with a covering of buffalo skin. They were designed to set up and break down quickly. They were good houses for people who always moved. Indians who lived on the Plains followed the movements of the buffaloes.

Grass houses were used in the South of the U.S. They were made out of wood and had grass on top. They were good homes for people in a warm climate. 

 (by 2LSB & 2LSA)

Native American Medicine


To Native Americans, people must stay in harmony with themselves, with other people, with their natural environment, and their Creator. 
They believed that most illnesses had a spiritual cause, which created an imbalance between the body, mind, and spirit. 
For them, bad spirits caused the harm. 
They used herbs to purify the spirit and bring balance to people who are unhealthy in spirit, mind, or body. 
They learned about the healing powers of herbs by watching sick animals.  
Medicine people were healers who had power in the tribe. Some medicine people were also shamans (holy men and women). They were good at in herbal medicine, bandaging, and setting bones. They kept their sacred medicine tools (stones, animal bones, herbs) in a bundle. It was very powerful for them.

(by 2LSB & 2LSA)

Native American Philosophy


The Native Americans treated the environment with great respect. 
To them every tree and stone was alive, and Mother Earth was a living entity: they respected and protected it. 
To them the spirit world was real. They believed in a Supreme Being, called Great Mystery, or Great Spirit. They were generous. Their sense of community  was very important. There was no selfishness. 
Children were not beaten: they were invited to have a good behavior. 
Women were very much considered, they had political importance in the community.
To the American Indians it was incomprehensible to possess land: they only borrowed it
from the Creator, and used it for the tribe’s benefit. 
American Indians didn’t abuse their environment, taking only what they needed. 

(by 2LSA & 2LSB)

Native American Tribes


Before the Europeans settled in America, there were many different Native American tribes that occupied the land. 
The Apache Indians were a very violent Native American tribe. They were nomadic and they hunted wild animals like the buffalo. They rode horses. They had a lot of enemies. 

The Cherokee Indians had many villages in the mountains. They were good farmers and hunters. They had big celebrations with fun and games.

The Cheyenne Indians lived in villages too and were farmers. The women gathered wood for the fire, they cooked and harvested fruit and nuts. The men were hunters and they made bows, arrows and pipes. They liked music and dancing after dinner time.

The Navajo Indians lived in grasslands, canyons and deserts. They became famous for their beautiful and colorful blankets and rugs.

The Sioux Indians were a very powerful and large tribe. They were forced to move many times by the U.S. government, so they became very angry and attacked settlers. Near the end of the nineteenth century in the battle of Little Big Horn, the Sioux defeated the US army: this was one a very important victory in Native American history. 

(by 2LSA & 2LSB)

Native American Culture


The Native American culture is very old. It revolved around nature. All the tribes considered the spirits of animals as gods. Native Americans lived in harmony with the Earth. They lived in clans.
Their culture was mainly oral, based on storytelling.
Before the arrival of the settlers, there were over ten million Native Americans in the United States.
At first, Indians liked the Europeans’ white skin and technology, but they also noticed that the Europeans didn’t respect nature.
The Europeans considered them as nomads and inferior people.
Settlers pushed the American Indians away from their land. They brought many diseases from Europe that killed many Natives. Then the United States government set many reservations. A reservation is an area of land that is possessed and managed by a Native American tribe. There are 310 registered Native American Reservations in the United States.  Today in the United States there are only 2.5 million Native Americans. 1 million of them live on reservations.

(by 2LSA & 2LSB)