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11/5/2013

Macayla Myers

Native Americans


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Native American Life Macayla Myers November 5, 2013

Native Americans have been around for a very long time. Many centuries in fact. The Free Dictionary defines a Native American as a member of igneous people of the Western Hemisphere. We use the term Native American over Indian out of a sense of respect for Native American culture. The term native also means “original,� and Native Americans claim to be the first inhabitants of the Americas. So, what are the Native Americans all about? The history of Native Americans starts long before any European settlers came around. Native Americans have left their mark on history. The things that Native Americans did centuries ago, still affect us today and will affect us until the end of time. Not all Native Americans are the same though. There are different tribes, traditions, climates, and many other things that separate Native Americans. Some tribes include: Fox, Inca, Eskimo, Ottawa, Powhatan, Yuki, Zia, and many more. The Fox nation is commonly associated with that of the Sac nation. This nation seeks guidance from the Creator on how to live because they live spiritually-filled lives. The Drum Dance is a common religious ceremony that they have. Eskimos consider themselves to be part of the Inuit people. These people live in the far northern areas of Alaska, and they can also be found in Canada. The Inuit people base their lives around their cold climate. Inuits learned how to make warm homes from the materials they had which included snow and ice. They didn’t use normal materials like wood and mud because they were hard to find in their tundra climate. This group of people made their clothing out of animal


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skins and fur. This provided for warm clothes in the harsh climates they lived in. Their food came mostly from the meat of animals considering they weren’t able to grow their own food in tundra deserts in which they lived in. So, they had to hunt a lot. They on occasion also had berries to eat. The only sources of transportation for the Inuit people were dogsleds and kayaks. One interesting fact about the Inuit people is that in the 1800s, after the arrival of European settlers, nearly ninety percent of Western Alaska Inuits died from disease. Another fact is that after hunting, the Inuits would perform rituals in honor of the spirit inside the animal. Another tribe is the Powhatans. Back in the day, the Powhatan tribe lived in Virginia. Some are still located there, while others were forced out and pushed towards Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Powhatans did not live in tepees, but instead they lived wigwams or longhouses. Wigwams were small and round, while longhouses were larger and longer. Today most Powhatans live in places just like us. The women in these tribes wore knee-length skirts that had fringe on them, while men wore breechcloths. A breechcloth is a rectangular piece of cloth, fur, or tanned skin that is worn between the legs and tucked over a belt. This is so that it falls in the front and the back. A breechcloth left the legs bare, so when it got colder they had to wear leggings. They also usually wore beaded headbands, with maybe one or two feathers tucked in the back. The people often wore tattoos and painted their bodies for special occasions. Both men and women of the Powhatan tribe had long hair. Men of the Powhatan tribe would sometimes have their hair cut shorter on the right side than the left, it was the style back then. They used canoes as a source of transportation. Today, most of them use cars to get around. The Powhatans were able to farm, but they also hunted for their food. For protection and whatever else, this tribe used tomahawks, bow and arrows, and they also used nets for fishing. The most famous member


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of the Powhatan tribe is Pocahontas, the leader of the Powhatan tribe’s daughter. I think we all probably have heard of her. As you can tell, the way the Native Americans lived back then, is different than the ways in which we live our lives today. We can drive our car to town. We can get our food from the store or different restaurants. This allows us not to have to hunt for food constantly, but hunting is still something people do today. We dress differently now than they did before. Most men today aren’t walking around almost naked every day. One thing still remains, the way that the Native American people lived, shaped how we live today.


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Credits "Native Americans." The Free Dictionary. Farlex, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. "Native American History." Native American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. "Native American Life." - Love of Nature and Strength of Spirit. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. "Native Languages of the Americas: List of Native American Indian Tribes and Languages."American Indian Tribal List: Native American Tribes and Languages. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013 "Sac & Fox Nation." Welcome to the Sac and Fox Nation. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. "Native Americans." For Kids: Inuit Peoples. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. "Powhatan Indian Fact Sheet." Facts for Kids: The Powhatan Indians (Powhatans). N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.

Native americans  

The short history of some Native American tribes.

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