Native Americans Then and Now
By: Melonie Tewewas Allman-Pittman
Axia University of Phoenix
Native American Indians Then and Now 2 Native American Indians have not changed much in hundreds of years. The Natives still have the same belief as they did from the beginning of time. They are still forced to live on reserved lands that do not seem livable and are in worse conditions now than ever before. Even though people think due to casinos that the American Indians have it made, the Natives are still being mistreated, many tribes are well below poverty levels, highest in death rates, have the most number of preventable diseases, the highest of teen suicide than anywhere in the Nation.
Native American Indians traditions go back to the beginning of time. The Native religion is more about sacred and ceremonies. The Native people do not have a word for religion it is more a way of life to them than a religion. According to one researcher, “There is not one Native tradition to represent Native religion. Just as there are numerous Christian beliefs the Native people have many different beliefs. The Native ceremonies are so similar that it is impossible to discuss them as one” (Burbar, and Vernon 2006)
The Natives have always been connected to the lands. Most of their ceremonies and sacred objects come from the lands and has everything to do with how they feel about them. Native people do not believe they can own the lands that people are merely caretakers of it. The Native believe that the land is a gift from the Creator, put here to give them tools for survival. They believe if they take something from the land that they must give thanks for the gift given. They do this by offering sacred herbs, prayer, and dance.
Native American Indians Then and Now 3
The Native people give each member roles to keep the villages running smoothly. The Native men hunt and protect the village, while the women gather fruits, berries, and keep the camps, the children gathered wood, help clean hides, look after the younger children and clean the camps. One researcher studies tells stories of how some tribes are at certain times in the tribal life. “On the Northwest coast, young women were taught that the wives of Makah whale hunters must very still in bed while their husbands hunted, since their movement influenced the whale’s behaviors. In a Navajo story Black God had all animals penned up until his wife opened the gate. The animals escaped and thereafter had to be hunted, (Kidwell, 1998).
All of this became threatened with the arrival of foreigners. With the foreigners coming and bringing there Christian beliefs the Native traditions were going to be challenged. With the start of the White Mans government the Natives faced having several ceremonial rights taken away for hundreds of years. The Natives were stopped from worshiping in manners they were accustomed. The Natives were forced to worship the Christian belief and if they refused they were put to death or imprisoned. Many of the Native traditional ceremonies were stopped completely. Two of those rights at this time were the Ghost Dance, and the Sun dance. The Natives found ways around this; they would go to places they knew white men would not to have ceremonies that had been band. Due to so many of the Native rights being taken away the Natives formed a group called “American Indian Movement” (AIM). AIM in the early years was called “Indian wars”. After fighting the government for several years and fighting for their right to religious freedom...