No matter which region you are from, if you live in the United States, and then you are exposed to Native American Indians and their culture. Whether it is the name of a river, your state, or a centralized location American Indians have left their legacy upon every inch of soil that crosses this country.
The American Indians and other Indigenous people were the first people in this country and they lived in every state, from Alaska to Hawaii. They were comprised of many different tribes, cultures, and languages. Unfortunately, many of the earliest American Indians were annihilated to the point that there is very little record of their early cultural influences left. However, for the many tribes that have survived, we are faced with many reminders of who first owned this land and the impact that they have had upon our nation as a whole.
Many people often think of one tribe of American Indians and build a mental picture that represents the entire group. This is simply a fallacy. The indigenous people were composed of many different tribes and each tribe had their own set of cultural rules, spiritual practices, and differed in areas such as language and clothing. To truly study Native Americans, you would need to begin by studying individual tribe.
Native Americans have indelibly left their fingerprint on the societal and cultural aspects of American history. Whether in music, dance, religion, or in the form of the arts Native Americans have remained a strong focal point in American history and culture. Native American influence can be seen from coast to coast and the knowledge that they lent to the early explorers has helped shape this nation to become the superpower that it is today. The influence of Native American upon art forms such as pottery, weaving, beading, sculpture, painting, and basketry cannot be denied.
Joseph Paige © 2006