Native American Indians

‘Native American Indians’ is a term that has an inevitable sense of mystery and wonder attached to it. Whenever you hear of them, you are immediately intrigued by your curiosity to know about them. Who are they actually? Where do they originally belong? What culture and customs do they have? What religion do they follow? Well, here is an insight into their world that will help you to know about the Native American Indians and will bring you closer to these fascinating people.

Their origin

The Native Americans originally belong to a group of aboriginal tribe that inhabited the American land for 10 thousand years. Adequate anthropological evidence suggests that they are descendants of the tribes that originally belonged to Siberia. Most of the natives claim that a cross continent migration via the Bering Land Bridge brought them to America.

By 1500 B.C, many Native Americans had settled into small aboriginal communities. In several regions, temporary hunter-gatherer settlements were transformed into small permanent or semi-permanent settlements and villages.

Presently the establishments of these ‘Indians’ are now scattered all over America. According to the 2003 United States Census Bureau estimates, a little over one third of the 2,786,652 Native Indians in America live in the three States of California, Arizona and Oklahoma.
 

Cultural and artistic treasures

The Native Indians from America have a rich history. It is filled with enormous cultural treasures. These cultural aspects still endure today in their daily lives.

Among the Native Americans the Pueblo people are skilled craftsmen and they craft impressive items associated with their religious ceremonies. The tribesmen displayed their artistic taste through a wide variety of items which included grossly carved stone and wooden fetishes made to serve religious purposes, textile art decorations, a very rich and tasteful assortment of jewelry and pottery and different types of pictorial art.

Native American music has a unique flavor to it. Traditional Native American music mainly comprises drumming and various other percussion instruments along with flutes and whistles, which were made of wood, cane, or bone. Among all the varied music forms prevailing among the Native Americans, the pow-wow is the most widely used. Most of the original Native Americans have traditional songs which they exclusively share and practice within the community.

Their religion

The Native Americans originally had their own religion, which through time under went a lot of transformation. Presently, the American Indians have an intriguing mixture of religion existing among the various tribes. The religious drums, chants and the dances of the Pueblo people which are an integral part of the Masses at Santa Fe’s Saint Francis Cathedral is a living proof of their culture.

Current status

The future of the American Indians is uncertain. From the beginning of their settlement in America they have been facing hardships. In the beginning, they had to face the invaders and protect their land against the Europeans. There eventual defeat led to mutual understanding between the two parties.

In the present situation, they are facing trouble with establishing their identity in America. Anyone who wants to be recognized as one of the American Indians has to provide the government with the genetic proofs. So this has led to gradual decrease in their numbers. It is estimated that by 2100 that figure will rise to nine of ten. In addition, there are some who are recognized by the individual state but not by the Federal government. The rights and privileges entrusted to each state vary from one another.

Today there are 560 federally recognized Native American Indian tribes within America. Most of them face problems such as poverty, alcohol abuse, and heart diseases. Fortunately there are still people who show an active interest in the lives, culture and history of the Native American Indians.

Learn about the influence the Mission Indians had in the southwest.

Joseph Paige 2006

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