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Dereks World Library - Four Broad Native American Topics


Derek's World Library

Four Broad Native American Topics



2017-05-28 13:17:14
Word Count: 1800



Describe the life of the first buffalo hunters on the Plains. Describe the impact of the Indian Slave trade on Eastern Woodland Indians. What single animal changed the Plains Indians' way of life? Describe the Plains Indian culture. What factors determine Indian identity in modern America?
These are four questions I chose for my final quiz which was essay based 1  Describe the life of the first buffalo hunters on the Plains. The Plains Indians began during Paleo times, thousands of years before European Exploration. Their style of hunting was not on horseback; but on foot with tooled stone spears.[i] Life was much simpler during times of human genesis yet evolved over time like many other societies and systems. The Great Plains encompasses a land mass roughly from Canadian Provinces to nearly the Gulf of Mexico and from the Rockies to just West of the Mississippi River. The Indians of the Plains region used buffalo for all matters of life which included food, shelter, tools and even spiritual needs.  For shelter, the hides were harvested and used on tipis, blankets and robes. The buffalo hair was used for ropes and pads while the hard materials were used for implements.[ii] There were two other methods of hunting prior to horseback hunting.  One is The Jump and the other is The Impound.  In the jump, hunters would lure the buffalo into corners of high precipices over large river valleys. The impound method was used in areas where cliffs were nowhere around.  This method basically lured the buffalo into man-made corals.[iii] It was not until after 1541 when the Spaniards observed the nomadic like lifestyle that the Indians began to use horseback as a mode of transportation and method of hunting.[iv] The Plains Indians lived a modest, easy lifestyle prior to European exploration of their New World. They hunted buffalo using hunt and trap style methods such as The Jump and The Impound. The Indians did not learn about horseback travel until after the Spanish exploration of the region. They lived on the land by foot with tooled stone and buffalo parts.  
  1. Describe the impact of the Indian Slave trade on Eastern Woodland Indians.
During Colonial times the Anglos began what would become traditional U.S. policy on how to handle the natives in westward expansion. Each European commission in the New World devised ways to employ the natives to their advance their agenda as opposed to the supporting the host Native Americans. Slavery was among those methods which ultimately resulted in Indian tribes wiping out other Indian tribes. Slavery was nothing new to the Indians as the concept of slavery was part of their ways of life prior to European exploration. Although, Indian slavery was similar to some aspects of the World War II concept of Prisoner of War. The natives would take captives of their enemies and put them to work. The major difference though is that the First Americans would also use their slaves as treaty gifts or sell them for other commodities.[v] When the Europeans brought their version of slavery to America and began commerce with the Indians, the natives traded their slaves for the guns which ultimately perpetuated the slave harvesting of the lands.[vi] This slave trading compounded by the epidemic introduction and spread of European disease, the Indian population was crippled. In-turn, this impacted the slave population which resulted in the Europeans turned to Africa for slave importation.[vii] By the late 1680’s, the Eries were hunted by the Iroquois but fled to the James River and became slave hunters. However, they were liquidated by the Shawnee in trade with the Carolina traders.[viii] The Eastern Woodland region was cleared up for English settlement and later the United States owned real estate. Prior to European exploration of America, natives had their own version of slavery. However, when the Europeans introduced guns into slave trades with the natives, the Indian slave taking became a slave hunt which manifested into widespread reduction of the natives. This was especially the case when the European diseases compounded the stressors of the mutated stave trade process. The Europeans essentially pitted the natives against each other and reaped the benefits of a reduced force and land acquisition.  
  1. What single animal changed the Plains Indians' way of life? Describe the Plains Indian culture.
Until the Europeans introduced new methods of travel, the Indians traveled and hunted on foot. The horse is the single animal that significantly influenced the cultural shift of the Plains Indians. Before the horse, the Plains Indians lived and operated closer to their primary homes. Once on the horse, the natives expanded their endurance and grew less dependent upon the river systems as primary security. The Plains Indians were nomadic hunters and farmers who lived in tepees when hunting away from the home which was a more permanent earth lodge village along rivers. Without complex transportation, they were unable to travel too far from their homes.  They hunted buffalo and a few other large game which provided food and materials for shelter, clothing and tools. They believed all natural objects and phenomena have a soul or spirit. They used these spirits to guide them in all their decision making.[ix] Spanish explorers introduced the Indians to the horse in the 1600’s. This greatly increased trading as it did two things. The horses allowed the natives to go beyond their normal hunting grounds to others which boosted confidence in the natives who quickly grew dependent upon the horse. The natives increased their survival endurance through the horse and thereby they increased trade with the Spaniards to increase their fleet of horses.[x] This cultural shift was exasperated by the later introduced gun which resulted in grossly eradicating the wild game and Indian tribes.[xi] Many revolutions can be traced back to one single event. For the Plains Indians, their cultural revolution began with the horse. Once a community who roamed the lands on foot not too far from home, they could then travel further and longer to acquire more game on the horse. The early Spanish explorers of the New World effectively changed the way of life for the Plains Indians by showing them the utility of a horse.  
  1. What factors determine Indian identity in modern America?
Due to the vast attempts to drive out or assimilate the American Indians into Anglican culture, their identity is almost unidentifiable. To determine who among this world is Indian goes beyond blood. The determination also goes beyond the legally recognized terms of the Bureau of Indian Affairs who claim Indians are those who belong to a recognized tribe. Each tribe has their own membership rules and some tribes are not even federally recognized. The U.S. federal government defines an Indian as one having more than one-half or one-quarter ancestry. However, some tribes do not count blood alone as membership. They see Indian as a way of life and if you were not raised in the way of respective Indian customs and traditions, you are not Indian; therefore, you are not a member of the tribe.[xii] During the mid-1900’s, the U.S. congress systematically enabled the general native community to abandon countless Indians. Some tribes do not even recognize newborns today due to belief that the parents are too far removed from full blooded relations. This only gets more complicated when monetary benefits are at stake.[xiii] The bottom line is if anyone who petitions to a tribe for recognition cannot show paperwork proof they are related to a full blooded member of the petitioned tribe, they will not receive membership. Throughout the allotment period (1887-1934), blood quantum was the official means of identity. Today, some believe using blood quantum only benefits the U.S. conscious by disproving any notion the policies over the year were acts of genocide. Although, the U.S. estimates that by the year 2080, only eight percent of the Indian population will have more than fifty percent Indian blood.[xiv] It is not easy to identify as a Native American. Each tribe has a set of qualifying factors and the U.S. government has their own. In some cases, the equation never matches up regardless of how much Indian blood is flowing through the veins of any given human. [i] Colin G Calloway, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History 5th Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2016), 25. [ii] Ojibwa, “Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains,” Native American Roots, accessed on May 28, 2017, http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/889. [iii] Ibid. [iv] Colin G Calloway, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History 5th Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2016), 25. [v] Colin G Calloway, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History 5th Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2016), 145. [vi] Ibid. [vii] Alan Gallay, “Indian Slavery in the Americas,” The Journal of the Glider Lehrman Institute, accessed on May 28, 2017, https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/origins-slavery/essays/indian-slavery-americas. [viii] Colin G Calloway, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History 5th Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2016), 146. [ix] “Great Plains Indians,” War Paths to Peace Pipes, accessed on May 28, 2017, https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/native-american-indians/great-plains-indians.htm [x] “The Plains Culture,” United States History, accessed on May 28, 2017, http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h941.html [xi] Colin G Calloway, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History 5th Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2016), 145. [xii] Colin G Calloway, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History 5th Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2016), 576. [xiii] Rekha Balu, “Indian Identity – Who’s Drawing the Boundaries,” Native Web, accessed on May 28, 2017, http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/identity.html. [xiv] Ryan W. Schmidt, “American Indian Identity and Blood Quantum in the 21st Century: A Critical Review, Journal of Anthropology 2011 no. 549521, accessed on May 28, 2017, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/janthro/2011/549521/

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