Native American Life
Native American life today incorporates many traditional values with a changing lifestyle.
Native American life is different today than it was centuries ago, but there is still a great degree of pride and independence in Native American life. Pride in one’s tribe, care of the land and respect for nature characterize native American life, and many Native Americans share these principles today. Although the history of American Indians on the continent has in later years has included many sad events, Native American pride still remains and Native American life is ideally filled with pride for one’s roots and love of nature.
Many Native Americans today live on reservations, but in generations past, they spanned the continent and their lifestyles and traditions varied from tribe to tribe as they do today. Some Native Americans survived by hunting and gathering and lived in tents, while others lived in complex longhouses and had a very organized and complex political system. Before white settlers came to the continent, Native American life was free of European influences, and Native Americans lived simply off the land. They were not yet acquainted with the serious diseases that would later claim many lives, as Europeans brought smallpox against which Native American populations lacked resistance. Although there was often cooperation between tribes regarding farming and trade, other tribes were continuously at war with each other, such as the Algonquin and the Iroquois. However, the Iroquois would often incorporated conquered tribes into their sophisticated political system and thus enlarge their nation. Many of these alliances and rivalries were exploited when white settlers landed on the American continent, and some tribes were pitted against others to serve the colonist’s designs.
Native American life also included a unique view of spirituality and health. The American Indians knew what we are discovering today, the mind and the spirit play a critical role in physical illness and healing. Native American life also was characterized by love of nature, and today’s concern about conservation and environmentalism are inspired by views which were and still are the hallmarks of Native American life.