While Native American religious beliefs vary from tribe to tribe, the one thing they have in common is a belief in a higher power. This power has many names: Manitou, Wakanda, Sila, or even just the Great Spirit. This book discusses the various beliefs held by tribes in each region of the Americas. It also describes some of the important rituals practiced in each religion.
After Christopher Columbus and other European adventurers landed in the Americas during the 15th and 16th centuries, the lands they explored were often called the "New World." However, North, South, and Central America were new only to the people of Europe. Native Americans had lived on the land for millions of years.In some cases, the natives and Europeans were able to live in peace and even learned from each other. Most of the time, however, the European invaders brought with them disease and violence, which spelled the end of the Native Americans' way of life.
From the woodland tribes to the tribes of Mexico and the Caribbean and all the way to the Arctic, Native American houses reflected the environments in which various tribes lived. Furthermore, Native American homes also reflected the deep spiritual life of a people. The way in which they were built, the materials used, and even the direction the house faced was significant. This book provides an understanding of the different homes built by the Native Americans from longhouses to tepees to igloos to pueblos.
The hunting practices of Native Americans differed throughout North and South America. Some hunted with bows and arrows, others with spears and clubs, and still others with snares and traps. This book discusses the ways in which Native Americans hunted in different regions, the weapons they used, and the types of animals that were hunted. It also describes the rituals the tribes performed before hunting, and explains how they used not only the meat, but also the bones, hide, and sinews of the animals they killed.
When Europeans arrived in the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries, they found that some Native American tribes had created alliances, or confederacies. These agreements allowed the member tribes of the confederacy to control trade and keep the peace in their region. This book explains how these Native American confederacies were formed, discusses some famous examples like the Iroquois Confederacy, and explains how Native American groups continue to work together for the good of all tribes in the present day.
The diet of Native American tribes reflected the areas in which they lived. For some tribes, like those of the Pacific Northwest, salmon was a staple part of the diet; for the people of the Great Plains, the buffalo was hunted for food. This book discusses the foods common to various tribes as well as the cultural significance certain foods had for specific tribes.
To an outsider, Native American family life may seem simple. In reality, the societies within Native American tribes are incredibly rich and complex. Nor is family life the same from tribe to tribe. Some tribes are organized into clans; others trace their lineage according to matrilineal lines. This book discusses some of the familial arrangements of various tribes, including the reasons for such arrangements as well as the roles individuals played in their respective societies.