July 18th, 2019 Last Updated on: December 10th, 2019
Here's Some Aspects of Native American Communities You Won't See on TV
Being a part of the many Native American communities across the country means many things.
How much do you know about Native American communities?
You will be surprised at how negligible is the information you have about our beautiful community.
Many of you will already know and understand the lack of information and misinformation that is spread by mainstream media. New readers may not be aware of this problem, please keep reading to educate yourself more about these issues.
There are so many misconceptions about us and how we identify ourselves in society. That's why you need to know some of the hidden and rare aspects that you won't see on TV.
Being a part of the many Native American communities across the country means many things. Click here to learn more about them!
1. We Don't All Look the Same
Yes! Native Americans don't all look the same.
Some of us are short, and others are tall. Others have fair skin, while others are dark-skinned.
And yes, you'll even see some with blond hair!
Look close, you’ll see that there are some people from various communities with varying facial features, different hair lengths and color, and varying eye colors.
2. There Are More Than 560 Federally Recognized Native American Tribes in the US
Federal recognition means that the US Bureau of Indian Affairs legally recognizes you.
Although there are more than 560 legally recognized Native American tribes, there are still more that aren't recognized on a legal level.
Our tribes identify as self-governing nations with elected leaders and tribal courts.
Do you know each of our tribes has its own identity? If you just hear about us on TV, it's most likely you've thought that we are one community.
However, this is not the case because each of our tribes has its distinguishing factors.
Each tribe has its unique language, economy, culture, history, politics, religion as well as its ways of life.
Of course, there may be overlapping characteristics and practices because of the complicated histories that our tribes share, but each tribe identifies as a single entity.
3. Land Means More than Just Property
The rift between Europeans and us was partly the result of interference with our land. Up to today, the concept of land is one the biggest issue that we face with the Canadian and U.S. governments.
For us, the land is not just property but rather a spiritual and economic resource as well as part of our identity.
Our religious beliefs and way of life are directly tied to the earth.
The land is perceived as a living entity among our communities, and it's not something that you can claim ownership.
This is why the destruction and loss of our native land was and still is extremely devastating for our communities.
4. The Stereotype of Nature Worshiping
This is probably the biggest misconception that people have had about us. People tend to think that we are sun-worshippers, animal lovers, and tree huggers.
They see us as extreme environmentalists who worship the earth and nature.
Well, that's not the case because like other cultures, most Native people believe in a Supreme Being.
This misconception came from the early European settlers who observed our forefathers raising their hands to the sky as a form of worship.
In the past, our forefathers would observe animal behavior in its environment to learn how to hunt it as a means of survival in undeveloped land.
This was similar to what other hunters and gatherers from other communities.
Just because our ancestors observed the behavior of animals and preserved our lands doesn't mean we are extreme environmentalists or we are nature and sun worshipers.
5. Some of Older Native Americans Can Only Speak in Native Languages
It may come as a surprise to you, but even today, not every individual in America can speak fluent English. Some may be foreign immigrants, which is understandable.
But do you know that some Native American tribes only speak in native languages?
For instance, up to today, there are people from the Seminole tribe in Florida who only speak in Miccosukee.
It's imperative to keep our native languages alive by teaching them to our younger generations.
Language gives us linguistic sovereignty, which allows us to control our narratives and maintain our identity.
7. Some of the Major Cities in the U.S. Today Were Indian Villages
Our forefathers had an established way of life, which was politically, economically and culturally independent before the European settled in North America.
They lived in villages where they practiced economic activities such as farming, fishing, and trading.
They had built forts and trading posts in these villages, which eventually became the major cities we know today.
Examples of these cities include Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Detroit, and Chicago.
Native American Communities Today
One of the biggest challenge Native American communities face today is being type-casted and dismissed.
We are marginalized, and that’s why some people still refer to us as ‘redskins’.
It's even alarming to know that some people think that we are no longer in existence!
Just like other Americans, we go to school, learn, write books, become doctors, lawyers, and even own businesses, and we still choose to preserve our culture.
Are you interested in learning more facts about Native American tribes? Click here to find out more.
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