When studying the indigenous peoples of North, Central, and South America, it is important to understand that Native American cultures are highly diverse. With more than 500 Native American nations and 300 different language groups, there are few universal characteristics that apply across tribal boundaries. Traditions, ceremonies, sports, games, dance, subsistence patterns, clothing, and religion often differed greatly from tribe to tribe. The Native American Life series has been written to dispel many of the myths and stereotypes about Native American history and traditions, and to provide a more accurate and encompassing journey into the world of Native Americans.
2014 10 & up 5th & up 6 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches
Dr. Troy Johnson, Professor of History and American Indian Studies California State University
* This comprehensive, well-documented series covers a broad range of topics about Native American life often researched in middle school. * Each book emphasizes that there are vast differences in characteristic customs depending on the location, environment, history, and beliefs of the individual tribes. Some books are organized by subtopics while others focus on geographical regions. * Numerous color illustrations include drawings and photographs of artifacts and artwork, many of which have detailed captions and sidebars. * This series is valuable for in-depth research; the breadth of this series is greater than the usual way-of-life topics by covering rivalries, confederacies, horsemanship, and encounters with Europeans. * Highly Recommended
"This series of fifteen titles provides brief overviews of topics relating to Native American life. Each title contains six chapters on the subject, followed by a chronology, a glossary, and other back matter." "The writing is straightforward, and the author transitions among games and tribes in a logical fashion."
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.
From pre-Columbian times to the present day, Native Americans have enjoyed celebrating holidays and other special occasions. Tribes celebrated festivals and ceremonies throughout the year. These included everything from significant events in a person's life, the changing of the seasons, the arrival of special people or places, and elements of nature. This book discusses the important festivals and ceremonies celebrated by tribes in specific regions, outlining the form of the festival and how each was celebrated.
Contrary to popular belief, Native Americans did not always have horses to assist them in their daily lives. For thousands of years they carried items themselves or even used dogs. The arrival of the horse in the Americas during the 16th century dramatically changed the lifestyles of many Native American tribes. This was particularly true of the people living on the Great Plains. This book discusses the introduction of the horse to the Native Americans by the Spanish and explains the impact this had on various Native American tribes.
Prior to becoming a "melting pot" of many languages, the continents of North and South America were already home to a variety of Native American tribes, each with its own language. What's more, subsets of tribes often had their own dialects, sometimes making communication between two people nearly impossible, even if they lived near each other. This book discusses the major Native American languages used by tribes in various regions and how some of their words have been incorporated into the English language today.
Native Americans have an incredibly rich store of knowledge when it comes to using herbs and plants to heal illness, treat injuries, and cure disease. In fact, some of their traditions have found a place in the modern medicines we use today. This book discusses the nature-based approach Native Americans took towards healing. It also examines important figures, such as shamans and medicine men, and explains some of the remedies and rituals that were conducted.
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.
The Native Americans fought with other tribes for a variety of reasons. Depending on the area in which they lived, a tribe could fight for territory, possessions, or simply as a matter of pride or to right a perceived wrong. This book discusses some of the best-known Native American rivalries, the reasons behind them, and the impact the arrival of Europeans during the 16th through the 19th centuries had on these rivalries.
Native Americans loved to play games. From the United States to Mexico to Canada, tribes everywhere played games as part of their rituals, to cure diseases, to make crops grow, or sometimes, just for the pure fun of the sport. This book discusses the types of games played by various tribes in specific regions. It also explains how these games were played, and the significance-religious and social-of each contest.
The tools and weapons used by Native American tribes were not just functional. Often, these tools and weapons were created during a special ceremony or ritual, so there was a spiritual significance to them as well. Shamans or medicine men would bless such items in the hope that they would serve their owners well. This book discusses the primary tools and weapons made by tribes in specific regions as well as how these tools and weapons were created and used.
The clothing worn by the members of different Native American tribes reflected their environments. Clothing, jewelry, and other decorative items were made from material found in the area around them-from sealskins and shells to buckskin and porcupine quills. This book discusses common clothing items of various Native American tribes as well as the cultural or religions significance of these items
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