Native American Culture

Native American culture refers to the culture of the Native American tribes who lived in the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans. Native Americans had beliefs, traditions and a lifestyle that was quite unique. It was also quite different from the culture of the Europeans. Nature had a great importance in the Native American culture. It was around the nature that the Native American religion, traditions and lifestyle were based.

Native American Religion

One of the key aspects of the Native American culture was the religion of the Native American tribes. The Native Indians believed in a Great Spirit. They believed that the Great Spirit had created this world and was most powerful. They also believed that everything, from rocks to plants and from birds to animals, had spirits. And humans could commune with these spirits. The Native American also held that it was the responsibility of mankind to a keep a balance in nature and respect nature.

Native American Rituals

Rituals were an important part of the Native American culture. There were rituals for different occasions and purposes. Sun Dance was a kind of ritual which was performed by the warriors of a tribe to please the Sun god. The Ghost Dance was a ritual to commune with the dead and ask their help in fighting enemies. Vision Quest was another important ritual – it was usually undertaken by younger boys of a tribe. They would go into the wilderness and spend some time without food or sleep in order to commune with spirits and find their purpose in life.

Native American Festivals and Ceremonies

Festivals and Ceremonies were important social events in the Native American culture. The Native Indians celebrated many festivals each year. The festivals were usually seasonal and were celebrated on specific dates. During festivals, the Native American tribes had a lot of fun. They would sing, dance, have hearty feasts, play music and games, and perform many other forms of festivities. The festivals could go on for many days.

Native American Houses

Native American tribes made and lived in a variety of houses. The type of house they lived in depended on the local climate and their lifestyle. If a tribe hunted bison and moved around often, people of that tribe lived in temporary houses called teepees. These were cone-shaped houses that were made from a wooden frame and bison hide. They were easy to construct and take apart. Tribes who practiced agriculture didn’t move often and lived in more permanent houses. Examples of these include the pueblos, longhouses and wigwams.

Native American Music

Music was an important part of the Native American culture. The Native Americans played music at many occasions such as before a hunt, during a battle, and at the times of mourning or rejoicing. Music was also played during festivals, rituals, games and as a way of healing a sick member of the tribe. The instruments used by the Native Indians can be categorized into three types: string instruments, wind instruments and percussion instruments.