Native American Traditions

When the Europeans arrived in the Americas in the 15th century, hundreds of Native American tribes lived in North America. They had a diverse culture with rich traditions and a long history.

They practiced their traditions to make sure their culture and history were passed from one generation to another. Following are some of the most notable Native American traditions.

Pottery Making

Pottery making is a long and important tradition for many Native American tribes. It is particularly associated with the tribes living in the southwest and the Texas region.

The tribes in these regions traditionally used clay to create various pots for their everyday usage. These tribes include Pueblo Indians who also used clay as one of the many construction materials for their iconic dwellings.

Clay extraction and pottery making was considered a spiritual act. So as a tradition, it carried immense significance for the Indians.

Dancing

Dancing is one of the most popular and universal Native American traditions. Native Americans danced on various occasions and for a variety of reasons.

They would dance on festivals to celebrate and also to foster social unity. They also danced on the occasion of religious rituals and ceremonies to appease the gods.

Some dances, such as the Sun Dance, were often performed alone as a kind of an individual’s ritual. Other dances, such as the Ghost Dance, were performed in groups and had a collective tribal significance.

Weaving

Weaving has been a Native American tradition for more than a thousand years. Although many tribes practice the tradition of weaving, the Navajo tribe is most famously associated with it.

This is because the rugs, blankets and other blankets produced by the Navajo tribe were and are of the highest quality. Weaving is also a part of the Navajo mythology.

The Navajo believe that a powerful spirit called ‘Spider Woman’ taught the Navajo women how to weave. The Navajo women then created a loom from various awesome materials such as the rock crystal, sunrays, lightning and the sky.

Storytelling

Storytelling is an incredibly important Native American tradition. In the past, storytelling was used for the education of kids. The kids would sit around the elders and listen to the stories they told.

The elders told stories with moral values so that the kids would learn about history, culture and the traditions of their tribes.

Storytelling still remains a popular part of the Native American culture. It is practiced at the occasion of Powwows and other events where people of a tribe gather.

Vision Quest

Vision quest was a tradition which was practiced by the boys of a tribe. It was a kind of rite of passage which elevated the status of a boy to that of a man.

The young man would go into the wild as a part of the tradition. He would avoid eating or sleeping for many days in order to communicate with the spirits.

The Native Americans believed that this brought a person in contact with the spirits who then showed him the path and purpose of his life.