Essay Sample on Exploring the Unique Culture of Native Americans in North America

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1594 Words
Date:  2023-01-10


Native Americans are a group of indigenous people found in North America and contain cultures, values, and habits that are different from many of the many people in America as mostly seen in their rituals and ceremonies. The lifestyle of these Americans in the North of America vary from nomadic to static, and they value their culture a lot and are never affected by other cultures. I was interested in getting involved with this group because of the stories I had heard about them having a primitive culture who never faced a transition to the Iron age which meant that they still used stone made weapons and tools.

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Myths About Indian Americans

Before studying the authentic culture and lifestyle of this group, I felt that they were a people who were left behind by time and a primitive people who had refused to accept change and were a burden to the developed nation in general because they were never taking a change in their ways of life (May 2016). I also had a misguided notion that the native Americans practiced religious activities that were way past by time and the way that they worshipped spirits whom they believed controlled nature like the sun, wind and other natural forces was not religious because it was completely different from my religious beliefs. The fact that they believed that souls existed even in non-living things such as rocks also made me see these people have views that were way scary at some point and there were rumors that they sacrificed people which made me get more interested in immersing myself in their culture and learning the truth from them.

However, after I studied the group and got to interact with many people from these indigenous people, I learned that most of the misconceptions that people talked about were just a lie, and this group was a typical group like many other cultures and religions in America that practiced normal religious and cultural activities just like other Americans (May 2016). The Indian Americans believe in Shaman also known as Medicine men who dominate the culture and are religious leaders who act as a link between the visible world that the average human being exists and the spirit world. They have unique abilities to make the sick get well, control the way the hunting practices are conducted and also play a significant role in the prediction of the future.

Rituals and Beliefs

The notion that the Indian Americans practiced rituals where they sacrificed people to appease the spirits was just a lie that many people believe to be accurate and I came to realize that they offered their huntings and gatherings to the spirits to make them happy so that they can give them rain and good harvests. The rituals, as well as the beliefs that are displayed in their ceremonies, usually show a lot of interests that promote and preserve hunting and farming that show respect to the spirits (May 2016). They hold religious festivals that incorporate their cultures, and this is a rare thing in many cultures in America because people take religion and culture to be two completely different things that are rarely practiced the same way. The religious festivals that they practice are held in specific seasons throughout the years, and most of them happen in periods when agricultural activities are mostly practiced. These festivals usually occur for many days, and the events that take place during such activities include singing, dancing, feasting, and chanting. Such ceremonies are handed down from one generation to another, and this is what makes these people preserve their cultures a lot without losing their values and religious practices.

These native Americans also have special religious dances that they perform when they are singing or chanting, and they vary from pipe dances, buffalo dances, sun dance, war dances and many other dances that differ from one tribe to another. These dances are always accompanied by music, whistles, rattles, chants and drum beating that made the dances enjoyable to watch, and I was tempted to join in the dances which I did after being shown the moves and the way the chants went (Ling & Austin, 2015). I came to learn later that the dances had specific reasons why they were performed, and they ranged from mediating with the spirits, dances when going to war, dancing after they were victorious, homecoming dances, dancing for the rains and dances that showed stories of creation and myths that showed legends. Before the dances began, the Indian American dancers prepare themselves a lot with a lot of care where they comb their hair and arrange their faces where they apply paint on their bodies. They then wear symbolic costumes based on the types of dances they are performing. For example in the buffalo dances, the dancers wear buffalo skins where they also attach the head and horns so that they can mimic the animals.

Indian Music

Indian Americans also perform Indian music that is associated with musical instruments like rattles and drums. They also use other types of instruments such as the Indian flutes, and they develop a fiddle that promotes their culture and their social life (Ling & Austin, 2015). The medicine men believe that the music they take part in enables them to commune with the spiritual world in the daily lives of various people. Trees in the Indian American tribes mean a lot and they derive their attributes from the way that they can share their attributes with the spirits as they provide resources that are valued a lot. The trees are also valued because they offer medicines that are used to heal different types of ailments and have different meanings that the people value a lot.

The Indian Americans were formed by necessity in the United States in the early nineteenth century when they migrated from their country of origin to America. They provided low skilled farm labor and they grew in large numbers to become a significant population in North America's countries such as Canada. These people were mostly immigrants from India that lived in the United States and the migration from India increased from the year 1965, and they introduced programs of skilled workers (Ling & Austin, 2015). To qualify to be in this group, one has to be an Indian either an immigrant from India or one that is born in the United States but has an Indian origin. One can also join this group through marrying or being married by an individual from the culture, and after they are taken through the process of understanding the customs and the ways of life of this indigenous group, they become full members of the group. One also becomes a member of this group through birth or initiation into the culture when an individual voluntarily wishes to become a member.

Voluntary and Involuntary Membership

There is no difference between a voluntary and involuntary member of the group because they are all members of the group and have no visible differences from each other because they perform the same cultural activities. After mingling with this group from Northern America, I learned to value the values and cultures of different groups and learned to always treasure the beliefs that people have without criticizing why they perform certain cultures at this time of the century when everything seems modernized (Bird, 2018). The notion that Indian Americans are primitive and belong to the stone age is one that is not true because some of these people live in urban areas. They live a life of modernization, but they never lose their cultural values which is why when they go back to the villages they perform the cultural activities they are fond of from the time they were born.

The experience I got from interaction with these people made me understand that all communities are essential in their ways and they should be valued uniquely because of the way that they practice their cultures and ways of life (Bird, 2018). This experience helped me realize the importance of my community, and since then I have been able to take part in my community's cultural activities in a renewed way and have learned the importance of taking part in cultural activities and not forgetting the cultures that have guided us from childhood to adulthood. This experience will affect my life positively because it has given me the desire to look into other cultural activities from different societies and help me to understand them while valuing all activities they take part in.


Different negative stories and myths exist concerning many cultural groups and their beliefs concerning the practices they take part in mostly because many people do not treasure the cultures of other people. Until they involve themselves with the cultural group they perceive negatively, they cannot be able to understand their norms and value them. Indian Americans practice both religious and cultural activities, and they believe in spirits that give them rain and control nature. Before studying this group, I had negative perceptions about this group, but after I studied them and got to live with them, I learned that the many stories I heard were myths and I learned to value the cultures of different communities in the country.


Bird, S. E. (2018). Dressing in feathers: The construction of the Indian in American popular culture. Routledge.

Ling, H., & Austin, A. W. (2015). Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia. Routledge.

May, K. (2016). African Americans and Native Americans in the Cherokee and Creek Nations, 1830s-1920s: Collision and Collusion. Routledge.

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Essay Sample on Exploring the Unique Culture of Native Americans in North America. (2023, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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