The Modern Day Native Americans Way of Living in an Anglo-American World
Modern Day Native Americans are a very interesting micro-cultures in the United States. Despite being unique from the mainstream American cultures, they are very diverse from one nation to another. There are significant differences between the various tribe’s dress, language, value systems, religious practices, cultures, and family lives after having shared their geographical contexts in the American continent.
Alaska Natives vs American Indians
It is also important to note that Alaska Natives differ from American Indians as the Native Americans differ from Europeans. Despite these differences, the Modern Day Native Americans have common cultural features that distinguish them from the dominant American culture as a monolith. Native American culture is conspicuous due to the diversity of their beliefs, regalia, lifestyle, and art forms. People in these cultures also share economic activities such as woodwork and salmon fishing. All Native American nations live in hierarchical social structures inside large villages and towns.
Economic and Government Systems
Modern Day Native Americans developed in well-defined economic and government systems, ceremonies, recreational styles, roles, and responsibilities. Therefore, each member of the tribe is assigned a role and is supposed to play in consensus with other members of the tribe. The political, economic, and social traditions reflect decision-making and the individual’s involvement in group activities (Aicinena & Ziyanak, 2021). Modern Day Native Americans value land with the spirit of the Universe, the harmony of the individuals in the tribe, and the sense of belonging to the tribes.
Modern Day Native Americans also have cultural areas that are distinct territorial phyla and ethnolinguistic and are united by the subsistent farming and hunter-gatherer way of obtaining food for nature. This justifies their need to continue to coexist with nature, contradicting the general practice of interacting with nature in the Anglo American way of life. The Modern Day Native Americans have a sense of belonging to huge cultural areas. The Northern California tribes include Uto-Aztecan, Chumashan, Palaihnihan, Yurok, Coast Miwok, Pacific Coast Athabaskan, and Yok-Utian.
The plateaus tribes include Plateau Penutian and Interior Salish, while the Great Basin tribes include the Uto-Aztecan (Lopez & Bobroff, 2019). The Pacific North West tribes have Wakashan, Coast Salish, and Pacific Coast Athabaskan. The Northeastern Woodland tribes include Eastern Algonquian, Central Algonquian, Iroquoian, Mohawk, Pequot, and Mohican, while the Southeastern Woodlands tribes Iroquoian, Catawban, Caddoan, and Muskogean.
The two Alaska natives include Northern Athabaskan in the Subarctic and Eskimo–Aleut in the Arctic. Given the diversity amongst the Native American tribes, the two hundred and ninety-six dialects used North of Mexico grouped in twenty-nine families. The main ethnolinguistic phyla include Na-Dene languages, Eskimo–Aleut, Tanoan languages, Salishan, Siouan–Catawban, Algic, Algonquian, and Caddoan languages. The Uto-Aztecan, Na-Dene, and Algic have the largest populations, with Uto-Aztecan having approximately two million speakers.
The Native American societies are grouped in clans formed in the Roman Model. The main characteristics of these tribes include the individuals’ rights to vote in and dispose of the chiefs and sachem. They are also obliged to not marry from within the gens. They have a shared burial place, common religious rights, and adoption of strangers and bestow the stranger’s names (Aicinena & Ziyanak, 2021). The attributes and functions of the tribes include the tenure of gentes, head-chiefs, supreme governments made of council chiefs, having faith, and depose of chiefs and sachems.
Traditional Native American Diet
The traditional Native American diet is derived from wild foods, hunting and gathering, and agriculture. The main crops established within the community include maize, squash, and beans. They also farm sump weed chicken, knotgrass, tobacco, pumpkins, sunflower, and cotton. This kind of agriculture has been practiced for more than four thousand years and was introduced by the cultigens from Mexico. The gender roles tend to differ from one tribe to another, whereby men are tasked with preparing land with hoes while women harvest, plant and weed. In this case, the women are at the helm of agriculture while the men hunt and gather.
The individual, tribe, and natures were expected to coexist in harmony, especially in the realization that the predictability of nature was the basis of existence and the constancy of timelessness. This is a symbol of absoluteness, timelessness, and the perception of reality. This is unique relative to the mainstream culture, for example, emphasizing harmony with the natural world, respect for others, non-interference with other people’s lives, and respect for other people’s decisions (Mattina, 2019). On the other hand, the mainstream American culture does not prioritize harmony with nature, something evident with the pollution to the economic activities by individuals and corporations.
Family is the fundamental social and political unit in the modern day Native Americans despite living in a huge clan. However, their social and economic setting tends to priorities reciprocity as a value, the basis of cultural revitalization, and the basis of socialization. The newer generations are expected to remain the same, as shown in their tribute to their ancestors, unlike the Anglo culture, where different generations are expected to be different in response to changing times (Mattina, 2019).
Modern Day Native Americans & Christian Religion
The modern-day Native Americans have been influenced by the Indian culture along with the Christian religion. They also have a traditional religion whereby they perform rituals in events like the delivery of babies to ensure that they are protected from misfortune throughout their lives and after death to ensure that their spirit rests in peace (Aicinena & Ziyanak, 2021). These traditions have persisted to date as Modern Day Native Americans continue to speak in their respective Native languages. They are united through daily activities, religion, lifestyle, and culture. The values involved in this case tend to differ from one nation to another.
Modern Day Native Americans Culture
The Native American culture is unique in the members’ ways of doing things. For example, the Anglo American culture, which is the dominant culture in the United States, incentivizes and prioritizes the individual’s success. The Native American culture, on the other hand, prioritizes happiness over success. Therefore, the individual and the tribe should work towards happiness, which requires that both be in harmony.
The Anglo-American culture prioritizes individuality and the ownership of property as an incentive for success in society (Lopez & Bobroff, 2019). The Native American culture, on the other hand, prioritizes sharing over individual ownership. Because the individual needs the collective to survive thus, they have to take care of the tribe. According to this, the individual takes precedence over the collective in the Anglo American culture, while the collective takes precedence over the collective.
Success in the Anglo cultural context involves being number one, meaning outdoing other members of the society in a highly contested context. On the other hand, in the Modern Day Native Americans culture, success refers to the individual’s usefulness in the tribe at large. The Anglo American culture is youth-oriented, where the young are educated in institutions in preparation for their conversion into labor in the economic system (Mattina, 2019).
The elderly in this society is take care of by the efforts of their past through social security. On the other hand, the Native American culture tends to honor the elderly members of the society because they are viewed as a source of wisdom through their extensive knowledge. All members of society are responsible for taking care of the elders through sharing their resources and time.
Education in the Anglo American culture takes place in the school setting user the teachers’ instruction, while in the Modern Day Native Americans setting, education takes place in everyday activities. In this case, the elders educate the younger individuals through oral tradition, for example, legends. Education is the passing of knowledge from the old to the young on how to conduct their lives and navigate nature for the benefit of the community at large (Mattina, 2019). The mainstream American culture tends to look at the future on anticipating developments and challenges, thus facilitating the safety and prosperity of the individual and society as a collective.
The Native American culture, on the other hand, focuses on the past and how the thing that been carried out. This is why the elders are considered necessary in the Native American culture. In the mainstream American culture, people work towards retirement, where they have acquired enough resources to take care of their wellbeing for the rest of their lives.
The Modern Day Native Americans, on the other hand, work for the collective purpose of the wellbeing of the society at large. Therefore, it is clear that traditional Native American culture contradicts the mainstream culture heavily influenced by Anglo-American culture (Mattina, 2019). This may lead to conflict between people from the two different cultures that have continued today. The vast differences in the belief systems also make people from the two different cultures coexist and work together without effective intercultural training. The ceremonial practices and the tribal rituals provide the basis of ethical behavior, which contributes to living a healthy life.
In conclusion, the Modern Day Native American culture is unique in the members’ ways of doing things. For example, the Anglo American culture, which is the dominant culture in the United States, incentivizes and prioritizes the individual’s success. The Native American culture, on the other hand, prioritizes happiness over success. Therefore, the individual and the tribe should work towards happiness, which requires that both be in harmony.
The Anglo-American culture prioritizes individuality and the ownership of property as an incentive for success in society. The Modern Day Native Americans culture, on the other hand, prioritizes sharing over individual ownership. Because the individual needs the collective to survive thus, they have to take care of the tribe. According to this, the individual takes precedence over the collective in the Anglo-American culture, while the collective takes precedence over the collective.
- Aicinena, S. J., & Ziyanak, S. (2021). Contest Powwow: Sport and Native American Culture. Qualitative Report, 26(1).
- Lopez, J. H., & Bobroff, K. L. (2019). Rooted Indigenous Core Values: Culturally Appropriate Curriculum and Methods for Civic Education Reflective of Native American Culture and Learning Styles. Multicultural Perspectives, 21(2), 119-126.
- Mattina, N. (2019). Uncommon Anthropologist: Gladys Reichard and Western Native American Culture. University of Oklahoma Press.