Native Americans

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  • #10535

    David P.
    Member

    As an instructor of Cultural Diversity at Lewis University I am relaying the following question on behalf of my class: In general, which cultural practice (language, religion, custom, etc…) do Native Americans feel is most important in preserving their identity?

    User Detail :  

    Name : David P., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Humanist, Age : 31, City : Kankakee, State : IL Country : United States, Occupation : Instructor, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #34199

    Mike
    Participant

    Speaking only for myself, I feel that my greatest loss is never learning my mother’s language. My parents only had English in common, so that was what was spoken at home. I believe that our languages embody the spirit of our cultures. How you view the world is intimately tied to how you express yourself, and vice versa. The physical artifacts of culture can be relearned or replicated but once a language is gone, it’s gone forever.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Mike, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : American Indian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 35, City : Middletown, State : CT Country : United States, Occupation : computer programmer, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #45881

    ACC25089
    Participant

    Plain and simple.

    User Detail :  

    Name : ACC25089, Race : Mexican and American Indian, City : Phoenix, State : AZ Country : United States, Occupation : Teacher, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #28754

    Cordell-B
    Participant

    I’d have to say language,our language is our link to our history and customs. This is only my opinion, I’m sure many indians would disagree. Unfortunately most Native languages from different tribes is on a decline, maybe its to much TV.

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    Name : Cordell-B, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : American Indian, Age : 29, City : Santa Rosa, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #40524

    Robiin
    Participant

    Tribe

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    Name : Robiin, City : Bastrop, State : TX Country : United States, 
    #33352

    Kip M.
    Member

    No one has replied to your message, which is sad. I am not native, but have my Master’s degree in Native studies, and thought at teh lest, I could offer you three books which offer professional opinions on this very topic. (My bias is that there is no way to separate religion from custom from language, as they all inform each other.) Vine Deloria. (Lakota, legal representative for many Indian issues). Almost anything he writes addresses retaining native culture, but the book I would suggest is ‘god is red’ (1970’s) and Spirit and Reason. Both have several articles that might help your students. Ward Churchill (very different voice from Deloria. much anger and frustration evident in his voice) ‘from a native Son’. great articles on how to retain ‘indian ness’ and what Indian identity means.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kip M., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 30, City : Boulder, State : CO Country : United States, Occupation : what ever pays the bills, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #43949

    Courtney
    Member

    Personally, as a Native Canadian, Mohawk to be exact, I feel that the most important thing to preserving my culture is religion and the myths related to it. I am very passionate about this subject. As a young child I didn’t know anything about my heritage but as I grew older I realized more and more that my culture has been practically wiped out. My land was taken away from my people, our languages almost died, most of my ancestors were assimilated into Western European ways. My people were murdered and our culture was admonished and diminished to the bare minimum. What can be rescued and revived should be. Thank you for addressing such an important issue in your class. I feel that not a lot of people are aware of the suffering of Native Americans, we are just as stereotyped as African-Americans. And I object to being called an Indian, I am a Native Canadian from Canada, not from India. I wish people could see that.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Courtney, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Native American/British/German/Ukranian, Religion : Christian, Age : 18, City : Toronto, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : University Student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #34730

    Felicia-Salais
    Participant

    I myself am not Native, but my husband is Hopi so I will try to answer this question on his behalf. In the Hopi culture, all of those things are very important in preserving the ‘old ways’ as they are called in tribal society. Many Natives who move off the reservation to live city lives are often put down because they choose to live an ‘easy’ life as opposed to, say, growing their own food, living without running water, electricity and so on and so forth. However, the split between the city people and the rez people isn’t enough to destroy the one thing they hold dear above all else: family. There is also some distress about the breeding of other races into the Hopi community and keeping the blood pure. To answer your question simply, language, religion, and custom are all extremely important to Native Americans in preserving who they are.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Felicia-Salais, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Hispanic and White, Religion : I just believe in God :), Age : 23, City : Phoenix, State : AZ Country : United States, Occupation : Homemaker/Mother, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Lower middle class, 
    #38892

    pete
    Member

    I am a member of the mandan, hidatsa, arickara nations of the ft. berthold reservation in nw ND…specifically, the preservation of all three examples cited are equally important in saving tribal identity…there are other factors however that figure in greatly in a persons idea of feeling and being native…one is the alienation/isolation one feels from having grown up on an indian reservation and having endured the label of ‘indian’ and the accompanying discrimination/racisism still practiced by non-indians…the question deserves more then just these few lines however and I would be happy to discuss this question in a more in-depth manner if you wish…

    User Detail :  

    Name : pete, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : American Indian, Religion : Native American, Age : 50, City : Parshall, State : ND Country : United States, Occupation : communications, Education level : High School Diploma, 
    #17839

    cb23829
    Participant

    there is no one aspect of cultural practice that native americans seek to preserve the most. if you lose one part of that which identifies you your entire indentity changes. for example if you are identified as mr. david piacenti, caucasian, straight, instructor . . . and for some reason you decide to change your sexual orientation, religious practice, name, career, or social status by changing or losing any one of these factors your entire identity changes and your ‘true’ identity is then lost. n.a. indians focus on preserving their ‘true’ identity.

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    Name : cb23829, City : chicago, State : IL Country : United States, 
    #24321

    aysha
    Member

    As a student of Cultural Anthropology, the question posed confuses me a bit. Aren’t all those things completely intertwined? Custom is created by both religion and language. Religion is a custom that uses language. Language is a custom used to express emotions and ideas. Those emotions and ideas are what lead to religion. Around and around, it all connects together. Costumes, food, building style, and family relations are all part of the customs, and can be part of the religion. Take away one aspect and you are destroying the others. Thus, the most honest answer I can think of is, ‘The most important thing to preserving ‘their’ identity is to preserve their identity.’

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    Name : aysha, Gender : F, Age : 27, City : Ammon, State : ID Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, 
    #47424

    E
    Member

    Persons interested in learning about Native American subjects must first avoid certain fundamental practices, one of which is not to group all Native Americans together as though they had no cultural diversity. Your question would be akin to asking ‘In general, which cultural practice (language, religion, custom, etc.) do Europeans feel is most important in preserving their identity?’ You can see that the English would not be able to answer for Germans, and Italians would not be able to answer for the French. As well, no one would be able to answer for all the groups: the English, Germans, French, Italians, etc. To ask such a question would be to group them together as though they were all the same, something done upon Native Americans with no recognition of their cultural diversity. So the short answer is: ask this question by specific cultural group. Thanks!

    User Detail :  

    Name : E, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Alaska Native, Religion : Native American, Age : 60, City : Juneau, State : AK Country : United States, Occupation : Writer, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, 
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