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Native American Culture

Native American Culture


Native American culture represents a unique mixture of transitions based on religious and racial characteristics of the geographical region. The concept of native culture views local tribes as mini societies with distinctive characteristics of their own. Native American culture has a significant impact on all spheres of social performance including personal relations and social responsibility inside and outside the native society. The aim of the research paper is to investigate that Native American culture involves unique customs and traditions, norms, values and behavior patterns established by the generations of people and descendents.

Discussion section

Native American culture can be described as a unique mixture of religious traditions and values. Native intuitive religious beliefs relate to all aspects of life among Native Americans. It also has a major impact on their thinking and a way of life. To gain access to this godly reality there are many rules to follow for a Native American. Religion becomes part of a daily life, and a visitor to the world who shows respect for the Native American belief will gain a favorable reception almost everywhere. This means, among other things, refraining from modern social events and exposing any kind of images, such as religious symbols, statues and so on (Pritzker, 2000).

The main features of the culture are unique clothing, social structure, housing and art. Music and art of Native Americans represents a blend of cultural traditions and modernity which affects greatly all spheres of life. Unique and outstanding symbols are reflected in pieces of art such as small figures, ceremonial masks and head dresses (appendix 1,2 ,3). These differences create a conflict between old and new cultural frames forcing many people to adapt to these changes. On the one hand, Native American culture reflects a unique faith and rituals followed by Native Americans fro thousands years. On the other hand, modernity creates a conflict between ‘alien’ cultural influences and technological, social and economic changes. For instance, an outstanding art of Iroquois is represented by Wampum. Using it, people wrote down thir historical tales and chronicled social events. The Pueblo, for instance, are famous for their dancing ceremonies. The kachina dances are based on unique religious traditions and secular knowledge of the society. The Navajos are famous for their sand paintings based on spiritual beliefs and unique cultural vision of reality.

The culture of Native American tribes is closely connected with their geographical location. The location of the Umatilla, Walla Walla and Cayuse people contributed to the fact that these people were often go-betweens for the plains people and the other people. As for the Umatilla communities, these people show the tendency to trade posts for travelling Indian bands. As a result, many feasts and religious celebrations were held among all these people. The Umatilla are a Sahaptin-speaking Native American group is lives on Umatilla Indian Reservation. This tribe is known to be traditionally inhabited the Columbia Plateau region. (Umatilla (tribe). Also, there are a number of places and geographic features that can be prescribed to a particular tribe. One of these features is the tribe belonging to Umatilla River, Umatilla County, and Umatilla National Forest. As for McNary Dam, this person was almost named Umatilla Dam. Planning and Designing the Transfer Station The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have been analyzed in the course of 10 years. At present, the north-eastern Oregon reservation has all rights to be considered a successful waste management system. This system exists with the aim to provide people with the enough opportunities to increase their wait time (Singletary, 1997).

Agriculture, as part of national culture, was the main part of life. A strong impact of national culture can be explained by the fact that the traditions take place within the context of the geographical setting, and the effective social relations depend upon its culture and climate, morale and commitment of people. As for the tribal leaders these people first began to explore disposal alternatives. This measure has been taken during the 1980s. This fact was very important since it helped people to realize that the tribal landfill was filling up. In addition, people have all rights to realize that the existing landfill did not meet the new federal requirements. Many of these requirements are scheduled to go into effect in 1991. As a result of these changes many leaders considered an opportunity of building a new landfill or incinerator. This was largely so because tribal members did not manage to generate enough waste. This fact is very important since it can help people to justify whether they should use this or that options. In addition, many tribes were known for recognizing the fact that they could not afford to purchase the large tract of land needed. This fact was very important since it helped people to install the required liner system, and maintain a new landfill. What people did instead was constructing a transfer station (Pritzker, 2000).

The native music is monophonic. The main musical instruments, popular among Americans, are flutes, whistles, drums, rattles and guitar. Most of these issues reflect traditional patterns of beliefs and practice. In spite of great changes in social consciousness, religious traditions of Native Americans become a part of popular couture. Most of the stories include such symbols as cows and sacred places, spirituality and dharma. These facts show that century old traditions and values have not disappeared and still alive for many people. Their beliefs accelerate the cultural processes by transcending religious boundaries and bringing their messages and traditions to society. Followers of Native traditions transmit their knowledge and traditions from one generation to another keeping in secret rituals and rites. Traditional patterns of beliefs and practice penetrate music and fine arts, literature and cuisine. In most case, old traditions and values represent a way of thinking followed by thousands of Native Americans. From childhood, people are influenced by cultural norms which limit the impact of globalization and westernization on their society (Singletary, 1997).  It is possible to distinguish two levels of influence: social and individual. Social influences embrace culture, subculture and social class, while individual influences comprise the members of community more immediate social environment of reference groups and the family. Beliefs and religious rituals play a role in shaping the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of Native Americans. For instance, students “integrated classical elements into folk music” and dancing trying to keep traditions and authentic meaning of movements and rhythms. To some extent, this issue shows that the government and officials make great attempts to preserve unique cultural traditions and values of their nation (Oberg, 2003).

Old norms and morality is in conflict with modernity because most of the modern values have been borrowed from other cultures and do not reflect native beliefs and rituals of Native American people. These facts vividly portray that Native Americans try to separate themselves form American community in all possible ways resisting cultural penetration of American values into their ‘sacred’ traditions. Native Americans call this phenomenon “culture clash” explaining that this a reaction to the processes of integration in the world. Kootenai Indians are a unique population inhabited North Idaho, North Montana and North Colombia. Similar to other tribes, Kootenai suffer from national inequalities and discrimination, lack of government support and healthcare services, etc. Kootenai Indians belong to Native North Americans who inhabited the lands mentioned above sine 18th century  The clothing of this period vividly portrays traditions and national characters of tribes (appendix 4) (Pritzker, 2000).

In Native American culture, women are usually not part of the entertainment scene. They carry on with their own social lives, and they are not involved in business with foreigners. Equality of women is a negligible value in Native American culture. The core of Native American culture is language. The desire to maintain both the Native Americans and the Islamic identity is prominent not only in political circles, but also among Native American people). Most members of this society perceive European and American traditions as “another” social orders and rules which exist outside their culture. To some extent, Indian culture includes both conscious and unconscious religious beliefs and practices, the combination of religion traditions and distinct social rules (Oberg, 2003). Rule of separation and faith play an important role in social activities, because it is the things that people think, it is the things they believe in, it is the things that motivate them; it is the things that make them what they are. The conflict occurs because unique ideology of Native American culture and other religions closely connected with social rules and faith and prevents outside influences. Indigenοus people represent a unique cοmbinatiοn οf historical,, cultural, pοlitical, religious and diverse national influences. Understanding οf the land and the traditiοns shaped American culture brining unique beliefs and aspiratiοns fοllοwed and shared by native people. This survival οf a link between spirituality and ethnic identity helps tο understand the way Americans tend tο think and act (Hapiuk, 2001).

Another unique culture feature is tribal structure. Strict social differentiation is typical for the Native Americans. The traditional model of classes is meant to separate the society such that each class is expected to conform to its own societal model: a culturally approved pattern of behavior. The Native American class structure, however, does not separate people as much in behavior as in power, prestige and esteem. A Native American class signifies the cultural status of a family and, in extension, historically a tribe. An individual’s status, even his or her identity, is based on this social system. Such cultural status should not be confused with legal status, even if there may be relations. In the Native American type of culture, people are born into extended families or clans (Singletary, 1997).  Children are socialized in this kind of family structure and become closely identified with family and kin. Among the Native Americans, there is a deep commitment to family honor, loyalties and responsibilities. This tribal-based social structure is also very rigid in Native American culture. Friendship is determined by social relationships and mainly ‘locals’ (not ‘cosmopolitans’) will be found in influential positions. However, in order for this to work, the social structure must be very stable. One consequence is common, that is, privileges are unevenly distributed; Native Americans live in a collectivistic culture, but it is not egalitarian. It may even be that ordinary citizens are considered incompetent versus the authorities and that there is a pessimism about the ability to control politicians’ decisions. Also, if differences develop between people’s values and the social order, this may lead to pressure toward an even stronger social order (fundamentalism), rarely towards more individualism. There is more emotional resistance to change in the Native American type of culture and problem-solving procedures follow precedent or adapt old procedures to new situations (Oswalt, 2000).


In modern mass media, the main issues discussed in fiction and news reporting concern the role and impact of globalization and technological revolution on old traditions, changing values and views of people. Many reporters and authors describe that religion and popular culture interact in television and mass market novels, entertainment and film industry. For instance, Indian sacred celebrations are nothing more than a direct impact of old traditions on popular culture. The main stories include art, religion, holidays, celebrations, new treatment methods, food, etc.  Most of news reporting and fiction emphasize the importance of century old traditions and religion for contemporary generations who see national traditions and values as things of the past. Departure from tradition is generally presumed to be bad until proved otherwise. Native American culture is a clear example of where modernization is not the same as Westernization. American themes are not, in general, good sales arguments among the Native American people. The value pattern in traditional societies also sets a limit to technology transfer possibilities. Native Americans are very proud: they are proud of their culture, people and achievements. They expect others to pay respect to what they are and what they have done. Nothing will motivate a Native American more than giving him pride.

Jun 18 2012 , 6:11
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