Truly, what is known about Native American cultures is really quite limited. The reason is because all of history that was accepted as fact is primarily written through the eyes of the dominant culture.
Only in recent years – say around the last 70 years – has there been a new interest in the interpretation of how history in the United States was written. For instance, when a battle or war was reported from the perspective of a reporter…if the battle was won it was a victory, but if the battle was lost it was a massacre.
This type of reporting always kept the “enemy” in an inhumane place, maintaining the distance necessary to perpetuate the encroachment on a people that have existed on this continent for thousands of years…and the thought of a power/right to take whatever is necessary for the benefit of a dominant society.
This mindset is very limited because it only allows the development of what is known and not the application of what other approaches on any situation can be obtained. In other words, I’ll give you an example…
There was a woman who used to cook a pot roast. She would first buy the pot roast then meticulously cut a section off the front and back of the roast before seasoning it and cooking it for her family.
When asked why she did this she would respond ‘This is the way my mother taught me.’
Curious about the reason, she called her mother and asked, ‘Why do we cut the front and back off a roast before cooking it?’
Her mother said, ‘I don’t know. It’s the way your grandmother taught me.’
Now, fortunately, her grandmother was still around. So they called her and asked what was the tradition about cutting off the front and back of a pot roast?’
For a moment there was silence on the line and then the grandmother responded by saying it wasn’t a tradition at all…she did this because it was the only way the pot roast would fit in the largest pan she had in her cupboard.
So to answer the question ‘What is known about Native American cultures?’ is only what has been based on documented interviews of inumerous individuals of Native descent. And even some of these documents are vague in the accuracy of the truth of a Nation and the historical events that have been written in the accepted books of today.
As with all information my guess is the best way to judge a book is intuitively.
If you’d like to experience the beauty and wisdom of Native American cultures, read The Journey (Babamadizwin): Lighting Your Path With Native Wisdom.
Gakina-awiiya (We are all related),
Chief Robert TallTree
“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth and heal each other.” – Ojibwe