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Native Americans Essay

1229 words - 5 pages

Native Americans have inhabited this country for many generations. There are so many things that have been influenced by the Native Americans. The Native American culture is one of the richest cultures in American history. The Native Americans have a history rich in struggle, aggression, and conquest. Out of the many Indian tribes of the past, none have been more interesting than the Cherokee Indian Tribe. The Cherokee Indians were originally located in the southeast United States (“Native American Culture”). This area included: the western sides of the Carolinas, the northern parts of Georgia and Alabama, southwest Virginia, and the Cumberland Basin. The Cherokee Indians have amazing art, dance celebrations, and a very vast and unique religious and spiritual belief system.
The Cherokee Indians are very famous for their art. Types of art include: clay pots, carved pipes, canoes, masks, rattles, clothing, baskets, and beads. The eastern band of the Cherokee Indians has the longest continuing pottery tradition on their original land of any tribe in the United States (“Traditions”). When making pottery you first pulverize the dried clay and mix it with water. After mixing the dried clay with water, Cherokee craftsmen would mold their clay into whatever shape they wanted it to be. Some examples of shapes include: bowls, cups, and vases. Carved wooden paddles were often used to imprint designs and smooth the surfaces to make them waterproof. They were fired in pits of burning bark and native woods (“Traditions”). The color was determined by the kind of wood used in the fires. Basket making is another very important art form from the Cherokee Indian tribes. Cherokee women are often the ones that do the basket making. The materials used by the Cherokee include: cane, white oak, hickory bark, and honeysuckle (“Traditions”). Originally the only two materials used for dyes were black walnut and blood root. Butternut has been added for black, yellow root for yellow, and broom sedge for orange. There are several varieties of Cherokee baskets. The most popular style seen today in the eastern tribes is the double-wall variety (“Traditions”). This basket is woven from buck brush, honeysuckle, or commercially-manufactured reed (“Traditions”). Natural plant dyes are used to color the baskets. These plants include: bloodroot, walnut, poke and many others.
Another amazing fact about Cherokee culture is the Stomp Dance. The Stomp Dance is the traditional religious dance of the Cherokee Indians. The term "Stomp Dance" in English refers to the shuffle and stomp movements of the dance. Stomp dances are performed several times during the year. Typically they are performed in the summer months and are timed according to a ritual calendar specific to each community and its ceremonial ground (“Stomp Dance”). Fire is very sacred to traditional Cherokee stomp dancers. The fire is built at the bottom of a pit below the ground, and burns constantly throughout the night....

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