Indians were the first people to live in America
The Indians had been livng in America for thousands of years until the Europeans arrived
When Christopher Columbus came to America he thought he had found the Indies
So he called the natives of this land Indians

Indians came to America a long time ago

The reason they came to America was because they followed the animals

The daily activities of an Indians life was providing the neccesities to live
The men usually provide the food while the women did the house work

In some places Indians farmed to get food and others hunted and fished

Indians got married at early ages

Indian girls usually would get married from 12 to 15 years old

Indian boys would usually get married from 15 to 20

Parents would choose who they would get married to

There were very few chldren in a family because many died at birth

Indian children were praised when they were good
But when they were bad they were shunned

Boys played many games that made them strong
They also helped their fathers

When a boy was in his early teens he went on a test of strength
He went without food for along period of time
Some people lived without food for a long period of time or lived in the wilderness
In some tribes a boy was supposed to get an image from a spirit
This would become his guardian

Reader's Digest

Think Indian

Think Indian
And you will better understand what our forefathers meant
When they said
"Drink not too excessively of the White Man's fire- water
It can turn a good man into a whimpering fool"

Think Indian
And you will realize that life is good and beautiful
That there is life even in the rocks and the stones
That there is life in the earth
Around the earth
And beyond the earth
That the Creator of All Life is "Kitche Manitou"
The Great Spirit

Think Indian
And you will help to preserve and retain our own native religion and heritage

Think Indian
And you will better be able to commune with nature
And nature will commune with you in return

Think Indian
And you will be helping to build a new kind of unity
And peace among your people

Think Indian
And you will always be respectful
And helpful to your fellow man

Think Indian
And you will always be grateful and proud of your ancestry

Think Indian
And you will never be wasteful
You will never pollute and destroy

Think Indian and you will never take part in thoughtless
Senseless vandalism

Think Indian
And you will learn how to respect
And how to love our Mother
The good earth

Think Indian and you will always be a good conversationist

Think Indian
And you will never need to use the White Man's mind destroying drugs

Native American Dance

Native American dance is unlike most other dances in the world
It is not only a way to have fun but spiritual in itself

Dance can be a form of prayer
A way of expressing joy or grief
And a method of becoming closer with man and nature

Native dancing has been around
Just about as long as the Native American people have been
In ceremony, powwows and just to pass the day and night
The dance also can have healing powers
Not only on the dancer
But on people that the dancer is close to or dancing for
Native American dance is centered around the drum
It beats in time with the heart of Mother Earth
It also provides a base for the song
The drum beat is, as in most dances, the key to Native footwork

Native American Medicine

Therapeutic methods include prayer
Ritual Purification
And ceremonies

Native American healing
And economic concerns are closely intertwined
Intuition and spiritual awareness are the healer's diagnostic tools

And helpers may participate in healing

The goal of Native American healing is to find wholeness
And meaning

Vision Quest
The Journey Within

An old Native American once said
"When you go up on the hill, vision quest
There are four things that you expect

You expect that you will die up on that hill and some have

You expect that you will go crazy
And when they come to bring you back down
There will be nothing left to do but put you in an institution
This also has happened

That you expect that you will disappear completely
And no one will ever see or hear from you again
This also could happen

You expect that you will come back down from the hill"

Vision questing is not for everyone
As the quotation above shows
There are no guarantees or assurances that anyone can give you
That the experience that you have will be good or safe
When we choose to vision quest
We must accept full responsibility for our actions
For the consequences of our actions
And for our decision to follow that path
It is a completely personal decision that is ours alone to make

Not everyone who vision quests will have a vision
In fact most people have no vision at all
Some have a very sweet time of prayer and reflection
A few are blessed to learn to perceive the world in a slightly different way
Most people are strengthened by their experience
When we vision quest
Our intentions are very important

An old Native American medicine person once said
"If a mole comes to you while you are up on the hill
And offers you a good medicine
Tell it 'NO!'

And if a bear walks up to you and says that it will help you
Tell it 'NO!'

And if a buffalo comes to you and offers you a gift
Tell it 'NO!'

And if an eagle comes to you and says that it will give you its spirit
And be your helper
Tell it 'NO!'

Do not accept what any of these might offer you
Hold out for God!
Say 'NO!' to all of those powers and hold out for God!!"
It is good to seek understanding
But do not vision quest to seek power!
The pursuit of power is a dead end path on the edge of madness
Seek God instead!
Seek to have your heart filled with God's love
Dedicate your heart to serve God by dedicating your life in the service of humanity
Do not depend on God to break your fall or to lift you up
These things you must do for yourself
Do not put God to the test
Do not endanger yourself and depend on God to keep you safe

The real test will come when the vision quest is over and your ordinary life resumes
Will you be able to walk in humility while holding the love in your heart?
Do not be too hard on yourself
We all have our faults and shortcomings
We need to learn to recognize and forgive ourselves for these faults and shortcomings
To love ourselves every bit as much as we seek to love God and those around us
We are all worthy of this forgiveness and love
Each and every one of us!

An old Native American medicine person once said that
A Vision Quest can be started and completed in less than five minutes
If the person is ready to let go and open themselves to Creator

The first thing to do in preparing for a vision quest is to choose a helper
Someone who you trust with your life
Your helper will help you to begin and to end your vision quest
They will be responsible for you throughout your vision quest
From time to time they may choose to check on you to see that you are all right
Your helper also has the authority to end your vision quest early
But only if they feel that it is warranted
Being responsible for you during your vision quest
Does not mean that they are in any way to blame if something goes wrong
When your vision quest is ending
You should share the experiences that you had with your helper first and foremost
Your helper may have insights that will help you to process the experience

There are several ways of vision questing
The choice of how to vision quest is up to the person who is going to vision quest
The helper must of course be consulted and must agree with the plans
Some may choose to fast and abstain from all food or drink
This is done for the duration of the vision quest
Others may choose to abstain from everything but water
If a person has special dietary needs such as a diabetic
Their helper may bring them full meals to consume during their vision quest
It is your dedication to the prayers that is most important
The restriction of food and water can help you to focus your prayers better
But this is not essetnial
Only your prayers are essential

The choice of location is up to you
You may choose to vision quest up on a hill
In a cave
Or in a room
You can vision quest in the light
You can vision quest in complete darkness
If you choose to vision quest in complete darkness
Do not be surprised when one day seems like three or four days

There is a technique of vision questing
That involves placing a mirror in front of you with a candle on each side of the mirror
This is done to illuminate your face
You then look at your face in the mirror and quiet your thoughts
Do not be alarmed if your face seems to change
Turns ugly
Or even disappears altogether
Look upon your own face and understand and forgive the darkness within
Learn to accept and love the one that you see

If you have not vision quested before
It is best to do no more than a one day vision quest for your first time
Then do one or two days the next year
As you become more familiar with vision questing and so on
You should not vision quest for more than four days in any event
If you vision quest up on a hill, choose one place and stay there
Do not go wandering about
You are not there to journey and to wander
You are there so that you can return to the center

Be sure to provide for your toilet needs
If you are on a hill
Move out of your area of prayer
Move far enough away so that odors will not disrupt your prayers later
Be sensitive to the environment around you
Return to your place of prayer as soon as you have taken care of your bodily needs

Some feel that it is best to deprive yourself of sleep
For as long as possible when you are vision questing and to pray tirelessly
Others choose to sleep normally
It is up to the indivual making the prayers how they will proceed
It is very difficult to keep prayers going continuously for an entire hour
Let alone a day or more
If you find your thoughts wandering
Don't get discouraged
Just center yourself and start focusing on your prayers again
Don't feel bad
It's all right
Feeling guilty that your thoughts tend to wander
Is worse than letting your thoughts wander
The best method of prayer is to quiet the thoughts and listen attentively
Do not listen to the sounds
Listen to the silence beneath the sounds
Quieting the thoughts is extremely difficult
Our minds want to wander
This is a funciton of desire
If we can let go of our desires
Then we can allow our minds to become completely quiet
We cannot force our minds to become quiet because this requires effort
Effort is a function of our will and our will is guided by what we want or desire
Desire will always take us away from the goal of attaining a quiet mind and an open heart

If you happen to see something or experience something out of the ordinary
Such as a vision
Then recognize and realize that you have been given a great gift
The gift that you have been given is something to be cherished and treasured
It is good to tell your helper about what you experienced
But it is usually best not to tell anyone else
Most people will not understand or even believe the gift that you have received
It is far better to keep the vision inside you
Remember it often
And pray for understanding
You may find that it is a source of great peace and balance in your life
Then if anyone asks you about the time you spent vision questing
You can tell them that it was a very peaceful and beautiful time of prayer
Then just leave it at that

Rare Facts

Did you know that one in every 130 people living in the U.S. today is a Native American?
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado
And Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii are both Native Americans

What do the countries of Paraguay
And Peru have in common?
They all have a Native American language as an official language
In addition to Spanish

During World War II, the Japanese army could not break
The "secret code" of the U.S. Military
The "secret code" was simply A group of Navajo volunteers
Speaking their Native American language on their field radios!

Did you know that the names of over half of the states in the USA
Came from Native American languages?
For example
"Dakota" means "Friendly One" in the Sioux language

"Utah" is the Ute tribe's name for themselves in their language

"Oklahoma" means
"Red People" or "Home Of The Red People" in the Choctaw language
"Kentucky" means "Planted Field" in the Iroquois language

Washington DC our nation's capital
Is built on the banks of a river called the "Potomac"
Which is a Native American word for "where the goods are brought in"

And "Chicago"
Are a few more examples of the many familiar names
That are derived from Native American words

Since Christopher Columbus had never seen anyone smoking before
He was very surprised to observe "Indians" holding "burning leaves" in their mouths
The "Indians" called these strange things "tobacos"

Native Americans used pine sap to help heal cuts
They found that witch hazel tea was a good remedy for sprains and bruises

" Squash" comes from a Native American word "Isquoutersquash"
Which means "green thing eaten green"

"Barbecue" also comes from a Native American word

In prehistoric times
Native Americans had developed a process
By which dried cactus-eating insects could be turned into red dye called cochineal
This "Indian" dye was
One of the most important exports from the New World in the late 16th century
It was highly valued by the European cloth industry for hundreds of years
It was used to dye the red British uniforms in the Revolutionary War

In 1896 the head of the Board of Indian Commissioners said
"To bring the Indian out of savagery and into citizenship
We must make him more intelligently selfish
A desire for property is needed to get the Indian out of the blanket
And into trousers and trousers with a pocket in them
And with a pocket that aches to be filled with dollars"

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