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View Poll Results: what is your favorite 'culture area'?
Northeast 9 16.67%
Southeast 4 7.41%
Great Plains 14 25.93%
Southwest 13 24.07%
Great Basin 0 0%
California 1 1.85%
Plateau 1 1.85%
Northwest Coast 9 16.67%
Subartic 0 0%
Artic 3 5.56%
Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 12th, 2014, 02:42 PM   #1

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Your favorite American Indian culture

So, I've never really figured out what these types of threads are supposed to accomplish. I guess they just get us talking about the subject in general. So, let's start talking

Non-Indians have used a number of different ways to classify Indians. The most accurate method, I presume, is based on language affiliations. An outdated method was to categorize Indian nations based on their methods of obtaining food. The most popular method to appear in most history books, however, is dividing them regionally, based on the kind of landscape they live(d) in.

Very broadly speaking, the nations of each of these 'culture areas' resembled each other in their material culture and way of life. The 'Great Plains' culture area reigns supreme in the public conscious. However, many well-known Indian nations, such as the Cherokee, Apache, and Iroquois Confederacy, hailed from every corner of the North American continent.

So, which of these culture areas do you enjoy studying the most?

Its a tough choice for me. The Northwest Coast and the Northeast are the two regions that are most interesting for me (though I'll also include the Plateau, for the sake of the Nez Perce).

I'll vote for the Northwest Coast. Their material culture looks very alien, and especially beautiful.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 12:09 AM   #2

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I have always fascinated by the Apache and the Comanche.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 12:29 AM   #3

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Indigenous cultures is why I gave up my crappy-ish job as a barman twenty odd years ago.

Dunno what it was, just listenin' to it all day long, something finally dawned on me - that the 'customers' trapsin in day in day out and spillin their family sagas out for the whole world to see - and without a bother on them touched the rawest nerve in me - it was just the primitivest most beautiful purest stuff u can imagine, reminded me of hoolies in me aunt Fran's at NY's, or Sunday's when we'd all gather at the gran parents, lit the fire again sez im doin anthro me what?

Yaw ... mes an anthro me pologist.

Daz wha me dun ... five yar no barbinnin nose more.

Up to me winders in Boasian stuff ... an all like mister, then the druggies in the inner shitty -

Anthro this anthro that ... couldn't bear it any longer.

So I re-morphed ...not for the last time.

Native Americans, yup. They're my long-time pals.
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Old September 17th, 2014, 01:25 AM   #4
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It would have to be the folks I was raised with, though I must say I don't find it fascinating in the exotic way described by some Americans.

Anyway, a'ho (thanks) for this.
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Old September 17th, 2014, 04:38 AM   #5

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Being from the Southwest, I'm naturally interested in history of the region. The ranch where I grew up was in Apache land. We learned to ride, shoot, and survive in the Sonora Desert early. How did the Apache do it? We felt a kinship with them for the land, and their customs, to us, were pretty rational. We played at cowboys and Indians, but in our games the Indians frequently won. Later we played soldier, and fought WWII at home while the men were gone to war.

Later still, we went away ourselves to see the world, to experience the rolling seas and big cities. Loved the sea, especially mornings sitting up in the 51 mount eating stolen biscuits dripping with honey. Was fascinated by the big cities with their narrow canyons and towering cliffs. But, oh the noise and hordes of scurrying people conditioned never to look at anyone else directly. I missed the spareness, the cleanliness of life in the desert where there was no work or opportunity for young men without a college education. I fixed that by grabbing up degrees, had several meaningful careers, but came back again and again to the Southwest. After accumulating my pile, we retired to Albuquerque.

Here, much of our focus is on the Pueblo Culture along the Rio Grande, and westward to Hopi and Navajo lands. We collect pottery, weavings, Katsinas, and ... oh lordy ... books far beyond anything reasonable. Love our home country, and all the peoples who have loved it before us.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 01:03 PM   #6

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Interesting post Asherman (and everyone), thank you.

I've noticed the 'Sub-Artic culture area' never seems to get much publicity. I don't know if that's because of the comparative lack of Indian-white warfare farther north, or maybe its just because I don't live in Canada.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 01:18 PM   #7

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I can't choose one. As a kid i read James Alexander Thom's biography of Tecumseh and the Shawnee were the first native people that i got interested in. But apart from the era of Tecumseh and the years after his death, i never gathered much information about them.

Apart from the Shawnee, i loved to read about the great plains peoples, the pueblo Indians and the Iroquois. But my knowledge of them is superficial at best.

My dad, as a kid, was obsessed with Karl May and Old Shatterhand and he thought he was an Indian himself. When he was an adolescent he dressed like a generic Indian, built himself a tipi (or wigwam as he calls it) and practically lived in it, according to my aunts and uncles. The cops were his cowboys...
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Old September 24th, 2014, 05:30 PM   #8
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I'm interested in the Lakota Sioux in North America.

I read Black Elk Speaks in 11th grade. I was a library aide and i noticed all these books on the approved reading list but never touched, in pristine condition. I read it and realized why teachers probably didn't use it.

The story is John G. Neidhart was trekking between Indian Reservations in the 1930's and came across Black Elk, a shaman of the Lakota Sioux who was very important to the Ghost Dance movement in the 1890's, and was probably the only Sioux present at Custer's Last Stand as well as Wounded Knee.

Black Elk sees Neidhart and decides to share his biography and theology with him. I won't spoil anything else but regardless of it's dubious historical/ research value or whatever it's a great read. There is criticism from native theologians as well as scholars.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 05:46 PM   #9

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I voted Northwest coast but really Im rather interested in the Innu and the peoples of the Great Lakes (mostly because thats where I live and have hadmany friends from these peoples). The thing with the Innu is that their culture is so ranging from across Siberia to Canada and the US over to Greenland, so to me the differences between these far ranging groups is interesting. Also, having had friends from as far north as Iqaluit, the difference in lifestyle is astounding. The prices they pay up there, the throat singing, the art is also esxceptional... artistry and carving is a major thing up north.

Last edited by BenSt; September 24th, 2014 at 05:50 PM.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 07:13 AM   #10

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We have connections to the Iroquois due to my father's family up in New England. However, I know very little about them, only what I have read in books about the French and Indian War and the immediate aftermath leading to the Revolution.

I studied the great civilizations of Meso-America leading up to the arrival and defeat by Cortez. That was a fascinating class, and with so many people that I live, work, study, and play with being from parts of what is now Mexico and Guatemala we have a lot of things to talk about.

My father went back to school in his 30s and got a BA in anthropology and archaeology, and during that time had to learn the various nations around North America -- pre-Euro invasion I should add. He also would attend AIM meetings, and went to some conferences, but we are not able to (nor would we even apply) join any tribes. He has always had a great respect for the peoples who lived here before us, just as he has a great respect for all people and cultures.

I would love to learn more about the people from Cahokia. I wondered about any parallels between that great city outside of what is now St. Louis, and the great cities of the civilizations I studied last semester at the university here.

I wonder if we have a thread here on the people of Cahokia and the history of that city?
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