Native Americans in Contemporary Society

The population in the United States has increased steadily in the 20th century. In 1990 the number of Native Americans was almost two million, 8 percent of the total population. Slightly more than one third live on a reservation; about half live in urban areas. Indian reservations function as independent governments within the federal framework. Among many of the Native Americans, there are many musical styles, singing is the dominant form of musical expression, with instrumental music serving primarily as rhythmic accompaniment. Throughout the Americas the principal instruments have been drums, flutes, and whistles.

The American Indian lived life in love with nature. Their wisdom showed in everything, their capacity for harmony with the environment, what they wore, what they created, what they ate and how it was prepared, in their philosophies and beliefs. Music and dance were confined to the native world or offered in tourist attractions as an illustration of a lifestyle unknown to many people. Over the past few years there has been a heightened interest in all Indian things, such as in their art. Expression in the art and dance among North American people this part of life in the form of function and eremony as it is decoration or performance.

Today the Indian Arts have been discovered, and a large cross section of humanity is enjoying its intrinsic excellence, vitality, originality and tradition they offer to the heart and head. Mens Traditional Dance: They danced with exaggerated movement above the waist to simulate hunting, tracking, or fighting, but heavy grounded, flat footed loser body. This dance originated with members of warrior societies on the Great Plains. Costumes includes an eagle feather bustle and hair roach made of porcupine quills. Womens Traditional Dance:

This dance is extremely reversed in nature, simply a single or double step done in a circle. Sometimes as a up and down movement is done while standing in place. Costumes for womens traditional dance also remains tribal specific, and sometimes with elaborate beadwork on a long buckskin or trade cloth dresses. Stomp Dances: This dance they get into nature by way of rhythm and it can make your body healthier and relieve stress. Native Americans believe then and still believe now that when the body works in harmony with nature, the natural rhythms of the body and spirit work together.

It is that energy that makes one whole. In the Native stomp dances, in the habitats of the native homelands, when they get into rhythm with nature then your body becomes healthier, your mental stress is relieved and you become a whole person spiritually and physically. Healing: It is hard for us to believe that ancient people knew more about their world than we know about ours. We think or we presume that our knowledge has not only caught up with theirs but surpasses it. And yet those primitive people may have known more about healing and preventing disease than we give them credit for.

Their medicine was a combination of faith, blind luck and relying on the good earth, or basically relying on what was there. What nature provided was all there, there wasnt a corner drugstore, not even medical specialists. They knew what would keep them from getting sick and what potions would ease the pains of snake bites and rheumatism and child birth, even what would heal the wounds of arrows and gunshot wounds, and other scars from battles in their daily living. Many centuries of trial and error taught them what leaves, herbs, roots, smoke, heat, and even faith could do.

They knew what could cure them and what could kill them. It was natural healing, and now, centuries later, the world is returning to it. We ( western civilization ) are in the middle of an interesting contradiction. We have the most advanced medical systems in the world, with exotic machines and drugs and even drug therapies that could not have ever been imagined even fifty years ago. And yet, there is a tendency to go back to old approaches. Why? There are many reasons: Medical care has become too expensive, too impersonal and people are searching for different alternatives.

Almost every Indian culture believed that every mountain had a soul, every tree, every rock, every living creature and the Great Spirit flowed through all, keeping nature and mankind in perfect balance. Religious beliefs and daily life were intertwined, embodied by the medicine men, the priest, the magicians, and the healers whose knowledge and rituals were handed down through centuries. The medicine bag was the symbol of their status and authority, in which they carried their healing secrets. Even today,with everything we know, their secrets still remain secrets.

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