The Differences of Native American Cultures


The cultures of Native American tribes varied greatly from geographical
region to region. The tribes in the Pacific Northwest had plenty of time to be
involved in intricate forms of art. Great Plains tribes believed in magic
buffalos and were nomadic. Easten Woodlands tribes made some pottery. Great
Basin tribes worshipped the different seasons. Southwest tribes valued peace and
wisdom. California and Baja tribes prized staying in one place and didn\'t like
change.
The geography of the area in which a tribe lived determined the kind of
culture that each tribe developed. The surrounding environments of the different
areas often changed the beliefs of each tribe. Things such as food, plants,
animals, weather, etc. were often a factor in determining culture. Take the
Plains tribe the Cheyenne, for instance. They originated from the area around
Wisconsin. There, they fished, hunted, farmed and gathered like any other
Eastern Woodlands tribe. Later on, they moved to the Great Plains, where they
had the buffalo hunt and the sun dance. Geography affected Cheyenne culture in
this way. The buffalo hunt was created so, since the Great Plains lacked much
food, the Cheyenne could get enough food to survive. Before they arrived at the
plains, the buffalo hunt was unneccesary because of the bountiness of food.
The Inuit people (known incorrectly as eskimos) were, of course, affected
by their geography. Their language consisted of over 50 words for ice. They had
to live in igloos, because of the lack of building resources. Shamans were
popular and had a lot of power because, since food was so scarce, they were
believed to have powers that could help find it.
Pacific Northwest people were obviously affected by their geography. Food
and resources were so plentiful they didn\'t have to spend too much time farming
of gathering food. This gave them time to form very conplex art such as totem
poles. Also, since they had so many resources, every year a potlach was held. A
potlach was acelebration where people gave their possessions to others to
distribute the wealth. The tribes in the Northwest believed in sharing wealth
because of its bountifulness.
These are just a few examples of tribal differences due to geography.
Knowing a tribe\'s geography is the first step to knowing about a tribe.

Category: Social Issues