Christmas Traditions Celebrated by the Tribes of the Southwest

Christmas Traditions Celebrated by the Tribes of the Southwest

The holidays are a beautiful blend of yuletide charm and spiritual reflection for the people of the Southwest. Here, we explore some of these interesting Christmas traditions. Pueblo Dances After the conversion of the pueblo people to Catholicism during the 16th century, a merging of cultures took place. Christmas Mass and spiritual Native American traditions… Continue Reading

The Native American Tradition of Counting Coup

The Native American Tradition of Counting Coup

Counting coup is best described as a game of strategic warfare and, in many cases, it was considered a game of intertribal warfare. This was a tradition practiced by Native Americans of the Great Plains, and earning counting coup status was the highest honor a warrior could receive during combat. When the warrior was close… Continue Reading

Meaning of the Gourd Rattle in Native American Culture

Meaning of the Gourd Rattle in Native American Culture

Gourds are crafted by Native American artisans and they have been utilized to make many items, including birdhouses, pottery, and musical instruments. The gifting of a gourd rattle is a spiritual tradition; the rattle must be handled with care, as it is highly symbolic. Here we describe the histories of a few of the gourd… Continue Reading

Native American Courting Rituals

Native American Courting Rituals

Unlike today’s western civilization, where droves of people flock to social media sites to find life-long companions, the Native American people courted in a more localized fashion. While the ritual was displayed publicly, the men and women were able to forge an intimate bond that carried significant meaning within their tribes, as courting rituals often… Continue Reading

Native Americans and Totem Poles

Native Americans and Totem Poles

Native American tribes of the northwest coast, like the Haida, often built and carved totem poles as tall as 40 feet. What was the significance behind doing so? Totem poles were a sign of wealth Totem poles were built and placed outside homes to display families’ status, ancestry and social rank. They were a sign… Continue Reading

Dream Walking in Native American Culture

Dream Walking in Native American Culture

Dreams are significant to Native American cultures as they open new worlds beyond a normal comprehension of reality. Once dream realms are opened, dreamwalkers work within them to heal, teach, and unite with elderhearts. The ways in which dreamwalkers enter these worlds are very fascinating. Shaman Ritual Shamanism is practiced all over the globe, not… Continue Reading

The Importance of Shapeshifting in Native American Culture

The Importance of Shapeshifting in Native American Culture

When people hear the word, “shapeshifter,” they may think of supernatural figures like witches and werewolves. But the spiritual practice of shapeshifting travels well beyond a mythical and supernatural scope. What is Shapeshifting? A non-Native study of shapeshifting posits that the practice was used by medicine people and shamans to transform into part animal to… Continue Reading

How was Native American Day Celebrated?

How was Native American Day Celebrated?

Native American Day is crucial to the continued preservation efforts of the 100 federally recognized tribes in California and the nine that exist in the state of South Dakota. The Midwest began celebrating Native American Day in place of Columbus Day when legislation was passed during the late 80’s. Each state celebrates the holiday differently,… Continue Reading