As you probably already know, there are a great number of Native American languages, and the Mohawks pride themselves on theirs. That said, it is dwindling and the number of people who speak this language is being referred to as “threatened” these days. So, if you can, have a go at learning it after all, Alexander Bell did!
This scientist who has been attributed with the honor of inventing the telephone always had a fascination with voice, and this became ever more prominent when he cam across some people of the Mohawk tribe in the Six Nations Reserve. There, he learned the language, and put it into the written word. Suffice to say, he was awarded the title “honorary chief”!
It’s all in a Name
As someone who isn’t part of an American Indian tribe, I was surprised to learn this snippet of information. Over the years, people have had to endure all sorts of “labels” such as American Indian or (as Columbus did), simply, Indian. In fact, it was Columbus himself who first mistook the indigenous people of America as Indians, and this is where the phrase came from.
Later, Native American was used much more widely, to stop any confusion between the people of America and Asia. However, it appears that many people from this noble decent would much rather be referred to by their tribe in addition to their birth name.
The Flint Knapper Heroes
This was yet another phrase I hadn’t come across – Flint Knapper. This was the name given to the men who worked tirelessly to create the tools used in years gone by. As the name suggests, flint was a stone widely used along with wood. These men were invaluable to the tribe because they made tools to deal with just about every task from hunting to art.
Remember that everything was built by hand, so it was important to make sure you had a reliable tool to do it with. Of course, these days you only have to pay a visit to the Sharp Cut, so you can find the right one for the job. That said, I’ll bet most descendants of Native Americans still prefer the old-fashioned methods for smaller jobs.
Bend a Tree? yes you can!
Well, I doubt modern day man would be able to bend a tree, or even want to. However, there are many scientists who insist Native Americans are responsible for the phenomenon known as “bent trees”. These are fascinating to see, and quite remarkable in terms of innovativeness. It’s believed that men from the tribe would find a tree whilst it was still a sapling and bend it.
What for? I hear you cry. Well, as they grew the trunk would stick out at right angles before standing straight up in the air. These were strategically “bent” so the locals wouldn’t get lost. In fact, they were used to mark all sorts of things like where best to cross a river, or the best trail to follow for hunting. It’s thought this method of “tracking” was responsible for saving lives on many an occasion.
Take a Lesson in Respecting the Land
Many tribes are well-known for their attitude to the natural world around them, and it may surprise you (or not) to know farming was yet another skill that Native Americans excelled in. For instance, they successfully farmed corn, beans and squash by planting them in the same place. This may sound a little confusing, but the system really worked.
All three of these plants compliment each other during the growing process. Squash grows along the ground which is the perfect answer to keeping weeds at bay. Beans on the other hand produce nitrogen which is vital for fertile soil and of course, the corn provides the perfect structure for the beans to climb. How they knew this I really couldn’t tell you, but I think there are many modern-day farmers who should take a “leaf” out these farmers’ book.
Don’t Destroy – Nurture!
This isn’t a little-known fact (or at least it shouldn’t be), but I believe we have a lot to learn from Native Americans and how they used to live. After all, they were and still are about respecting the world around us which is something sadly missing in most parts of the world today.