I have a lot of respect for Native Americans — people who populated this land before the first European Caucasian set foot on these shores.
History rarely mentions it, but countless thousands of those Indians were killed by illness and carried in the boats of those early traders. However before that, the American Indian had a thriving culture, in tune with nature and appreciative of the beauty around them.
Of all the cultures mentioned as “primitive” by supposedly civilized society, this is the culture we all know the most about. However at a similar time, we all know little about them. Sadly, history and Hollywood has not treated the Native Americans fairly, portraying them as a barbaric culture, largely responsible for attacking white settlers and committing atrocities on them.
There are most likely countless things regarding survival that we can learn from the American Indians. Here are several:
Nature Has Everything You Need
The Indians had to get everything they needed from nature, and they did. Whether it absolutely was flint to begin a fire or animal skins to make clothes, they found everything they needed in the world around them. Few people would be ready to survive if we were just dumped in the wilderness with nothing. except for the Indians, that was simply lifestyle.
It is necessary to note here that the Indians were happy with what nature provided. While several Indian cultures used gold and silver, they weren’t seeking to amass wealth to themselves. They were happy with the lives they had, and not wanting anything more.
Fathers, Teach Your Children
Survival was an all-encompassing task for the Indian. One of a father’s responsibilities was to show his sons how to survive. There wasn’t a college to which they could send their children; they’d to show them on their own. If a father was negligent in teaching his son, the son would most likely die.
The number of skills the average American Indian needed to learn was actually rather extensive. Since they’d no trade centers as we know the term, they had to create everything they needed. An Indian who needed a canoe had to know how to build it himself. Same for his bow, his arrows and his knife.
If you and i don’t teach our kids the survival skills we are learning, we are preparing them for failure. You won’t be there forever to protect them. At some point in time, they will need to make it on their own. that will be the test of whether you’ve trained them well or not.
Live in Harmony with Nature
If there were ever people who lived in harmony with their surroundings, it was the American Indian. They took what they needed from nature, however did so while not destroying nature. They learned the sounds and movements of the animals and could read their signs. More than anything, they studied everything around them.
There were always tribes which were friendly to the white man. We all know the Indians educated the Pilgrims how to plant and cultivate. Had it not been for the information of the Indians, and their understanding of nature, the us would have died aborning. Their information of nature was unsurpassed and became the foundation of the many learned works, written by scholars who learned from them.
When American Indians killed an animal, they used every bit of it they could. They weren’t wasteful. You ne’er saw an Indian village with a garbage dump beside it. Everything had its use and the Indians were amazingly clever to find those uses. Even internal organs from the animals could be used, creating containers out of them to carry water or to store medical herbs.
The Indians also understood that what they had these days may not be there tomorrow. When they had food to eat, they ate well, banking up extra for the time when they wouldn’t have food. Winters were hard on them, but they made do mostly by conserving food in the summer and fall.
We see this in the westward growth as well. The first pioneers didn’t throw anything away. An old shirt that couldn’t be repaired anymore became a rag. A burlap sack became a towel. People brought their baskets to the general store to go shopping and they used everything they had. The waste in our modern society, particularly the ideas of disposable items and planned obsolescence, merely add to our final downfall.
Probably one of the worst things that white men did to the Indian was to teach him to be dependent on manufactured product. While those goods were in many ways superior to what the Indians had, that dependence played a part in their final downfall.
Indians made what they needed; they didn’t buy it or trade for it. If a person needed a knife, he would create one. If he needed a teepee, he had to kill enough animals to have the skins. In a culture where everything is handmade out of materials gleaned from nature, one can survive alone, without the massive infrastructure that we depend on these days. We would be better off at surviving if we were ready to do a lot of for ourselves, rather than depending on others.
The Indians may have been the inventors of situational awareness. They knew when enemies were about by the reactions of the birds and squirrels. They could tell when a storm was coming. Indians would see things in the world around them that you and i would pass over, without a moment’s notice. Living in harmony with nature requires knowing her moods and truly seeing what’s happening around you. Survival makes this a requirement. Often, the only distinction between the living and the dead is who sees who first. this is true for animals and it’s true for humans, too.
The Apache Indians were masters of guerrilla warfare. Stories have been told of Apaches who crept up on a person dozing, holding the reigns of his horse, and stealing the horse, while leaving him sitting there sleeping. how could they do this? By mixing in with their surroundings and moving slowly.
The whole idea of camouflage is one that came naturally to the Indian. Their skin color and attire lent itself to hiding in the environment. They knew a way to move without attracting attention and had the patience to move slow enough so as not to catch the eye.
Blending in helps us to avoid attracting attention. In a survival scenario, that can be invaluable. Simply avoiding being seen by others can greatly increase chances for survival. That means learning how to look like the environment around you, as well as moving as a part of that environment.
Learn the Medicinal Value of Plants
The only drugs that the Indians had was the plants around them. While they’d their medicine men who were specialists in using those plants, most Indians had at least some rudimentary information of herbal medicine. After all, they’d be observing everything the medicine man did.
Modern medicine is an evolution of herbal medicine. In the past, doctors gathered herbs and plants which they used as medicines. Several of today’s trendy medicines are simply artificial copies of things found in nature. several of the medicines we need are there waiting for us. We just need to learn which plants to use and how to prepare them for treating our desires.