I am a child with a history. My background is traceable to Native American Indians; people considered the oldest to have lived in America before the pre-colonial days. We are people who are confused to have close relations with the Indian people. Some refer to us as Indians based on different stories and mythologies often told about us. In real sense, we originated from America. We have our own history, culture, beliefs, and traditions that distinguish us from other Americans (Leco, 2012). Many people have changed their original ethnicities because globalization is continually affecting cultures. Traditions have long been swept away, and only people are left to tell about their past. As opposed to most cultures in America, our culture is still a feature among our people. In some cases, some of our practices have been adapted in modern society. We are a people who appreciate our origin and maintain our heritage by passing on beliefs and traditions to our children.
Many tribes claim to be the Native American people. My tribe is primarily based in the United States. I come from the Shoshone tribe. Shoshone is a name with an Indian related meaning: literally, a Snake nation. Our tribe is split in to three: West, East, and North bands living in the Rockies. We settled in the present day California before the 19th century. Shoshone neighbored other native tribes, namely Paiute, Mewuk, and Cahhilla, among other small tribes (Leco, 2012). We have our own language, beliefs and culture, which differ from those of other tribes surrounding. Each tribe in the ancient days held on to its own beliefs and values. The Northerners were known as the Tukuaduka; meaning sheep eaters. Their largest population is in Eastern Idaho. The Westerns were referred to as Gosuite or Panamint. Their other name is Toi Ticuitta translated as the cattail eaters. They occupied Wyoming and Northeastern Utah. Easterners dominated the North Colorado and Montana of Wyoming location. Our tribe was renowned due to Sacagawea who became the most popular member of the tribe and a famous Native American woman.
The Physical Environment around My People
My people were known to have a relationship with the environment. They lived very close to the land having mutual connections with all living and non-living creatures. We believed in taking care of all resources provided by nature (Lewis, 1995). We had sacred places where we marked our spirituality and sacred supernatural aspects. We worshiped and believed in our god, Appah, whom we prayed to and praised at sunrise. We believed that sunrays would send our prayers to Appah.
Shoshone people lived in the Great Plains practicing a nomadic lifestyle (Wishart, 2011). They had the mountain and coastal plain regions. Some places were swampy, while others were flowing with rivers, for instance, the Snake River. Two seasons were important to us: summertime, which was sunny days and winter seasons that were extremely cold. The climate was sunny and sometimes rainy, depending on the season. We planted beans, potatoes, tomatoes, chilies, squash and corns together with other plants like wildflower, shrubs, and fall panic grass among others. Our landscape and natural resources later began to dwindle because of diseases and a swelling population (Lewis, 1995).
The Main Traditional Lifestyle before Industrialization
Our lifestyle before the industrialization was simple and easy to observe. Our dressing mode differed depending on yearly variation of seasons. In summer, women dressed in small clothes that resembled the present day apron. Men put on loincloths, which were light enough for the hot season. In winter, we made female clothes and the loincloths from rabbit and others furry animal skins to protect ourselves from the cold (Wishart, 2011). The men in community engaged in hunting, while women engaged themselves in farming and raising children; teaching them discipline without punishment and housekeeping. Men were also leaders in the society and in homesteads. We, the Shoshone, believed in marriage, and married women had to live together with their husbands in houses known as tipi (Helen, Tommaso, Hannah, and Tara, 2012).
Punishment was regarded as a spirit breaker to the Nunumbi’s (young ones). Our children ensured maximum discipline without having to be pushed around by parents or elders (Helen, Tommaso, Hannah, and Tara, 2012). We lived in groups. Each group believed in their own medicine men called the Maya Shamans who acted as priests and healers. Nunumbi’s were taught how to shoot invisible arrows to the people they disliked. They were told tales that taught them moral values. Apart from hunting, the community engaged in trading, fishing, mining at the Snake River, and farming. Transportation was through horses (Wishart, 2011). Europeans later adopted horses for transport in the 1500’s.
Pow Wow Dance as Our Heritage Today
My tribesmen were renowned for the famous Pow Wow dance. Both men and women in the entire community celebrated the dance. It originated from the grass dance. We often performed the dance as a religious function, where we held to the value of religion in honoring and naming ceremonies. In other instances, we traditionally conducted the dance to celebrate a victory in war. At this time, we would try to mimic the events at the battlefield. Hence, the celebration would be an actual recital of what happened in the battlefield to show our fighting techniques and bravery. In other instances, it carried the whole essence of reunion with family and a time to court for the youths. It consisted of visiting, dancing, singing, playing games, welcoming the newly born children and making friendships. Our music was primarily from singers and a drum beat by talented people amongst us.
Connection between the Pow Wow Dance and the Local Environment of my People
The Pow Wow dance was done in a systematic manner as per our traditions and culture. The dance and celebrations has to be blessed before it commences. We considered the abhor (arena) as a sacred place, and it was regarded with utter respect. Our arena had four entries, but dancers entered ar the east, while announcers at the west. The interaction between the native American- Indian people and the non-native Americans led to the modern Pow Wow dance, which differs from our original dance.
Modern society has adapted the Pow Wow dance, which is conducted in schools and other social gatherings. The modern Pow Wow dance is based on common values of both the Native and Non-Native Americans where they meet to sing, dance, socialize and owner our American-Indian culture. Today, the dance is primary seen in dancing competitions where awards are won (Leco, 2012). Such competitions can last for a week. The event is sponsored by schools, campuses, organizations, tribes, insurance, voluntary workers among other supporters. A group of people called the Pow Wow committee organizes it. The competition requires lead singers, host drummers, and the Pow Wow management to offer directions. They are usually dressed in their costumes and traditional attires that resemble our traditional dancing wear. The drums are judged according to their quality during the performances. However, most Pow Wow dances are held in the grounds to honor, respect, custom and charity as elementary values with regards to the Native American.