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American Aboriginal Culture

American Aboriginal Culture

The debate surrounding aboriginal American culture has raged across conversations for decades. At the center of the intercontinental American discussion has been the myth that Italian explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. Columbus actually first landed in the Bahamas and later took control of the indigenous populations on the islands of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The ancestors of Native American tribes were thriving cultures long before Columbus sailed. As nomads these people lived in Alaska more than 12,000 years ago. Across the continent of North America, there were more than 50 million aboriginals, with 10 million of that number living in the United States.

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Common Mistakes When Teaching Aboriginal Studies

Common Mistakes When Teaching Aboriginal Studies

The most important thing when teaching – anything – is ethics, teaching from an ethical position in regards to both the subject matter and the students. When instructors plan and execute their lessons from that worldview, the likelihood of problems within the classroom diminishes. However, the inherent challenges involved in teaching Aboriginal Studies can lead to serious pitfalls.

It all begins with what Mary Louise Pratt refers to as contact zones, or spaces where cultures meet and clash. The context for these contact zones often involves power relations between Western cultures and “the other” and are fraught with colonization, slavery, and the aftermaths of those power relations. Within the United States, there are several contact zones, as the history of the United States consists of colonization of Native American Aboriginal lands and the importation of African slaves. Even after so many years, the tension lives on, and every time a students and their instructor encounter a text, cultural representation, or their history, they are entering the contact zone.

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Respect for Aboriginal Culture and Elders

Respect for Aboriginal Culture and Elders

As in so many parts of the world, the history of the interaction between aboriginal peoples and European colonists on the North American continent has been a bloody and complicated one. The violence, injustice, racial prejudice, and deception that ultimately characterized much of this cultural interaction continue to reverberate uncomfortably in the United States and Canada today, all bound up with stark facts of massive disease mortality and large-scale forced relocations—often to completely unfamiliar territory.

Much has been lost of indigenous North American culture: Too many tribes and languages are extinct, and others are so depleted as to be functionally so. Economic and racial inequalities continue to adversely affect aboriginals; many sacred landscapes have been paved over, privatized, or otherwise degraded.

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The Difference in Light Sources

The Difference in Light Sources

The Aboriginal people who used to live on the same land that we do now were certainly very intuitive and imaginative in numerous ways. They discovered creative ways to do so many different things. Without electricity, they found ways of staying warm, communicating and staying entertained. Another thing that they did was find ways to create light after the sun had gone down. It can be interesting to compare how Aboriginals found light sources, versus how we do it nowadays. Some methods are the same, but others have definitely changed a great deal since back then!

Aboriginals Light Sources

Campfire

One of the many tools and main source of light that Aboriginals used was fire. Fire was an essential part of everyday life. It was used to heat, cook, and light up the darkness. Nobody would have survived the winters in the cold, harsh land without fire. Native American tribes would have a large fire burning in their village at all times. It would be everybody’s responsibility to ensure that the fire never went out, and somebody would always be watching it. People would frequently go out to the forest to cut down firewood to feed the flames. Smaller fires would be set up inside the Aboriginal people’s homes. These smaller fires would be used for cooking meat and boiling water. At night, fire would be the only way to see things, aside from the moonlight.

Modern Day Light Sources

Led Light Lamp

These days, we do not usually depend on fire for light. When we walk into a room, we can flip a switch and turn on the light. This is a great thing, because we are able to carry on our tasks into the night. However, it could also be viewed as being something negative. People are staying awake later and later now, because they have the ability to continue working at night. This is not good for our natural sleep cycles, as they are getting disturbed. We use a lot of LED lights for maximum brightness. We can even put LED bars on our cars so that everything is more visible at night! There are many different lightbar reviews online if you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet. Flashlights have also largely replaced fire as a light source for the nighttime hours. They are portable, and therefore can be brought outdoors, or in the woods if you are going camping.

Conclusion

A lot has changed in terms of light sources over the last couple hundred years. Before, it was incredibly difficult to have a portable light source for a long period of time. Aboriginals could use torches, but only up until the fire burned out. We now have the ability to even attach LED light bars to our cars, and drive through the darkness! We have continued to progress and overcome obstacles that stood in our way in the past. If the trend continues as it has been, we will likely be even farther ahead soon!

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The Importance of Fish in Aboriginal Culture

The Importance of Fish in Aboriginal Culture

In modern day culture, the fish is mainly a sign of food. We all know this, and there’s plenty of uses for it. We’re all used to the idea that there are fishing laws affect how we treat fish. Laws of the sea state how we’re allowed to farm fish, while laws of the river dictate whether we can catch and keep fish, or whether they need to be released back to the wild. Culturally, the way we use fish is completely different from, say, the use that aboriginal people get from fish. We’re going to take a look at the differences in this article.

Fish as Pets

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Aboriginal peoples do not keep fish as pets, as such. There is a heavy connection between the species and the culture of the people, but they don’t keep them as pets in the same way that other races of people do. As a wider community, non-Aboriginal people keep fish in tanks. This is commonplace amongst plenty of countries. The tanks are made up of glass, ‘toys’ and pebbles. And it comes with a lot of maintenance like feeding and cleaning to keep the fish healthy. To do this, we use filters to circulate the water. The higher quality, the better. Cascade is a good choice, for example.

Fishing in the Community

Children Fishing

Some of the close bond between fish and Aboriginal people belongs to the fact that fishing is a simple, healthy and easy choice of food. It’s also an important way to promote the strong economy of Aboriginal people and to encourage trade and support from other areas in their countries. Whereas fishing is done as a means to an end for Aboriginals, for non-Aboriginal people, fishing can be done as a hobby or for business. There’s plenty of uses. Between the two communities, fish levels are managed to continually encourage a healthy level of livestock going forward.

Art Culture

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Fish within an artistic culture is strong within the Aboriginal lives. Whereby there is no strong connection for non-Aboriginal people, other than personal preference, the strong livestock and business connection coupled with fish being a steady part of traditional diets, the link for aboriginal people is much stronger. Traditionally, there has been no language between Aboriginal people, therefore pictures and art were a strong way to communicate messages. Language – physical and vocal – has always been at the forefront of communication for most other cultures.

Folklore

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Traditional folklore is strong for many cultures in the world, not just Aboriginal people, although their legend and myth is very strong. There are countless stories of monster fish and giant fish spread across their great history. Whereas other cultures have been obsessed by the idea of the evolution of fish and the way they live their lives from a scientific and aquatic standpoint.

Fish are a huge part of the life of lots of people. Even more so as the health risks of red meat begins to filter through into a lot of Western lives. Fishing will become a major part of the way we eat, but we must also acknowledge the importance fish have within other, smaller cultures around the world.

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Aboriginal Tools, Weapons, And Modern Day Machetes

Aboriginal Tools, Weapons, And Modern Day Machetes

One of the heritages that pretty much defines Australia is the Aboriginals. They have brought many different types of weapons, traditions, clothing styles, and culture to Australia and even the world. The indigenous people of this continent arrived about 40,000 years ago and the aborigines were nomadic. Over the years, they created different customs, traditions, and all kinds of tools and weapons that we still use to this day, or something similar.

Aboriginal Weapons & Tools

The weapons that the aboriginals use(d) are similar to what we use today.

Spears

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Spears are used by the aboriginals for hunting, fighting, and fishing. Most of the spears are made from light wood such as the Oyster Bay pine sapling. Because of the tall and straightness, they barely had to be worked over a fire. There were also detachable barbed spears that are common across the entire continent. Multi-pronged spears, on the other hand, are used for fishing and found in the north and south-east end of the continent.

Cutting Tools

KukriAboriginals were the first to achieve ground edges on cutting tools. They used stone tools to make other tools, chop wood, prepare skins, and prepare food. Today, we would use something along the lines of highly rated kukri machetes that are durable enough to get the job done. We would use these to cut wood, skin animals, kill animals, and do just about anything we could think of. The aboriginals has multiple tools for multiple needs rather than one for multiple needs such as a machete.

Boomerangs

Boomerangs

Yes, the stereotypical Australian weapon, the boomerang. These were meant to hunt, but they were also used in ceremonies. They can easily kill a smaller animal or knock down a large one. Boomerangs made from heavier wood were meant to hunt kangaroos and lighter ones were meant for duck hunting.

Message Sticks

Back in the day, aboriginals used message sticks to communicate with each other. They had over 200 different languages and 600 dialects. There was also no written language, making it difficult to communicate without these sticks. Each stick would be carved to help the carrier remember the message and prove to the person receiving it that the information was genuine. Often, the message sticks were interpreted by diplomats who were multilingual.

Shelter

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Shelter was something that varied based on the weather. When it came to the Atherton Tablelands, homes were commonly made from branches or cane lashed together and covered in bark, grass, or leaves. In the Torres Strait Islands, shelters looked like bee hives and constructed of hatched grass and bamboo poles.

In the Arnhem Land, houses were made from peg-supported paperbark windbreaks during the dry seasons and during the wet seasons, homes were protected from flooding by being raised up on platforms, like those you would see on beachfronts today.

In Southern Australia, shelters varied from whalebone huts to complex house structures with several spaces constructed of rigid bark and poles.

Conclusion

The Aboriginal culture is extremely interesting. There are many things that we still may not know about them and may never know, but for now, these are just some of the basic concepts recorded. As time goes on, i’m sure we will pick up on more of their customs and traditions.

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Advancements in American Aboriginal Life

Advancements in American Aboriginal Life

American aboriginals have certainly lived an often overlooked struggle, and they have fought hard to increase their quality of life while maintaining their unique beliefs and cultural standards. According to The Huffington Post, they still face a number of challenges including:

  • Mass incarceration and policing
  • High rates of unemployment and poverty
  • Dispossession of their land by the government
  • Exploitation of natural resources that threatens their native communities
  • Violence against women and children
  • Poor education system
  • Poor quality housing and overcrowding
  • Inadequate health care
  • High rates of youth suicide

While there is certainly a lot of work left to be done, there have been positive advancements. Thanks to the help of some of the many organizations that are dedicated to the advancement of American aboriginal culture and quality of life, we’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the achievements that have been and continue to be accomplished.

Native American Financial Official Association

supportIt’s clear to see that many of the challenges currently being faced have to deal with a lack of money, and the Native American Financial Official Association has made it a goal to help remedy this concerning problem. Through their help, financial and business management of tribal governments, their entities and their businesses has been significantly improved.

By getting finances better organized at the top of their system, the better able those in tribes will be able to maintain their health, living conditions, and education. Not only will this enable them to better ensure proper nutrition, but they can also more easily afford small luxuries that are often overlooked such as state-of-the-art mattresses for a good night’s sleep like those that can be found at sleepbuffs.com/.

The Native American Times

newspapersCommunication is a powerful tool, and we can quickly gain access to what’s happening on the other side of the world within just minutes of it happening. The Native American Times is dedicated to helping American aboriginals spread the word of their struggles, their advancements, and their stories with the general public. This independently owned Native newspaper distributes news to 39 tribes in Oklahoma in an area that is currently the second largest population in the United States of Native Americans.

With a current readership of more than 60,000 per week, you can see that the ability to spread ideas and work toward future goals as a group can be more easily accomplished. The website associated with the newspaper has also achieved impressive reach with an average 1.8 million hits a month and thousands of weekly downloads of the digital version of their newspaper.

American Indian College Fund

college-fundAmerica is a place where anyone is supposed to have the opportunity to achieve their biggest dreams. However, this can be difficult to accomplish when you’re facing economic challenges. The American Indian College Fund is on a mission to allow those with the ability and drive to succeed in higher education the chance to do so. Aside from offering an impressive 6,000 scholarships per year, they also offer additional support for educational needs such as cultural preservation activities.

Hope for the Future

As increasing attention is given to the various cultural, ethnic and racial groups in the United States, we can expect to see more positive changes in the future. In order to make advancements, it takes hard work and determination, and we can see that American aboriginals and their supporters have accomplished more than most realize. As American Indians and Alaskan Natives continue to gain more control over their education, health care and legal stature, we can inevitably expect to see more exciting advancements in the years to come.

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The Sad Reality of the Dental Health of Aboriginals

The Sad Reality of the Dental Health of Aboriginals

Indigenous Americans have poorer dental health as compared to the rest of the people on the continent. This comes as no surprise, as the native communities are not as exposed to modern heath care as the rest of the country. Some of the most common dental health concerns that plague the Pearly Whytes of the aboriginal community are dental caries, missing teeth, and periodontal disease. While they are normally treatable conditions, they can become quite complicated if left unattended for long.

A report released by the Centre for Native American Youth found that dental health care had not changed much in the last ten years; with 70 percent of pre-school children having cases of untreated teeth decay. The early onset of decay means that they go into adulthood with this condition without the likelihood of having it treated. Quite unfortunately, most of the Native Americans still lack access to proper medical care to this day.

Common Dental Concerns among Aboriginals:

  • Caries

Dental caries also dental decay is the most common among aboriginals. The leading cause of tooth decay is the exposure of teeth to sweet and sticky foods without proper brushing to remove the food particles. The food particles cause decay on the enamel, which can be reversed with appropriate and immediate dental care. If the tooth is left without care for long, dental caries becomes untreatable and may result in even further complications involved inflamed pulp. Once the dental pulp becomes infected, the only choice left for the patient is to have their teeth filled or restored with dental crowns.

  • Periodontal Disease

The attribute of this disease is poor dental hygiene. When there is a build-up of bacteria in the mouth, they could cause a condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis presents in the form of inflamed, bleeding gums. It is quite mild and completely treatable if action is taken early enough. If no action is taken, it could escalate to periodontitis, which is quite severe and destructive. It is also almost impossible to treat as it eats into the tissue holding the teeth. The aftermath of periodontitis is spaced teeth and loss of bone that supports teeth. Eventually, a person suffering from periodontitis may lose some or all their teeth. It also causes the person to have perennial bad breath.

Health complications that arise from poor dental health:

There is more to dental health than a beautiful smile. If some of the seemingly simple issues are not tackled at their early stages, they exacerbate quite fast into health concerns that cannot be reversed. The Aboriginals have for the longest time, been disadvantaged in this area and are therefore highly exposed to these health risks.

Some of the serious health issues that can result from poor dental health include;

  • Heart disease

Unchecked periodontal disease can lead to heart disease. What happens, in this case, is that the bacteria from the gums get into the heart arteries and cause them to harden. Atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) causes the arteries to thicken to a point where they can no longer transport blood with ease. It is a known fact that heart disease can be fatal.

  • Dementia

Poor dental hygiene leads to a build-up of bacteria, which leads to gingivitis. If left uncontrolled, the bacteria that cause gingivitis multiplies very fast and could enter the brain through the bloodstream. The bacteria are also known to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Traditionally, Alzheimer’s disease affects people in their sunset years. However, the affected aboriginals feel the blunt of this condition sooner.

  • Respiratory infections

respiratoryThe connection pneumonia and lung infection to dental health is not obvious at first. However, breathing in bacteria-infested breath for long could lead to infection of the vital organs.
It is quite sad that a fraction of the people in the most powerful nation on Earth is still marginalized in health care. There is more to be done to ensure that every person, regardless of age or race has access to basic dental health care. It is in this regard that First Nations Health Authority has partnered with the Ministry of Health to launch the Healthy Smiles for Life campaign that is geared towards giving aboriginal people a chance, not only to smile and show off their pearly whites for life but to also avert some of the more severe health concerns.

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Hunting and Aboriginal Culture

Hunting and Aboriginal Culture

Indigenous cultures around the world have relied on responsible hunting practices to feed, clothe and protect themselves for centuries. Far from the trophy hunting and commercial hunting practiced by immigrant populations, particularly throughout North America and Australia, the hunting culture of aboriginal peoples was based on a more intimate assessment of the relationship between the hunter and the hunted.

 

The destructive potential nature of hunting was also tempered in aboriginal societies by the belief that some animals were deities, and the conviction that the animal supply was limited and prudence was necessary. Proponents of this ideology would have been thrilled to see the release of the Nikon Prostaff 2, one of the most accurate rifle scopes on the market. The Prostaff 2 is one of the best rifle scopes for your money.

Subsistence Hunting

Aboriginal hunting is typically referred to as subsistence hunting by those in the wider culture. This means that the society is dependent upon hunting for the provision of food, shelter, fuel, and clothing, and as well for the preservation of its cultural integrity. Many North American native tribes in the Midwest, particularly the Sioux, are recognized in modern times for their complicated relationship with the bison tribes that roamed the American interior three hundred years ago. Sioux hunters hunted buffalo sparingly, and when a hunt was successful, they used every piece of the animal. Hides were turned into thick fur coats, skins were stretched to become drums, horns became weapons or ceremonial items, and meat was packaged and stored for consumption.

Hunting for subsistence forced hunters to be reasonable with their kill totals — animal populations had to support future generations as well, so over-hunting was a major concern. Commercial hunting changed this viewpoint entirely, and led to the eradication of several species and the overfishing and hunting that is taken for granted today.

Hunting as a Means of Protection

Aboriginal tribes were frequently threatened by predators in all different environments. Tribes in the interior of the country had to worry about wolves, coyotes and foxes, whereas those on the coasts had to concern themselves with snakes, alligators and crocodiles. In order to protect their families, gardens, and domesticated animals, men of the tribe were forced to hunt these predators periodically. Most subsistence hunters used handheld weapons such as boomerangs, bow and arrow, or harpoon, but predator removal teams often resorted to traps, nets and gorges. In accordance with the doctrine of subsistence hunting, these animals were not disposed of but were used — wolf pelts also became jackets, and snakeskin became boots, belts, and cloth.

Hunting as a Means of Cultural Preservation

Many aboriginal peoples view hunting as an escape from modern commercial life. They believe hunting to be the cornerstone of their societies, and this belief is reflected in several colonial-era documents and treaties. For example, in Canada, several first nations societies were granted the right to hunt at will in exchange for ceding lands by treaty. A few of these groups have even attempted to claim the right to dispose of all game within the country’s borders as they see fit. Conflicts over the scope and breadth of the Indian Act continue in Canada today, just as debates about the right of aboriginal peoples to hunt at will continue across the world.

Hunting in modern aboriginal societies is often portrayed as a way to feel some connection to past generations and a different way of life. Although subsistence hunting is falling out of favor among most indigenous groups, hunting as a cultural practice is still as important as it ever was.

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Pipeline Development Blocked by Indigenous Group in B.C.

Pipeline Development Blocked by Indigenous Group in B.C.

In a region filled with grizzly bears, trees lay across a logging road which forms a very specific message, “No Pipelines! No Entry!” This is the result of a dispute between the government of Canada and a First Nations clan remains ongoing about what should happen to the 435-square mile area, each of which claim it as their own. This started in 2009 when the government of Canada started issuing permits for a pipeline corridor which would link the fracking fields of British Columbia and the tar sands of Alberta. Canada’s plan is to become a global energy superpower and is hoping to stake its economic future and legislative agenda on the expansion of its fossil fuel sectors and resource. These pipelines would act as the arteries of a trillion-dollar gas and bitumen industry.

Since June, the chiefs of the Unist’ot’en and supporters have made it almost impossible for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and TransCanada and Chevron work crews to enter the territory. Even though the pipeline companies have worked around the issue and modified their projects to skirt the Unist’ot’en’s main encampment, they still plan to build through that piece of land that was traditionally used by the clan. The Unist’ot’en remain strong and refuse to accept the prospect so they have formed a barrier with heavy chains, plywood and barbed wire gate, a pickup truck, spotlights and an emergency siren. The clan has transformed their territory into a border that is guarded by a volunteer crew of guards.

In order to gain access, you have to answer a series of five questions administered by clan representative which includes; Who are you? Where are you from? Do you work for industry or government that’s destroying our land? What skills do you bring? And How will your visit benefit the Unist’ot’en? The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples inspired this protocol and will continue to monitor their territorial boundaries and will enforce trespassing laws. The only workers who have been granted access to the territory are loggers, tree planters and a guide outfitter since they have instituted this protocol and pipeline contractors have been asked to leave.

Unfortunately for the Unist’ot’en, it is believed that energy companies are gathering information to acquire a court injunction which would allow police to force open the roads so that the pipeline crews can work without interruption. Helicopters that were carrying TransCanada crews were also found entering the territory without permission and were asked to leave, which they complied. The second crew which was escorted by an ex-military pilot and security staff was forced to leave after volunteers grounded their helicopter by staging a sit-in beneath its rotor blades.

The Unist’ot’en clan have supplies airdropped in and they have even made their own pizza made with wild salmon cooked in a wood-fired oven and drank river water. Their kids are playing on a teeter-totter made of 2-by-4’s and they sit around campfires telling stories. While they are doing this, Chevron crews and security teams are moving closer to the territory as they conduct studies and survey for a pipeline right of way. Other than a few helicopters in the distance and the occasional emergency siren, the community continues to stand their ground and live quietly and in peace, for now.

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