Secrets of Native American Life and Culture

Check back frequently for gems of wisdom from the Native American culture. Future articles will highlight little-known historical facts, Native beliefs and spirituality, American Indian medicine, sweat lodge, ceremony, approach to art, prayer, thoughts about childrearing, respect for Mother Earth and the circle of life and death. Past articles will be archived on this page.

While our focus is on Native American beliefs, we invite people of all cultures to share their secrets and experiences, so that eventually this page will be a meeting place for those of all creeds and colors. The Internet dissolves the artificial lines that we've drawn between our hearts ... we would like nothing more than for a marriage of cultures to begin right here on this page. Sharing our cultural views increases understanding. Making room for others' beliefs increases tolerance and guides us down the spiritual path of life. If you would like to submit a bit of wisdom from your culture, please contact Cultural Wisdom.

Please consider this page your page. This is not a forum for preaching or conversion, but an offering of ideas. As inhabitants of this planet, our spiritual quest has been and will continue to be our quest for greater humanity: the ability to respect and embrace each other's differences, as we learn to share this common ground.

The Meaning of "Apache"

Many people do not realize it, but some Indian names are not Native American, but are terms of conquest. Due to the popularity of films like "Dances with Wolves," many people are familiar that the term "Sioux" was assigned to the Lakota people by the French. A similar situation occurred with the word "Apache." "Apache" is a term of conquest that was assigned to the Chirricahua people by the Spanish. Because "apache" means enemy, Native people who truly know history do not call each other by this name.

Cree Nation Prophecy

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you discover that money cannot be eaten.

The Meaning of Turquoise

Turquoise is symbolic of the people. In the four directions and in other Native symbology, Native Americans are often symbolized by the color "red," but this misinterpretation was created by the Europeans. Before the Europeans, Native Americans did not think of themselves as "redskins," which many of the people feel is a derogatory term. They thought of themselves as turquoise because it is a native stone and because the different matrix in each piece of turquoise is symbolic of the uniqueness found in human nature.

The Meaning of Art

There is no word for 'art' in most Native American languages because art is synonomous with prayer. If you think about the art of some native tribes, such as the Huichol of Mexico, who create their art by applying seed beads to wax covered bowls and figurines with a long needle, you can begin to understand the concept of art as meditation. In order to accomplish such a feat, the artist must be focused and his brain waves must have slowed down to an alpha state. The idea of art as prayer gives reverence to artists and spiritual significance to their creative work.

The Symbology of Kokopelli

Many people believe that Kokopelli is a symbol of fertility and while that is true in part, this figure encompasses so much more. To Native Americans, Kokopelli represents all those things in life which bring us joy: children, family, love, art, environment, spirituality and culture. With this in mind, we've designed our site, Kokopelli's Treasures, hoping, of course, that our products and content will bring your life an extra dose of joy. Browse our pages and above all, please enJOY!

Copyright 1999, 2000 by Laura Ramirez

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Copyright 1999, 2000 Kokopelli's Treasures

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