16 November 2004

Native Culture 101

Did you know that November is Native American History Month?
Check out these interesting facts and see how many you already knew.



Did you know that one in every 130 people living in the U.S. today is a Native American?

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado is a Native American and Senator Daniel Akaka is a Native Hawaiian.

What do the countries of Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru have in common? They all have a Native American language as an official language, in addition to Spanish.

During World War II, the Japanese army could not break the "secret code" of the U.S. Military. The "secret code" was simply a group of Native American volunteers speaking their Native American language on their field radios! (Navajo, Sioux and other tribes)

Did you know that the names of over half of the states in the USA came from Native American languages? For example, "Utah" is the Ute tribe's name for themselves in their language - "Oklahoma" means "red people" or "home of the red people" in the Choctaw language - "Kentucky" means "planted field" in the Iroquois language.

Washington DC, our nation's capital, is built on the banks of a river called the "Potomac," which is a Native American word for "where the goods are brought in." "Miami," "Cuba" and "Chicago" are a few more examples of the many familiar names that are derived from Native American words.

Since Christopher Columbus had never seen anyone smoking before, he was very surprised to observe "Indians" holding "burning leaves" in their mouths. The "Indians" called these strange things "tobacos."

Native Americans used pine sap to help heal cuts, and they found that witch hazel tea was a good remedy for sprains and bruises.

" Squash" comes from a Native American word, "isquoutersquash," which means "green thing eaten green."

"Barbecue" also comes from a Native American word.

In prehistoric times, Native Americans had developed a process by which dried cactus-eating insects could be turned into red dye called cochineal. This "Indian" dye, one of the most important exports from the New World in the late 16th century and highly valued by the European cloth industry for hundreds of years, was used to dye the red British uniforms in the Revolutionary War.

In 1896, the head of the Board of Indian Commissioners said, "To bring the Indian out of savagery and into citizenship we must make him more intelligently selfish. A desire for property . . . is needed to get the Indian out of the blanket and into trousers - and trousers with a pocket in them, and with a pocket that aches to be filled with dollars."

Foods From The Native Americans

The Indians gave us many foods that we eat today. Can you imagine what our lives would be like without the

Berries Avocado

Peppers Squash

Maple Sugar Blueberries

Wild Rice Wild Cherries

Vanilla Pecans

Corn Sunflower Seeds

Cranberries Tomato


If you have more interesting facts on Native people, please send them to us at ROSEPETL5@aol.com

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