Anyone who’s ever danced with a wolf or gotten sick from a blanket knows that Regular Americans would be nowhere without the cultural contributions of Native Americans.
Paving the way for European settlers…well, keeping the seat warm for European settlers…Native Americans gave this country inventions and ideas without which we would live as trolls. We can thank the Mexican for the delicious spice of a chimichanga, but we must further thank Geronimo’s Chosen for the microwave that cooked it. Now that the long-standing argument over whether or not horses can be “invented” has been put to rest, let us sit a spell ’round the campfire and look into some other fine Native American accomplishments, though the descriptions may be rife with the White Man’s “quotation” “marks.”
Be they saucy ‘n’ sexy or sorry ‘n’ scary, dreams are perhaps the most definitive emblem of the inner psyche. The White Man had long sought a means of storing these narratives for scrutiny and self-improvement to no avail, for in his typical closed-mindedness, the White Man overlooked pieces of string. Not so the noble Native American! Using only a hoop, some string, and some bird parts (which also function as three of their four food groups) a clever trap for one’s most private thoughts was fashioned by their own hands. Not to be greedy with these miracles of string, Native Americans have made dreamcatchers available through vendors of high-end home accessories and carnival stands alike. Don’t just chase the dream, catch it like a rabbit! Speaking of animals…
SPIRIT JOURNEY SHAMAN QUEST ADVENTURE SOMETHINGS
Allow me to proffer a slice of Native American wisdom. Not sure which way to go on long-term financial investments? Eat poison and talk to an owl! While the exact nature of this breakthrough is kept arcane, the gist, as I understand it, is this: Men of a certain age can become “confused” over the troubles of “adulthood,” and this confusion is alleviated by eating cactus that makes them insane. During an unbearably lengthy period of hallucination, animals (real or imagined) will speak with them and one will explain that it and the young man are essentially the same dude. Following this, life’s little troubles are viewed with reason and clarity, which explains the unwavering day-to-day focus unique to the Native American. How Regular Americans got along without this ritualized man-up is beyond me.
USING EVERY PART OF THE BUFFALO
Waste not, want not! While the White Man disgracefully tossed away such useful items as buffalo molars, buffalo spleens, buffalo eyelids, and buffalo noses, so it is told that the Native American, nomadic or not and regardless of tribe, made use of every bit of a slain buffalo. The rectum was used as a crude whistle while the kneecap was used as a comb. Buffalo hair was woven into handsome scarves, and did ya know that the wholesome game of ping-pong began with buffalo eyes and bare hands? Well, it did. Buffalo ankles were used as both a weapon and a marital aid, and buffalo tonsils are widely regarded as the world’s first stress-relief ball. There is a lesson in this. I’m not sure what that lesson is, but let’s agree that there is a lesson somewhere.
GUYS WITH BRAIDS
Among the many dynamic traditions of the Native American, long, lustrous hair on men is…ahem…”chief” among them. This hair (the fourth food group, as it happens) probably didn’t collect buffalo eyelids, as they no doubt were used for some effective purpose, but did collect dust from the land upon which the Native American is so fond of sleeping. Eschewing such eurocentric concepts as a “hat,” a tight-knit rope of hair dually braided, later favored by such cultural luminaries as Pippi Longstocking and Strawberry Shortcake, kept dirt and dust from nestling in Native American man-hair. To this day the tradition continues and has been adopted by white men, some small percentage of whom are alleged to be straight. If bling is a concern, beads (money) can be introduced into the braids, as can bird parts.
I could go on like a rambling fable about the hundred or so more contributions Native Americans have selflessly given to Regular American culture, but I am tired and disinterested, so I should trail off to bed before I’m bored to tears.