Native Americans’ Touching History

Welcome to the Online Culture Museum provided by The Kaizen Journal!

As you read, are you ready to experience a tour like in a museum?


Tour Name: Native Americans’ Touching History

Region/ Geographic Location: North/Central America

Era: A.D. 1800-1900

Let’s begin our tour with some beforehand information.

Who Are Native Americans?

Throughout history, Native Americans are also referred to as American Indians or Indigenous Americans. The name “Indian” was given by Columbus who is known to be the explorer of the Americas. With a quick misunderstanding, he believes that his ship landed in India, therefore, calling the Native Americans Indians.

Before Columbus, Native Americans were already civilized with a variety of languages and tribes. However, from the 16th through to the 19th centuries, the population of the Native Americans sharply decreased. Many sources advocate that the decline was caused by the illnesses Europeans brought from their homeland. That’s a theory to argue… It didn’t take long for the newly established U.S. government to unjustly take Natives’ lands with so-called “treaties”. President Andrew Jackson signed off the Indian Removal Act of 1830, a policy to forcibly relocate Native Americans, resulting in the Trail of Tears. Later on, Native Americans in the west continued to fight against the Europeans, eventually, their battle was named as “Indian Wars”.

Considering the provided background knowledge, we are now able to observe each piece of art according to their period’s conditions.

Shoulder Bag

1830

Culture: Seminole, Native American

This is a vibrant nineteenth-century shoulder bag, worn by Woodlands men. Native Americans might get inspiration from the British soldiers and their pouches who were greatly seen in their lands as of the 1800s. Moving on to the next item...

Man's Coat

1820

Culture: Innu/ Naskapi, Native American

The coat has high collars and meaningful motifs. According to the belief, the person who wears that will succeed in the hunting season. After careful examinations, professionals have discovered that the coat's style is alike with the European ones.

Cradleboard

1890

Culture: Ute, Native American

This object is actually made for their babies. The color used varies depending on the baby's gender. For example, if it is a girl, the cradleboard will be yellow, but if it is a boy, it should be white. Moreover, it has a wooden headboard, which is ideal for protecting the baby from surrounding dangers.


Tipi Bag

1890

Culture: Lakota/ Teton Sioux, Native American

This tipi bag was made during the early reservation period approximately around the 1890s. In our opinion, it was ironic for Native Americans to carry the flag of the country that caused them to be expelled from their native land.


During 1900s, unfortunately, many of the remaining historical artifacts of Native Americans were affected by Europeans due to the conditions of the period.


As we are ending our Native American culture tour, we would like to address a significant point. It is an unavoidable fact that the destruction of native American civilization is one of the cruelest and darkest events in human history. The truths should not be hidden. Even though we live in different geographies, it is our responsibility to respectfully draw attention to the discrimination that still continues today and wish it to find an end anytime soon.


Image Credits:

All images belong to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Melis Ata