Many people enjoy learning about the past, and in North America, history starts around 15,000 years ago. That is when many historians believe the first people began to settle in the Americas, setting the stage for a rich and vibrant native heritage. Sadly, much of the past has been lost to history, yet there are still ways to connect with the great cultures of yesteryear.
Study Native Art
People use art to tell important stories, and studying these works helps the viewer learn more about a culture. Some artwork chronicles historical events, while others provide insight into a people’s daily routine. Religious beliefs, societal values and customs are often passed down through art such as pottery, sculpture and First Nations carvings. In addition to being historically significant, native art is aesthetically pleasing and looks beautiful when displayed in a home or office. Purchasing native art, jewelry and clothing also is a great way to support native populations.
Take a Trip
Visiting sites that were important to native people is an effective way to connect to the culture. While the mounds throughout the Eastern U.S. are fascinating to explore, nothing is quite as spectacular as the sites in the American Southwest. Locations like Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado preserve some of the country’s oldest architectural sites. History truly comes alive at New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited American community.
Attend a Powwow
Powwows are large gatherings of tribes, and many throughout North America are open to the public. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in native art, music, dance and food and to gain a deeper appreciation for indigenous cultures.
Native American history is an important part of the country’s past. These are just a few ideas to help you gain a greater appreciation and insight into America’s first peoples.
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