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Lucas Fowler


Sally Anne Brown

Native American Culture

Compare and Contrast

Comparing and contrasting my own culture to others is not an easy thing. Looking

at my own culture, it is easy to get lost and confused, as I am a large blend of many

cultures in one. In simple terms I am a farming country boy that lives in the city. An army

brat that has never stepped foot on an army base. And a non-catholic, non-Christian, that

celebrates Christmas and Easter.

I have many traditions and customs in my life that I dont even understand myself.

For this reason I find it very hard to compare my culture to others. This is where I would

like to start explaining where my culture is different from Native Americans culture. As

Linda Alchin said, The life styles of Native Americans ranged from nomadic, semi-

nomadic to static. They lived in separate tribes across the vast continent of North America

and despite this many of them shared similar beliefs and culture. The Native Americans

had occupied North America for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans.

With in this simple passage most Native Americans can relate and agree that is where

their culture came from. Most Natives know where they came from and there culture

hasnt changed much from their ancestors many years before them. As for me, it is not so

easy. If I were to try and figure out where I come from and where my ancestors came

from I would spend many hours if not days and maybe even hundreds of dollars. Even if I

was to find out where my ancestors were from I would not know what their culture was
like or know anystories about them. Natives not only know of their ancestors they also

hear stories of them and get to know something about them. For this reason it is easy for

them to keep their culture passed down from generation to generation. They pass down

things such as medicine, Love and understanding for nature, and traditions.

When I get sick or hurt myself, the first thing I think about is where the nearest

doctor is. At the doctor I meet with a person I dont know. They tell me what is wrong

with me and prescribe me medicine that I dont know where it come from or what it is

made of. As for Natives they go to a medicine man that in most cases they know. He uses

natural healers that have been used for thousands of years and have natural ingredients. In

my opinion this seems like a more personal and more enjoyable experience, even if you

are sick.

Another thing that differs from my culture to Natives culture is there love,

appreciation, and understand of nature. Though I grew up on a farm and Im an avid

hunter and fisherman, my understanding of nature is minuscule compared to the natives.

Though I do hold a love for nature in my heart I believe we differ in the amount of love

that is shown for nature. Like Chief Luther Standing Bear said, The old people came

literally to love the soil, and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being

close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people

liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth This is

just a small example of the love the natives feel for nature as they worship it as a god or

mother to all.

Third are the traditions that we enjoy. Many of my traditions include celebrating

Christmas, Easter, The fourth of July, and family vacations. I do enjoy these traditions,
and would not trade them for anything. Natives feel the same about there traditions

including practicing their spiritual beliefs. Practicing their spirituality is a big part of their

life. They also partake in ceremonies that have been passed down for many generations

such as pow-wows, vision quests, and the sacred sweat. Though we both have traditions

the origins and meanings are very different.

It is easy to see how different our cultures are from one anothers. We have

different pasts and different present day lives. Though I am happy for many of the things

that my certain culture has I find it hard not to feel a little bit of jealousy for the culture of

Native Americans. Just because of the simplistic ideals and really just knowing where

they come from and where their culture comes from.

Though we are so different I do recognize some similarities in out cultures.

Though there are few of these similarities I feel like we both cherish these things and they

help to make us who we are. Some of these things include, Love and appreciation of

family, war, and geography of where we live.

Growing up I had a very close family. I lived with many extended family

members and many family members lived with me. The family members that I did not

live with I would see on pretty much a daily basis. We go on many vacations together,

which usually included long car rides with the family. We do anything for our family and

are always there for each other. In a passage that sitting bull wrote on warriors he said,

The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to

take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who can not provide for themselves, and

above all, the children, the future of humanity. Though this is true about warriors I feel

like this is the attitude toward families for both cultures. I believe we have the same
mindset, in regards to we would do anything for the people in our families no matter what

the favor is.

In my family most of the men before me fought in war, or at least were exposed to

war most their lives. I feel the same is true for many native cultures. From the time my

ancestors and natives ancestors met there has been war. For along time we fought each

other and in recent years have fought side by side. I believe that war changes not only the

immediate people impacted by war but it also changes the culture of these people. Many

things like discipline and respect toward others had been installed in my culture due to

war and I believe the same goes for Native culture.

Lastly, is the geography we both share. My whole life my family and me have

lived in the general area of Salt Lake. The geography if this area has a way of shaping

people and teaching them things. I would imagine that many natives and my self have

learned many of the same things from this area. Many things like the weather and the

wildlife around us are all things that we both have engrained in our cultures and things

that will never change. We share things like watching the weather change from fall to

winter and wing to spring. We see things like deer, elk and, wildflowers. Many of the

aspects of my culture revolve around where I live and that is also true for natives.

As you can see cultures are a very confusing and complex thing. Many things are

passed down from generation to generation and many things change culture though out

time. Though I do love my culture and am proud of it I also respect and find appreciation

of the native culture. I am happy that I have my own culture and I am happy I have things

in common with natives. I believe that if more people would sit down and look at how

much in common we have with each other many problems would not exist today.

Zag, Zig. "The myth of the peaceful warrior."

Https:// N.p., 3 Dec. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2017. Chief

Sitting Bull quote

Luther Standing Bear, Chief. "Native Americans and Mother Earth."

Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2017. Collection of Quotes

Alchin, Linda. "Native American Culture." Https:// N.p.,

Feb. 2017. Web. 1 Mar. 2017.