There is much heard and said about the culture of the Native Americans. There are many forms of their culture and many perceptions of various people all over the world. This led to a lot of misunderstandings and misinterpretation of the truth leading to many myths and misconceptions. Some of the errors and myths about them are:
1. They All Live On Reservations
It is a pure misconception that Native Americans get to live on the ‘Indian reservations’. Much less than half of the population of Native Americans was living on those reservations in 2008. Also, the conditions of such reservations were not at all appropriate most of the times and no one wished to continue living there.
2. No Taxes
This is very low of people who believe that the Native Americans do not have to pay taxes and they live on Government handouts. This is a complete myth. All the Native Americans do have to pay the federal income taxes as long as they are a citizen in USA. In some states, they do not have to pay state taxes but apart from that there is no escape from taxes. People carry this myth because Natives are relatively poor and government rarely helps them a little.
3. They Worship Nature
The truth is that the Native American had a lot of respect for the earth and nature but they did not worship them. The myth is that they treated nature as God and worshipped nature. But the respect for nature is misunderstood as worship sometimes. For instance, they worshipped god who help in the yield of the plant Corn. But people misinterpret it and say that they were actually worshipping the crop. So it can be said that their beliefs included all of nature but they worshipped those gods who took care of the nature and not the nature itself.
4. There is an Indian Princess
This is a very common misconception and very much is debated on this topic. People believe that the royalty of the Natives had an Indian. People often claim that one of the ancestors of the Natives was an Indian Princess. This myth became prevalent because of the Disney movies or some poor understanding of an African-American lady because of the light skin. There may even be an Indian in their tribe but not in the royalty. No one existed in their entire history that had such distinction.
5. Their Medical techniques were Primitive
People often believe that the medicine and medical methods of the tribes of Native Americans were very strange and bizarre. The image they about them is of a man with a strange, colorful dressing and who is performing some sort of rituals. This thought is because of the movies that portray such situations and literature books who make the readers believe that this is a fact. But the truth is the plants natives used as medicines led to the invention of many drugs modern doctor uses.
6. They Lived In Teepees
When you ask someone about the homes of Native Americans you will always here that they lived in Teepees. But this is again a misconception about them. Only those of the Native Americans who needed to travel on a regular basis used Teepees to live in. this is because of the reason that a teepee is easily broken and carried along wherever they went and build again. But that was just a minority of them and most of the tribes used permanent dwellings.
7. They Were Drug Abusers
This is one of the many myths and misconceptions people carry about Native Americans. This myth was initiated by the movies, books and TV shows. They all portrayed the Natives as people who always smoked pipe and uses drugs such as ‘peyote’. ‘Peyote’ is a ritual drug and is sometimes used in religious services and customs. Therefore, it is not an illegal drug for Native American to use that in USA.
8. They Weren’t As Advanced As Europeans
People often think that Native Americans were primitive and not at all advanced. This is also a misconception about them like many other things. The truth is that they had very advanced techniques for trading, framing, medicines, etc. They did things differently and were not similar to the European culture, but they were advanced in their own way. In fact, the French people had a great amount of respect for the Natives and learned from them. They recognized the fact that natives were better than them in certain areas and they were nowhere less.
9. They Were War-Hungry Savages
Native Americans have this image of being a warlike stereotype kind of people. This is another misconception about them. Instead, the fact is that they were not at war. Almost all the Native American tribes had found peace and were peaceful. And if some of the tribes did go to the war, then that was because of the coming of the Europeans to America and changing all the balanced things.
10. They like to be called ‘Native Americans’
The term ‘Native American’ is a politically correct term in USA but in reality, natives do not accept it. They would rather like to be called as “first nations” like in Canada because in this way, they are not announced as Americans and they find this less offensive. All the natives have different views on what people should call them so that they do not get offended. It is a mere myth that they want everyone to refer to them as Native Americans. They are completely against this practice.