There are remnants, certainly, but the culture is inextricably linked with the lifestyle and European settlers destroyed that lifestyle. I think my Viking and Saxon analogy was a good one. You just can't experience those cultures authentically in a modern world.
I knew some native Americans in Kansas. One was a good friend of mine. He grew up on a reservation and had a seat on his tribe's council. He was the one who first told me that native American culture is dead, clung to now only by the elderly. The young people all leave the reservation. They aren't particularly interested in history. They just want to head out into the world and be normal Americans. The ones who stay tend to have problems with alcohol and drugs and spend their government checks getting high. Again, this was told to me by a tribal leader. I have to accept it to be true, at least of his tribe.
I feel the Vikings and Saxons are much more removed from modern times than indigenous American culture, both literally in time, and socially/politically.
I have a Hopi friend who used to regularly go to celebrations and holidays on the tribal land in Arizona, a lot of it is literally just festivals to celebrate their culture and history. Some American Indians really do live a 'traditional' lifestlye as well. In fairness, he's half Hopi and half Japanese, but his mother and much of his family still go often.
No doubt, it's a culture that has been warped over time, but that doesn't mean it's not something worth celebrating or that it's a culture that 'doesn't exist anymore'. In fact, it looks like you were going as far as saying that native Americans don't exist, and comparing them to Vikings and Saxons which is... even more outlandish.
I don't know how it was in Kansas man, but I think a lot of people in Arizona would disagree.
As for the holidays, I don't really have an opinion either way.
I live in northwestern Arkansas. In this area and eastern Oklahoma, there are mostly Natives with Cherokee and Choctaw descent. What little of the culture that remains over here is either like PIB said, or has something to do with casinos. Native Americans own a substantial amount of casinos in Oklahoma, and going to a casino around here is jokingly referred to as "donating to the tribe" or something like that. Then again, I guess Kansas and Oklahoma are, geographically speaking, probably almost the exact same thing (provided he's talking around about Wichita and anything south).
I guess I had never really considered how different the Native culture could be across the country, but now that I'm thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense. Various tribes were known for living completely different lifestyles and holding vastly different beliefs. Maybe the tribes further out west have been raised to hold their customs and culture sacred, whereas the tribes around here have over time just adopted the policy of "fuck it, let's just act convincingly Injun enough to keep collecting that check."
I was wondering if anyone would mention the Casino tribes of North America. Seem pretty prevalent in some areas. Most tribes are more interested in growing their casino base than their cultural base. Maybe they could change the day to Native American House Advantage Day.
I've got a couple close friends who are Indigenous Canadians (both belong to different bands - what we call tribes in Cannuckastan) - and both would be pretty offended by any assertion that "Native culture is dead". Not to mention its pretty silly to group them all together - those who live in the Midwest are totally different to those who live in Alaska, or Washington, or Nevada, ect. It's like saying well, Polish people are feeling cynical towards their culture, ergo so do the French and Germans.
I wasn't being quite so literal. I'm pretty fond of hyperbole. And of course I don't know as much as your half-Japanese friend on the subject. I didn't mean to imply I'm any kind of expert. Totally just a layman's opinion. And, of course, the opinion of a full-blooded tribal leader from Topeka, Kansas. But, like me, he probably had little experience of Arizona so I'll totally take your word for what it's like there, of course. As a side topic, what does your half-Japanese friend think of the theory that Japanese people may have mingled with Native Americans centuries ago? Given his heritage I would imagine he finds the idea at least intriguing.
Originally Posted by WebDudette
Completely agree. Were known. Past tense. Native American culture almost always seems to be referred to in the past tense. I've always seen this as general acceptance that their culture is effectively and figuratively though not quite literally dead. I could certainly be mistaken.
Originally Posted by Omni
Well yeah, if you just blurted it out like that with no context it would sound like a deliberate insult.
Originally Posted by jacknife737
I can't claim to know anything about Canada really. I loved Due South when I was a kid. Does that count?
When I assert my opinion that Native American culture is a dead culture I certainly don't mean that absolutely no one attempts to hold to it anymore. That would be ridiculous. I simply feel it would be impossible to do so with complete authenticity. How could you in a modern world that has been completely changed by European influence? Maybe you could come close on reservations but I can't help thinking of them as human zoos. Again, I don't mean this to be an insult or offensive towards them. Quite the opposite. I think destroying their way of life and forcing the remnants onto reservations was a tragedy. And again, I'm really only referring to the US because I have no experience with Canada. I can easily imagine Canada being significantly different.
I would never presume to tell anyone about their own culture. The arrogance of that would be offensive even if the actual words were not. My opinion that I have presented here is an abstract and impersonal historical perspective based on my own limited experience and knowledge.
I'm suddenly reminded of uncontacted indigenous tribal communities and the way they are often protected from outside contact because of the way outside contact would likely corrupt (or destroy) their own culture. The Prime Directive! Someone gets where I'm coming from, right?
I think there is some theory that Jesus once came to America and hung out with the American Indians, before going to Japan where he eventually died. Is that the same thing? Shit's cray.
Stumbled on this recently, thought it was pretty interesting overall, but the Navajo seem to be doing alright.
Awesome map - thanks for sharing.
Interesting conversastion, I'm glad to come back and realize the forum is kinda reviving from it's previous dullness. Thank you yellow for leaving.