Schooling – children were taken to boarding school and couldn’t visit their parents & family, which for an Indian is very complicated due to his strong close relationship with the members of the family & tribe.
Clothing – the shame of the body – which the Indian couldn’t understand, the white man made the Indians get dressed. In the 1960s – people wore earring with feathers, wore moccasins, the Indians wore these as means to feel integrated, accepted by Nature.
Religion – conversion to Christian religions, which they couldn’t understand as well since for them ‘God’ was all around them. The way they practised their spirituality was commanded by their need for permission, or request from the Great Spirit.
The Indians had rituals to ask permission to go hunting a particular animal, to cut a tree, to call the rain or the sun. Summing up they lived in perfect harmony with Nature, and they wouldn’t do a thing to hurt any living creature.
Counting coup refers to the winning of prestige in battle by the Plains Indians. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, and these acts could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior, with the hand or with a coup stick , then escaping unharmed. Counting coup could also involve stealing from the enemy. Risk of injury or death was required to count coup. Coups were recorded by notches in the coup stick, or by feathers in the headdress of a warrior who was rewarded with them for an act of bravery.
The phrase "counting coup" can also refer to the recounting of stories about battle exploits.
Housing – the American government created Reservations (which could be plausible for animals, but not for human beings. These reservations most of the times were placed in infertile areas, therefore the tribe continued dependent on the possible help given to them by the White man.
Nowadays some of them live in ghettos in the big cities, these ghettos are full of social problems such as unemployment and alcohol.
Land Possession – this made no sense to the Indians, they would move from an area to another depending on the season, like the animals, for them the land was their Mother, so they couldn’t understand why the white man would put up fences, walls to mark a certain area as their own, they felt offend by the mere suggestion of selling their land, since for them it was the same as selling their mother. More, then the white man told them that they could no longer stay in those lands. It was like telling two white children: you will touch, kiss, have all the attention from mother on Mondays to Wednesdays, then your brother will have the same from mother from Thursdays to Saturdays…
Prejudice – before Dances with Wolves, and Little Big Man the Indians were portrayed in films as being the bad guys, the ones who are treacherous, the ones who rob, steal, kidnap… As for the cowboys, they were only defending what was rightfully theirs.
Assimilation – the need to wear shoes, since the earth is so soft, why? The animals don’t wear shoes, it was the same as saying “You can only touch your mother with gloves.”. The new generations lost touch with their traditions, rituals, culture, languages, way of life. Still, if they were following the American way, why were they marginalised?
That’s why the AIM was created, AIM stands for A merican I ndian M ovement and it is part of the action set in motion to fight for the Indian Civil Rights.
White man’s habits
rodeos, hunting (for the sake of killing), rape, physical punishment…
All these habits made no sense to the Native American Indians, they had never seen animals forcing someone sexually, rejecting their own children. They didn’t understand the white concept of hunting, hunting was to get enough food with the permission of Mother Nature, it wasn’t a sport…
Fighting the Indian way
Fighting – they understood the concept of defending one’s territory, but not violence for the sake of violence.
It was difficult to respect a white man. Why?
to defend themselves, they needed weapons, so that meant they had no physical strength.
To arrest an Indian it took 2, 3 soldiers.
They wore short hair, shame, they didn’t have their head adorned, which meant no signs of wisdom, power, courage, braveness. The feathers the Indians used in head were cut in a way to tell the ‘story’ of the ‘brave’ and his deeds.
Fighting the Indian way
Indians used “weapons” that they also used as tools.
The axe would be used to cut a tree and build a canoe, to clean the animal’s skin.
The arrows and bows were used to kill animals which wouldn’t approach, wouldn’t stand still or was too big.
The spears were used for fishing – at first they were made of wood.
When the Indians had to defend their territory or honour, they would do it body to body, face to face, only when the Indians had to start fighting the white man did they start using those tools as weapons.
American Indian Commandments
Sacred Instructions Given By The Creator To Native People At The Time Of Creation
Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect. Remain close to the Great Spirit. Show great respect for your fellow beings. Work together for the benefit of all Mankind. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed. Do what you know to be right. Look after the well being of mind and body. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good. Be truthful and honest at all times. Take full responsibility for your actions.