Hunting and Fishing The Indian-Americans’ culture: fishing and hunting as a cohesion issue to Indian-Americans Introduction Culture is a multidimensional concept having multiple conceptions from a wide range of scholars. Some scholars interpret it as the appreciation of literature, food, art and music while others, view it as a range of acquired behavioral patterns exhibited by Man. Edward Tyler, in his book Primitive Cultures (1871) was one of the pioneer proponents of the concept noting that culture was a complex institution that encompassed beliefs, law, art, morals and customs. 1 It is hypothesized that; Hunting and fishing are fundamental cultural practices by the Indian-Americans which has over the years brought division through struggle for hunts, and cohesion in equal measure though exchange of hunting ideas which is guarded in all aspects by tribes. Although fundamental for man’s survival, Culture is equally fragile as it keeps changing hence across generations, certain cultural aspects have been lost in all societies.
Perhaps there are no other groups of people that have rich and much told culture like the Native Indian-Americans. They possess a great history of struggle and success and many of today’s life practices of the Americans like; teepee, peace pipe and moccasins, are borrowed from the Indian-Americans2. As noted above, Food is a fundamental aspect of every culture, hence a comprehensive study into the Indian American food related practices gives sufficient information of their cultural background.
The research paper will therefore focus on one aspect of culture, hunting and fishing as a source of food and the role the two practices played within the indigenous culture of the Indian-Americans. It is imperative to note that there were variations in between various groups with some being agricultural hence living a more settled lives while others were nomadic, moving from place to place as they hunted and gathered food3.
Hunting and fishing culture before the arrival of Europeans To Native Indians, both fishing and hunting were important and success in them meant success in the man’s household. Society members had to study different habits of several animals and fish as they captured and killed them. Boys had to learn the hunting and fishing skills early in life.
A story is told of a boy 8 years of age who in his first hunt he killed a goose, took it to his father who showed it to the whole community and at 10 years of age he killed his first Buffalo and the whole community rejoiced with the family, to Indians, successes in hunting were happiness to the whole family and community at large4.
Dictionary of American History. Indian Reservations. Encyclopedia.com, 2003. Retrieved July
24, 2012 http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Native_American_reservations.aspx#1
Johansen, Bruce E., and Barry Pritzker. Encyclopedia of American Indian History. Santa
Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2008.
Kappler, Charles. J. Kappler’s Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Oklahoma State
http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/ (accessed July 24, 2012).
Loew, Patty, and James Thannum. After the Storm: Ojibwe Treaty Rights
Twenty-Five Years after the Voigt Decision. Project MUSE, 2011. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/aiq/summary/v035/35.2.loew.html (accessed July 24, 2012).
Norrgard, Chantal. From Berries to Orchards: Tracing the History of Berrying
and Economic Transformation among Lake Superior Ojibwe." Project MUSE, 2009. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/aiq/summary/v033/33.1.norrgard.html (accessed July 24, 2012).
O’Neil, Dennis. What is Culture? anthro.palomar.edu, 2012.
http://anthro.palomar.edu/culture/culture_1.htm (accessed July 24, 2012).
Pritzker, Barry. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford [u.a.]:
Oxford Univ. Press, 2000.
Stick, David. Indian Fishing and Hunting - Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. U.S.
National Park Service - Experience Your America, 2012.
http://www.nps.gov/fora/forteachers/indian-fishing-and-hunting.htm (accessed July 24, 2012).
Sue, Derald Wing, and David Sue. Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice.
Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley, 2007.
WisconsinHistory. Turning Points InWisconsinHistory. Wisconsinhistory.org, 1929.
http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/tp&CISOPTR=26591&CI (accessed July 24, 2012).
Wilkins, D. E. Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in
Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights.
(review)." Project MUSE, 2000.
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/aiq/summary/v024/24.4wilkins.html (accessed July 24, 2012).