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Often times when the topic of Native Americans is brought up,they are stereotyped as “savages” or “barbarians” when really they were just indigenous Americans that lived on North American lands before being driven out by the European migration that created the United States. After the number of Europeans immigrants started increasing,Native Americans struggled to maintain and embrace  their way of life and later on struggled to maintain  their representation in the new developed country that became the United States. After  the European immigration started,many Native American tribes were pushed west but after the United States advanced and expanded,they lost the majority of the lands they had there and became forced in different reservation that the United States government created to seek and control of what was left if their lands. And somewhere along the way the United States, became heavily influenced by Native American culture and managed to use those Native American influences and incorporate them with the the culture from  European settlers to create the foundation of the great nation that is America today. And while the Natives were a very distinct group of people,they created their own civilization,they had their own art, culture, history, government, language, literature…….etc and contributed many of those things to present day America.One of the contributions of Native Americans  is government. Their influence and contributions of their culture is seen through the impacts it made the our modern day American government. Before the government was fully established, the Constitution was created so that it can be the foundation of the new government. The United States Constitution is modeled after the the oldest Constitution in North America, Constitution of  the five Iroquois nations. The Founding Fathers perceived the government of the Iroquois to be something that was admirable and used many aspects of it when establishing America’s government. The influence of the Iroquois is seen through the US constitution because the document itself was based on the ideas of unity, federalism, and balance of power which were all major ideas that were presented in the Iroquois Constitution. The line “We the people”, which later was put in the preamble of the constitution and became one of the most well known parts of the Constitution,was created to establish the fact that political power comes from the people, hence the document starting with the line to portray the idea that it is about the wants of the people. This idea was directly pulled from the Iroquois Constitution because the the power of their government came from it’s people who played a vital role in it.  Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers that took particular interest in the Iroquois and studied the way they governed their nation. He became so intrigued by the power their confederacy held that he started the movement to resemble parts of new US government after the government of the Iroquois Confederacy,one of them being the Constitution. He wrote about the powerful and impressive union the Iroquois have formed and therefore the importance of people maintaining relations with them which they did and overtime learned their political practices. For example, the idea for the all the colonies to be one republic with different representatives from each one was a political system created by the Iroquois confederacy because they had five nations within their tribe but had central government in place with representative from each nation to run it.  Overall one of the contributions of Native Americans was government,it is because of one of the Native American tribes that the United States government has the current structure it did back then and still does now. Another contribution of the Native Americans is the role they had in the creation of medicine. For thousands of years, many Natives American tribes used a variety of herbs to heal the body from various medical problems as well as purify themselves and bring balance to their daily lives. Healing practices varied depending on the type of tribe but almost all the tribes never documented their healing practices. The only tribe that did was the Cherokee who created a written language of their own and put all their formulas and practices on paper. The most common type of herbs they used were ,magnolia, aloe, dandelion, black cohosh, ginseng, mistletoe,horsetail,aspen………etc. One of the most widely used herbs was ginseng. While the herb was smoked by the Iroquois and used for sweat baths by the Seminole,the majority of other tribes dried and crushed it for medical purposes. After European settlers came in, this herb became very scarce and became widely known. After Europeans saw the herbs and its many benefits,they started purchasing as much of it as they could find from Native Americans.  To this day,many of these herbs are used to treat illnesses. For example ginseng today is used for curing colds and fevers as well as to reduce different forms of swelling. Another famous Native American herb is the mistletoe and while it known as the plant couple kiss under around the time of the  holidays, it has a bigger use. Mistletoe is used for an alternative medicine therapy for people with cancer,mistletoe extract has been proven to kill cancer cells while also treating epilepsy, infertility, menopausal symptoms……etc. The Cherokee used it to make a tea ooze used to bathe the head for headaches meanwhile other tribes used it for painful limbs,religious ceremonies….and the roots were used to induce abortions. These are only a few examples of how Native American healing herbs are used as modern day healing and curing techniques. Natives were the first to start the creation of medicine through the plants and herbs they found in their surroundings and fortunately people are able to use them for modern day illnesses. While Native Americans were well known for their healing mechanisms,they are also known for their assistance in World War 1 and World War 2.  When the United States entered World War 1, Native American boarding schools were very common and the U.S. operated as many as 100 boarding schools with tens of thousands of Native Americans from all tribes in an attempt to flush out all Native American culture and force them to live the white man’s way. Nonetheless,much of the Natives in those boarding schools, enlisted to fight in the upcoming war. There were approximately 1,000 Natives from from 26 different tribes signed up. Despite the fact that they had all their lands taken away and forced to live the white man’s way, many saw this as an opportunity for military service during war to continue warrior traditions of their tribes and protect what they considered to be their home and country. During World War 1,the number one problem that the Americans faced was communications because Germans understood English as well as any codes and communication methods that they had.  The U.S. tried other communication methods such as color-coded rockets, electronic buzzers and carrier pigeons but they all proved to too limiting because they were either too slow or too unreliable especially during a time of war. Communication started putting a huge strain on the American’s side when Germans could predict their every move until  a company commander in the 36th Division overheard two of his soldier speaking in Choctaw and quickly realized the military advantage of the language. After that Choctaw speakers were assigned at  various field company headquarters and later played a bigger role in the next couple of days when an attack was launched on a strongly fortified German position. Choctaw speakers gave the United States just the advantage it needed against the Germans and helped bring an early end to what would’ve been a very brutal war for the U.S since the Germans had a big advantage over them and helped saved thousands of lives that would’ve been lost. The Choctaw speakers didn’t just have a big impact during World War 1 but also World War 2 because the during World War 2 “code talkers” became even more encouraged to speak their native tongues to make sure the enemy couldn’t capture anything that  was being said. The Choctaw speakers started the influence for Navajo code speakers which were a group of special volunteers who did top secret work using the secret code of the Navajo during much of World War 2. But it wasn’t just Native American men that made big impacts during world,women did as well. After the bombing of pearl Harbor,America decided to utilize all its assets including women  Nearly 800 women served in the military during World War 2. Many women were drafted in all branches of the military,marine corps army nurses, army soldiers…..etc. But Native Americans didn’t just contribute in the military,but contributed in the home fronts as well. The Natives that were living on the reservations and weren’t in the war brought treasury stamps and war bonds and it was estimated that they brought in 50 million in war bonds. Women starting taking the men’s jobs since almost all  of them were fighting in war. They helped stabilize the economy and fill the big gap after much of their men were shipped out to war.  They learned to act as mechanics, farmers, factory workers and other male roles while the other half were volunteering by sewing uniforms and gathering up other supplies for the troops to be shipped out.  Many parts  of World War 1 and World War 2 would not be possible without the help of Native Americans,their courage and native skills are a major part of what helped the United States get through those times of war. Another way of life the Native Americans contributed is art.  They have played a major role in the evolution of art over the course of history. After Native Americans were relocated to Oklahoma,they were faced with the challenge of adapting to the new lands and the new way of life but these challenges started the beginning of contemporary art. Through contemporary art,they were able to share parts of their culture in an attempt to preserve what was left of it. This new form of art was used as a way to portray the things in their communities and as well as different forms of their culture. Contemporary art around that time focused more on the content and meaning behind the art rather than the material it was composed of because the Natives didn’t have many “art” resources so instead they used much of their surroundings to create very vivid colors. For example,the color black would be created from materials such as wild grapes, hickory bark, alder bark, dogwood bark, mountain mahogany bark  while the color purple would be composed form blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, rotten maple wood and in order to get different shades of these colors,the different plant/materials would be blended into one to create a certain shade. Native Americans  are constantly pushing the boundaries of their art in terms of the materials they use and the meaning and thought behind their arts. According to the online copy of the textbook,”Contemporary Native American Art”, “Contemporary Native American art is a reflection of the contemporary ideas, values and interests of modern Native peoples and the culture, right now, at this time and place.” Today this form of art is used for the same purpose. It is because of the start of Native contemporary art that there is able to different branches of this form of art today,one of them being abstract expressionism. Native American influences are clearly evident in this type of contemporary art because abstract art is also about meaning behind the art rather than what it is made of or how it is composed. The only difference is that abstract art is left  open to interpretation for the audience while Native American Contemporary art isn’t,the Natives strictly design the art for a specific purpose and that europe is evident to the audience when they see it. Many other types of Native American contemporary art later on became ledger art and easel painting both of which are used today in different forms than they were used by the Natives. Today,ledger art is mostly painting with water colors …..etc while easel paintings became a very popular and old fashioned form of art. Both inspired the future generations of artists who later became inspired by the traditional forms of Native American painting to create their own. The first to do this was one of the most influential and famous artists of the 20th century, T.C. Cannon. He based his work off Native American contemporary art,his works consisted of a variety of social issues facing his generations along with traditional culture creating a new genre of Native American contemporary painting. Many artists after him did the same,basing their works of Native American art and creating different forms of it as they went. Art was a huge contribution of the Natives,they brought a whole new type of art to the 20th century and inspired the  many forms of art we use and admire today.In conclusion,the Natives had many contributions to American government, medicine,history and art. Most of American culture was based off the indigenous people who were there first and those indigenous people continue to have influence in our daily lives even today. All these contributions and influences prove the word “savage” used to describe and stereotype Native Americans because it is evident that they were anything but savages. They had a completely unique and efficient way of life that couldn’t be imagined and wasn’t seen before,it was for this reason that so much of America is built off of the cultures of Native Americans. So the word “savage” is clearly unsuited to describe the indigenous people of America.

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