Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Native Americans

Houses on the Arctic
Winter 2018

Days of future past

Rapid global cooling 13,000 years ago challenged early occupants of Alaska to adapt. People used to hunting mammoths and other megafauna with big stone tools suddenly found their weapons shattering in the cold. Access to the stone they used to make them got buried under snow.

As with any climactic change, the cold resulted in a shift in fauna, requiring new tools. Early Alaskans turned to microblade technology, a technique they’d kept alive for hundreds of years along with their dominant hunting tools. Microblades made efficient use of now-scarce toolstone and met the needs of a changing climate.

“Throughout the Holocene, the importance of microblade … » More …

Greg Urquhart (Photo Robert Hubner)
Winter 2018

Peace for the wounded warrior

Since the earliest days of the republic, Native Americans have stepped up to defend the United States at higher rates than any other ethnic group.

From General Washington’s inclusion of Tuscarora and Oneida warriors at Valley Forge, through the world wars and Vietnam to today’s conflicts in the Middle East, Native Americans continue to answer their cultural calling to serve.

Traditionally, these soldiers were welcomed home with healing ceremonies that helped reintegrate them with the tribe and wider society. Compassionate medicine men, and women, used time-honored practices to mend the emotional, spiritual, and physical trauma of war.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. government banned Native religious ceremonies … » More …

Bison (Photo iStock)
Winter 2018

Bison

The day the bison herd swam across the river says it all.

About 80 of the legendary mammals, known for hardiness and stubbornness, decided to cross the half-mile wide Pend Oreille River in 1994—bulls, cows, and even calves—and all survived the crossing, recalls Ray Entz, natural resources director of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians in northeast Washington.

That same rugged strength of the wooly North American bovines—whether you call them bison or buffalo—helped the entire resilient species survive. Although bison are now the national mammal of the United States, they once balanced on the cliff of extinction … » More …