Native American Indians

At one time, there were literally hundreds of tribes of Native Americans living within the United States. Each tribe had its own culture and lifestyle, and in each one the women, men, and children all played an important role. Women had a surprisingly dominant role in Native American life. The homes, tools, land, and weapons belonged to the women, and men who married them actually joined the wife's family instead of vice-versa. Women's daughters usually received the parent's property, and they often worked in the field and built the houses while the men attended to other duties.

Native American men had different roles, depending on their tribe but overall they were the hunters and gatherers. The men were also responsible for protecting the safety of the tribe. Men taught the children how to hunt, and were the major players within the tribal government. They served as chiefs and conducted ceremonies as well. As for the children, they had a typical child's role in terms of education, playing, and dealing with their parents. Children were encouraged to create dolls and toys, and to express themselves as they saw fit. The grandparents played an important role in teaching the children through storytelling and showing them hands on how to live the Native American life.

Eventually, the Europeans began to dominate the landscape and slowly forced many tribes out of their homeland. The Trail of Tears is perhaps the most well known example of Native Americans being forced to leave their homes. Over the past few decades, health-related problems have plagued the Native American people such as alcoholism and suicide. This is a growing problem that is a serious cause for concern. Heart disease is also a common health issue found with Native Americans, but educational programs are helping to ensure that all surviving Native Americans can be aware of the potential health problems and live longer lives.

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