Professor on November 1st, 2023

Planning A Native American Gathering

© 2011 & 2023 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director,Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

Prelude and Disclaimer has received many requests from committees and individuals about the planning of a Native American Powwow.  This article is for informational purposes on the logistics and planning of an event.  It is not a “powwow police” document.  Any and all committees planning a Native American Event need to be aware of the consequences that may appear from the so called “powwow police.”  Always seek out suitable advice and wisdom from your Nation or Tribe as well as Native American Elders, Veterans, Teachers and others that are very knowledgeable on the discipline.

This is far from definitive but it is a beneficial place to commence.


Is it competition?  Is it traditional? Is it intertribal? Is it outside or inside? Will participants need to show Tribal Identification?  Is it Closed Drum or Open Drum?  What is Admission? Who is the Head Staff?   How many vendors? How is this going to be paid for?

That was just a simple 10 questions (there are easily 1001 more).  Overwhelmed yet?  Well it can be but if one puts the much needed time and effort into the planning and logistics of the event it can be a very fun and very prosperous happening.

Regardless of what any event may be it must be well organized and well planned.   Even our ancestors knew this.  When they had any type of gathering they knew that certain people had certain tasks from those that prepared the food to those that prepared the location and beyond.  This was true of both Sacred and Ceremonial events to Secular gatherings that were open to other Nations and even open to non-Native friends or neighbors.  Even George Washington wrote about a time as a little boy when he and his Father were invited to “…a dance of the local Indian savages….” The fact that the Washington’s received the invitation days before the event was a distinct indication that the Native Nation of which Washington speaks had planning and organization as a fundamental responsibility.

As you plan think of the obvious Who, What, Where, When, How and Why.      

Why IS the main reason for organizing the event?

The main reason and most important reason(s) should be to honor, promote and respect the Native American Culture.  Secondary reasons can be many and greatly varied from raising money for a very good cause to just educating the general public on Native American Culture to providing a setting of the Native American Culture to Natives in an area where there are no powwows to celebrate the culture.

Whether it be a high impact competition powwow or a traditional gathering of people, what the event is and the purpose of the event needs to be clear to both the Native Community and the non-Native Community.  This may seem to be common sense, but one would be very surprised that many event committees forget about this very important mission.  Solve this issue by having a Mission Statement.


That is not a rhetorical or stupid question.  Is it competition or traditional?  What is the name of the event?   Are you calling it a powwow, gathering, happening, doing, festival, feast, celebration, or something else?  

The name is important but it can be finalized over time.  Spending too much time on the name and not on other factors is a step in the wrong direction.

There will be many more whats but for now concentrate on the contest vs. traditional question.  A contest powwow will more likely draw the largest crowds of both Natives and non-Natives.  It also creates a rather spectacular show and gala as the art of the challenge brings excitement, fun and even some amusement.  The contest however requires twice as much planning and logistics with the main trial being that of prizes and prize money.

How much contest?  This is exceedingly difficult as it requires much attention to detail.  One must consider the following: Will there be competition in every category?  Will there be Drum competition? Is there a special contest?  Who will be the Head Judge and who are the other judges?  What are the place levels and how many place levels will there be?  What are the contest rules?  How will payment be made?  Are there payment restrictions per local, state or federal laws?  What is registration and is there a fee?  How much paperwork is needed in obtaining information from those competing?

As one can see a contest powwow is an enormous undertaking.  The author has only given some concerns above.  There are many more to consider.    

The principal complaints about contest powwows from both Natives and non-Natives is that the powwow can actually get bogged down taking too much time and there is less actual culture seen as there is too much testosterone and too much estrogen in the “friendly” opposition.

On the other hand the key complaints about traditional powwows from Natives and non-Natives is that the powwow is too predictable and boring as there is no excitement.

Of course if one is reading this and is planning an event it would be common to think that the event being planned is secular and open to the public and “intertribal.”  Once your event is advertised/marketed either the old fashion way by paper flyers or the 21st Century way of hi-tech communications, it can easily be interpreted as a public event.  This is especially true if you unmistakably designate on flyers and other informational tools that the public is welcome and all are invited. Remember: if the event is to be Sacred or Ceremonial or Private do not advertise or market the occasion to the general public.  The same holds true if the event is for only one tribe and thus it is not intertribal.

When & Where is the powwow? 

Make these decisions early and start the promotion right away.  In this day and age use of technology is a must.  The perfect place to start for your many resources is  There one can find many points to help with marketing, advertising, promotion, articles of pertinent information, lists of Head Staff, vendors, powwow history and etiquette, contests results for evaluation, and so much more.

Plan well ahead.  Too many events over the past decade have been planned in less than 6 months only to have a very unsuccessful event.  The best of committees plan as early as a good year in advance.  The concepts of When and Where work hand in hand and must be done together.   Having a venue but no free dates is no better than having dates and no venue.

Outside or Inside?  An outside event is wonderful but only as long as the weather is good.  One cannot control the weather so be prepared for just about anything.  It is logical to assume that an outdoor event requires much more planning and logistics than an inside event. Nevertheless, the good thing is your venue will mostly decide your layout of the Dance Circle, Arbor, Vendors and more by one simple factor: amount of space.  Cases in point: A Drum Arbor inside might not be possible.  A limited space outside may also hinder the size and place of the Drum Arbor.    

Questions on insurance and liability will mainly be concerned with your venue and that comes from whether your event is inside or outside.  Sometimes the venue will cover the powwow event and committee, but many times the venue requires that the powwow committee also put up good faith for any possible liabilities and have their own insurance.


Start with a committee that can be trusted and then delegate responsibilities to either groups or individuals.  Break the powwow committee into smaller groups and assign the various tasks in the list below at the end of this article.

Then the very first thing to take care of is have each sub-committee or individual research the costs of each item that is applicable that is listed at the end of this article and report to the main committee.  This will give you the most important thing of all:  BUDGET.  Every powwow needs a budget and doing anything without one can be very risky.

Begin as early as possible seeking help with your budget by soliciting funds.  This can be via donations, grants, fund raising, and more.  Do not forget about small and large businesses and corporations as many have policies and procedures for contributing to the community.  

One cannot stress enough that if you do not have the budget or cannot get the budget for an event then one need not even plan an event.  This is so important to avoid some serious issues and stress involving money and bills.  So many powwow committees and individuals have found themselves in the red category of debt because of the lack of a budget.   Never wait till the last minute to obtain funds to support the event.  If your budget is nowhere near being finalized by some 4-6 months before the event it may not be wise to continue.  The last thing any committee needs to do is beg for money just weeks before the occasion.  This looks very bad to both the Native Community and the non-Native Community.  It shows a lack of care and concern for the Native American Culture.

As said, certainly there will be 1001 questions and the importance of each depends on the goal of the committee. Take Food as an illustration.  Having Food Vendors is a must to provide refreshment for both participants and spectators.  With that as a given though one must decide on whether they are going to feed said participants and spectators.  It has been a tradition that food is part of any Native American event as known from our own oral history and the writings of both Europeans and Americans.  The decision of your powwow committee is who you are going to feed.  There are some events that practically feed everybody.  It is very traditional that at least one meal during an event be provided by the powwow committee to the powwow participants (mainly Drums, Dancers and Vendors).  For most this has been the Saturday evening meal.

Some questions here: Is the committee providing the meal?  Is the meal being catered by outside vendors or a food vendor at the powwow?  What are the Health Department concerns with providing a meal for a large number of people?  Must participants register to receive the meal? What will the meal be? 

When it comes to food, expense is the main factor.  But there is good news and that comes from the fact that many food businesses love to donate to a needed charity or community event.  Even some well known caterers have donated entire meals for community events including powwows.  Therefore do some research and start looking for the meal solution as quickly as possible.

Two Worlds & The Law

Practically any event since the mid-20th Century involves both the Native Community and the non-Native Community.  Actually if one really researches the history they might be shocked to know that the camaraderie connection of both the Native and non-Native Community with regards to powwows can be found to exist as early as the 19th Century.

Ellis (2005) speaks of powwows as early as the late 19th Century in which to attract dollars for the Tribe putting on a “dance” the Tribe hired a person to market the “dance” to the white tourists in the area.

Contrary to popular belief the earliest vendors were really traders that were often very close friends with the Nation, Tribe, Band, Clan, Village or Family of Native Americans.  They were the common blanket traders that were invited to trade items during the event.  These items included ribbons, glass beads, wool, silk, cotton, trade silver, hawks, knifes, guns, and more.  They traded these early European and later American goods for Native American goods of fur hides, tanned leather, food, clothing and more.

As early as the mid-1700s Carver (1778) noted that Native Americans of the Great Lakes would travel to neighboring white towns and hold dances in front of the local trading posts and the traders would respond by giving the Natives presents.

Of course today things are different as most vendors/traders are not suppliers of materials but purveyors of Native American Arts and thus need to comply with the 1990 Indian Arts & Crafts Law.  So make sure you point out to all vendors that they need to know of and make sure they are in compliance with the Indian Arts & Craft Law (P.L. 101-644).  Here is the link for the law and other pertinent information:

If you have any vendors/traders that have only goods/materials/supplies and no actual Native American Art they need not worry about the Indian Arts & Crafts Law.  Example if a vendor only sells Trade Beads and Trade Goods and tools they have nothing that is Native American in origin.

The other major laws to be aware of and make sure that all vendors are in compliance with is that regarding any sales tax that may be required of local, state and or federal authorities.  Some places require that all vendors have a local or State Vendor License and some places require that any vendor that has items of human consumption have either or both local and State Health Licenses or Certificates.  When in doubt about any of the above do some checking and make sure.

Some events only want Native American Vendors/Traders.  If that is the case with your event it needs to be stated and made noticed to everyone from the earliest planning stages. 

WHO: The Native World

The Native American aspects of the event include acquiring and preparing all the following:

Head Staff: MC, Head Veteran, Arena Director, Whip Men, Head Male Dancer, Head Female Dancer, Head Judge, Judges, Drums, and more (depending on the type of event). 

Then you have your Dancers, Drum Arbor, Dance Arena, Vendors, and more. 

Of course the staff one needs depends on the type of powwow and or protocol being presented.  Again seek the advice and wisdom of your Nation/Tribe and others in your Native American Community. 

It is imperative that any committee obtain Head Staff individuals that are well acquainted with and very knowledgeable about their Native American Culture and the protocol of the Native American Powwow.

Plan well and book your Head Staff early.  In this day and age there are so many Native American events all across the United States and Canada.  Head Staff personal and Drums can have prior commitments as much as a year in advance by either verbal or written contracts so it would be very wise to book the Head Staff as quickly as possible.

For any powwow it is wise to have at least two Drums.  If you research the past you may find that one Drum can do an entire powwow alone.  While that may be true, it is not very conducive for the present day powwow.  Two Drums is the absolute minimum; three Drums is better and for most four Drums is perfect as it creates a nice balanced rotation in the various types of songs and dances that will often occur during the powwow.  In any case make and have a strategy on Drums.  Are all Drums invited or just welcomed?  Ordinarily “invited” means you have contracted the Drum or Drums and the committee is disbursing some kind of appreciation to them.  By contrast, “welcome” entails no compensation (although some kind of gift is customarily involved).  Due to space and time is there a limit to the number of Drums?  This is very important and very tricky.  While all Drums may be welcome what happens if you have 10 Drums show up but the venue is so small you can barely fit 4 Drums in the entire setting?  This is when the counsel of your Nation, Tribe and Elders is critically needed.

Once your Head Staff is set, it is wise to have a meeting of all the Head Staff to discuss the powwow etiquette and or protocol expected for the event.  This may concern everything from the set-up of the Dance Arena and Drum Arbor to the subtleties of the opening and closing formalities.

The Non-Native/White World

As much as you may want the powwow to be all Native American that may not be possible.  Even powwows on Tribal Lands may have some non-Native involvement and the main type of participation of course is the non-Native American spectators that are invited to attend because the event is open to the public. 

That brings up Admission.  Is there a charge at the gates?  If so who is charged?  Are dancers charged?  It is common that dancers are not charged at the gates unless required for a contest powwow as already spoken of previously.  But how does one know who is and who is not a dancer.  Some committees ask the dancers to register and show some kind of proof like be in regalia or show some regalia to avoid any admission charges. 

Other events charge anyone and everyone at the gates indicating that the money will all be donated for a good non-profit cause.

The most demanding aspect of Admission is how much to charge.  Try at all measures to keep the price of admission as low as possible for the general public and let the public know exactly where their money is going.  A great idea is have information for the public on the committee sponsoring the event and how the proceeds will be used in the community.  This is when that Mission Statement comes in handy.  This works very well and many times the public have been inspired to not only pay the gate fee but even donate to the committee while still at the gate.

The other more common non-Native association is usually that of monetary support.  One fine example is a very good powwow that takes place in the Great Lakes/Mid-West Region.  Although the powwow is Native planned and Native run, over 60% of the funds to put the event on all come from non-Native American businesses and organizations.

Then there is the IRS.  Are you non-profit and tax exempt?  If so you better be prepared to show it to anyone that asks and if you are then there is a sustainable amount of paperwork required.  Even Native American groups that fall into any category under Section 501 of the IRS Tax Code needs to keep accurate records of anything and everything involving money.

If you are a committee that plans to be around for a few years (at least 5 or more) and you have tactics to provide for the local community (both Native and non-Native) it would wise to acquire your non-profit status with both the State and the Federal Government.  The benefits to being an organization under Section 501 of the IRS Code are quite useful.  They include tax exempt status on purchases of just about everything from food to supplies and more.  The 501 status also helps in obtaining funds as many businesses love to donate both money and materials to 501 groups for tax purposes.

There is one drawback to having 501 status and that is the complicated and often tedious paperwork.  Since it involves the IRS, it is very easy to see that paperwork is a given and keeping track of everything and every penny is a must.  For this cause many committees fail to get 501 status.  But in the long run the advantages far outweigh the menial task of the paperwork.

Finally the other very important part of the powwow that usually always has some non-Native immersion is that of adhering to local, state and or federal laws and ordinances.  We spoke on this earlier and even powwows on Tribal Lands may have to deal with things like the Health Department for food vendors, as well as laws on weapons, parking restrictions, taxes, Disability access, EMS, and more.

Examples: Some states and local municipalities have laws that require EMS for any public event.  Some states and local municipalities have laws that require a certain number of restroom facilities per a certain number of attendees expected.  The same is true that a certain number of Handicapped parking spaces are needed per a certain number of attendees expected.

Here are some things that may need to be addressed and that may need some type of policy when planning a Native American Gathering:

Accommodations: Committee, Head Staff, Volunteers, others



Alcohol, Drug, Weapon Policy




Children’s Activities

Color Guard


Competition Rules & Regulations

Dance Arena

Disability Services & Accessibility

Disaster Plan for fire, tornado, blizzard, etc.


Emergency Services





Gate coverage: Front, Back, Sides




Head Staff: MC, Arena Director, Head Dancers, Drums, etc.

Health Department Regulation for Food Vendors

Hours & Times of the event and that of the venue being used

Information Booth


IRS policies for sales and non-profit paperwork if applicable

Law Enforcement


Media Coverage


Non-Profit/Tax Exempt Status


Parking: Cars, Trucks, RVs, Motorcycles, etc.

Pet Policy

Power & Electric

Powwow Etiquette & Protocol

Prizes or Prize Money



Restroom Facilities




Signs: Directional, Informational, other


Specials: Honor Songs, Blanket Songs, Special Dances, etc.

Staffs & Flags


T-Shirts or other paraphernalia


Venue (outside or inside) and ordinances involved with the venue


Waste Control & Removal



Remember this paper is just broad general information on the many aspects that might be forgotten when planning and organizing a Native American Powwow.  Not all the items in the above list may be applicable to all powwows.

As a final point, it cannot be stressed enough that the intense wisdom, knowledge and intelligence of your Native Nation/Tribe, Elders, Veterans, and Teachers that are astute in this area be sought out and used.


Braine, Susan.  1995.  Drumbeat, Heartbeat: A Celebration of the Powwow.  Minneapolis: Lerner Press.

Browner, Tara.  2002.  Heartbeat of the People: Music and Dance of the Northern Powwow.  Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

Carver, Jonathan.  1778.  Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, In the Years 1766, 1767, 1768.  London.

Curtis, N.  Ed.  1968.  The Indians Book: Songs and Legends of the American Indians.  New York: Dover Publications.

Ellis, Clyde.  Ed.  2005.  Powwow.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Howard, James, H.  1955.  Pan Indian Culture of Oklahoma.  Scientific Monthly 80: 215-220.

Laubin, Reginald & Gladys.  1977.  Indian Dances of North American: Their Importance to Indian Life.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Lewis, Meriwether.  1814.  (Reprint 1904). History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, 1804-5-6.  Chicago: A.C. McClurg.

Parfit, Michael.  1994.  Powwow.  National Geographic 185, 6: 88-113.

Tanner, John & Edwin, James.  1830.  (Reprint 2007).  A Narrative Of The Captivity And Adventures Of John Tanner, U. S. Interpreter At The Saut De Ste. Marie During Thirty Years Residence Among The Indians In The Interior Of North America.  Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.

Timberlake, Henry, Lt.  1765. (Reprint 2007).  The Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake: The Story of a Soldier, Adventurer, and Emissary to the Cherokees, 1756-1765.  Cherokee, NC: Museum of the Cherokee Press

White, Julia.  1996.  The Powwow Trail: Understanding and Enjoying the Native American Powwow.  Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company.

William, Bertram.  1791.  Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws; Containing An Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians. Philadelphia.

© 2011 & 2023 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

Perrysburg, Ohio 43551

Professor on November 1st, 2022


© 2012, 2022 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek


Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation


What is Native American?  What an encumbered question.  One might as well ask “Why is the sky blue?”  Obviously a rhetorical question to be profound as one does not need the technical scientific answer to “Why the sky is blue?”

The author has been asked the above question concerning Native America many times and each time the answer is different based on how the inflection of the question was asked.  Does one want to know this based on ancestry, beliefs, civilization, culture, customs, ethnicity, heritage, history, humanities, legality, philosophy, principles, race, religion, spirit, thoughts, traditions, values, or other? 


Is there such a thing as the Full Blooded Indian?  Both Native and Non-Native people hear and use this term a great deal.  For some reason many feel the need to vividly express that they are Full Blooded Indian at any time and during any conversation even if that conversation is only about the weather.  But why the insistence?  Is it not strange that Native America seems to be the only culture survived in which one has to or needs to prove who they are for any reason?  How often does a person of another culture need the words Full Blooded in front of the name of their culture? 


The fact that DNA testing can give results of one’s race has always been a debate.  This comes from the continuous argument on what is race and how many races there are.   Using DNA testing to determine if one is Native American is a rather heated debate.  What some fail to realize is that the DNA test results will show “markers” usually in percentage of certain biological traits associated with a certain race.  The DNA test has shocked many people of all races.  From a person who has been told and belied they are “African American” that does the test and finds they are mostly Indo-European, Native American and Asian and 0% Black to a Native American who believes they are a Full Blooded Indian and finds they are mostly Indo-European, Native American and Black.  There are literally thousands of similar stories.   There are examples of so called Full Blood Indians that are have both BIA and CDIB cards and a family tree of Native American Blood dating back hundreds of years that have had the DNA test to show that they are only 30% – 40% Native American and the other 60% – 70%  was a mix of European, African and Asian DNA.  So it can be argued then that race is visceral especially if one believes that humans are all related and there is only one race – HUMAN.  This may seem to be the case whether one is a starch believer in science or a strict believer in an all-powerful Creator.  Therefore we can say that “What is Native American” is not a question of race.  “What is Native American?”  is more a matter of time and place of where The Creator formed The People.


The term “Native American” itself brings controversy.   Some prefer “Native American” while others want the term “American Indian” and still different parts of the population prefer other terms, words, or phrases.  This subject alone has been the basis of many papers, articles, books and academic Master and PhD thesis and dissertations.   

Native Americans are composed of numerous, nations, tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as intact political communities.

Native Americans have a rather unique relationship with the United States because they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands who have sovereignty or independence from the government of the United States. Their societies and cultures flourish within a larger population of descendants of immigrants (both voluntary and slave): African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and European peoples. Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens were granted citizenship in 1924 by the Congress of the United States.

Native Americans in the United States

The approximate legal definition for Native Ameriacns or American Indians in the United States is that they are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii.

For History and Cultural definitions Native Americans or American Indians are the indigenous peoples of all of North America and South America as it relates to the continents being referred to as the New World.

That seems simple enough, but actually the classifications of “Who is Native American?” in the United States is much more complicated.

Legal jargon is rampant and among the laws of the United States since the 19th Century alone there are over 50 legal definitions of American Indian or Native American.  To make matters worse, each one of these definitions can be confusing when compared to another terms because there can be found many double-standards of each meaning.

For example 2 Federal Laws give different views on who is Native American:

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-341) states that one is American Indian only if a member of a tribe that is eligible for certain special programs from the Unites States only for the status of being American Indian.

            The term ‘Indian Tribe’ means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by   the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.


The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) sates that one is American Indian if they are part of a federal or state recognized tribe regardless of special programs by the U.S. for having status as Indian:

            Any Indian tribe, band, nation, Alaska Native village, or any organized group or community which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians; or (2) Any Indian group that has been formally recognized as an Indian tribe by a State legislature or by a State commission or similar organization legislatively vested with State tribal recognition authority.

Confused yet?  Well it gets worse as The U.S. Department of the Interior (which governs the Bureau of Indians Affairs) explicitly states on its website about the Arts & Crafts Act that, “Under the Act, an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or State recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian Tribe.”

That thus contradicts the Bureau of Indian Affairs that rule only BIA Federally Recognized Native Americans are real Native Americans and State Recognized Native Americans are not the real deal.

Many BIA Tribes also argue that State Recognized Tribes are not Native Americans.

There are in reality 3 legal designations of Native America in the United States:

1. Federally Recognized via the Bureau of Indian Affairs

            These Tribes are recognized by the U.S. Congress and the BIA and receive certain benefits via the BIA for being Native American.  This is done by some sort of continuous legal relationship binding (usually a treaty, executive order, etc.)

2. Federally Congressionally Recognized

            These Tribes are recognized by the U.S. Congress but not the BIA and do not receive certain benefits via the BIA for being Native American.  There may be Acts of Congress etc. but there is no continuous legal relationship binding such as a treaty or executive order.

3. State Recognized

            These Tribes are recognized by individual State Legislatures.  This is done through an Act of a State General Assembly Legislature and can be a continuous legal relationship binding between the Tribe and the State Government.


This is the Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood.  This unique document is official United States paperwork that certifies a person possess a certain amount of Native American blood of a Federally Recognized American Indian Tribe.  It is issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  It is not a birth certificate as many think or believe.  One must apply for this by providing a full genealogy and other supporting documents showing direct Native American Ancestry from one or both parents from an enrolled Native American on the Dawes Rolls. 

The CDIB is rather controversial for both Federally Recognized Tribes, State Recognized Tribes and non-Recognized Tribes.  The degree of blood is usually the most controversial aspect because the factors is based solely on previous enrollment of relative and has nothing to do with the science element of how much Indian Blood one may have. 


The Author is not sure of how to explain what is or is not Native American or what is or what is not being a Native American.  But there are some things it is not limited to as many say: ancestry, beliefs, civilization, culture, customs, ethnicity, heritage, history, humanities, legality, philosophy, principles, race, religion, spirit, thoughts, traditions, values, or other.

It is all that and so much more that for many Native Americans it almost impossible to express in mere words.

It is more a Cultural Pure State of Being & Way Of Life as Made and Given by The Creator. 

At least that is the author’s profound answer to such a profound question: “What is Native American.”


Duthu, Bruce N.  2008.  American Indians and the Law.  New York: Penguin Group.

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties.  1903.  Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office

Mihesuah, Devon.  1996.  Killing the white man’s Indian: Reinventing Native Americans at the End of the Twentieth Century.  Atlanta: Clarity Press.

Pevar, Stephen L.  1992.  The Rights of Indians and Tribes: The Basic ACLU Guide to

Indian and Tribal Rights.  Southern Illinois University Press, 1992

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-341).

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644).

Washburn, Wilcomb E.  1995.  The Assault on Indian Tribalism:

The General Allotment Law (Dawes Act) of 1887.  Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Wilkinson, Charles.  2008.  Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations.  New York: W.W. Norton.

© 2012, 2022 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

Professor on November 1st, 2021

© 1999, 2011, 2021 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director,Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation


This is an information only paper of historical research on the creation of the 2nd Amendment and its relation to Native America. It is not a work of argument or discussion on or about the 2nd Amendment or any issues since the writing of the amendment.  The Author is in no way taking any sides on any rhetoric.  Please be aware that this is for knowledge on the hows and whys the 2nd Amendment was created with regards to or more specific disregards to the Native American People.

As for any arguments on the 2nd Amendment, that is another subject entirely to be discussed elsewhere.

Thank You

– Jamie K. Oxendine


The 2nd Amendment reads as follows with punctuation:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This one somewhat simple concept has been argued about since it was first proposed by James Madison in 1789.  Everything from the reason why it was written to the placement of punctuation and wording (especially the placement and use of the word of) has created heated arguments, debates, law sues, fights and more for what appears to be forever.  The amendment passed by Congress has different punctuation than the amendment passed and ratified by the individual states.  In fact what eventually became the 2nd Amendment was argued, debated and changed in the House, the Senate and the States multiple times from June 1789 until 1791 when it finally became law.

From the moment it was proposed the Native American Culture was an integral part of the early arguments and debates on this 2nd Amendment.  Most of America and the world have no idea that America’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms was in part to protect one from Native Americans and even give one the right to kill Native Americans.


When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, a number of important statesmen led by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason and others, felt that citizens’ rights should be protected more specifically than what was done in other countries.  The overall abuse of European government’s total ignorance of individual rights had been one of the main causes of the Americans revolting from the British Empire.  That work became the first 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution known as the Bill of Rights and were passed in 1791 (The Constitution was written in 1787).  They are still the basic fundamental source of such important individual freedoms such as speech, press, religion and more.

The U.S. Constitution was a very complex and profound document for its time.  What most Americans take for granted now was very new and quite radical of any state of government in the late 18th Century.

The new document had to be ratified by the conventions of nine states (Article VII Ratification).  It was approved by 12 states in convention by unanimous consent of the states present on September 17, 1787 (Rhode Island was not present).  Then outside of convention each state had to individually accept and ratify the constitution.  The first of the 13 states to do this was Delaware on December 7, 1787.  The Constitution was declared ratified June 21, 1788, when nine of the states had ratified it individually.  The last of the 13 states to ratify was Rhode Island on May 29, 1790.  As one can see it took the 13 states just over 2 ½ years to finally individually accept the new U.S. Constitution.  Why so long?    

In 1787 the newly written and proposed U.S. Constitution was a very unusual document.  It was the first written national constitution since ancient times. It was also the first to set up what became known as the “federal system” of sovereign power coming from the people.  This power of the people was established by two factions: the federal government and the individual government of the states.

This type of government was very different from anything seen in Europe, Asia and many other countries across the world.  It was not however new or different to the Nations of Native America. In fact it is well known and documented that many of our “Founding Fathers” admired and copied ideas and concepts of the governments of the Native American Nations of the New World (specifically those of the Eastern Woodlands).  The Native American governments were truly for and by the people.

The new government was a very different system over the one under which the nation had been governed since the end of the American Revolution in 1781 and the passage of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  The old government under the Articles of Confederation had put nearly all of the power in the hands of the states and gave very little power to the central government.  Under the Articles of Confederation the states could cooperate with the central government or totally ignore it if they so choose and many states did just that.

The brand new Constitution was quite extreme and created many arguments, debates and downright fights between congressmen, senators and of course states.  Obviously there was considerable opposition to the new form of government under this Constitution and the issues of the individual states rights vs. that of the federal government, but eventually the strongest supporters of the new system won out.  This was the Federalist Party and finally by 1790 all 13 states had ratified the Constitution.  With that hurdle however came another problem of passing a Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights as mentioned before came about because the loss of personal and civil rights and liberties had been the original reason for rebellion against the British Empire.  Specific guarantees of these rights were given by a group of statesmen led by Jefferson, Madison, Mason and others who felt that these rights were sufficiently important to be stated separately and they became the first 10 amendments of the Constitution.  One such right was the 2nd Amendment to “bear arms” for the following reasons as set forth in 1791:

1. Protection from the “Blood Thirsty Heathen Red Savages”

2. Protection from another country or government including Native American Nations

3. Protection from Wild Animals, including Native Americans

4. Hunting to put meat on the Table


1.  Protection from the “Blood Thirsty Heathen Red Savages”

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 set a pattern for settlement and statehood for territories in the West.  The West at this time was the Great Lakes as well as the rich Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys. This was passed even though the Proclamation of 1763 and Treaties with many Native American Nations prohibited settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains.  That proclamation was under the British Crown though and since the United Sates just won a war with said Crown, they felt no need to honor any treaties between the British Crown and any Native American Nations.  The fact that America was a new Nation and claimed territories west of the Appalachians said to all “We own all and we shall take it.”

With this concept of “take and take” American settlers poured across the Appalachian Mountains and onto Native American Nations territory as well as territory claimed under British rule, French rule and even Spanish rule.  This created many issues with Great Britain, France and Spain. It also created a massive amount of problems with the Native American Nations.  Not to mention the fact that there was already high tension with Native American Nations in what was the borders of the United States.

Americans felt that they could not trust the Native Americans.  This was for many reasons including the support of many Native American Nations as Allies to Great Britain during the Revolution.  The fact that the Native Peoples had been split by Europeans since before the French & Indian War and that many Native American Nations helped the American Colonists in the French & Indian War and the American Revolution was completely and utterly forgotten.  Now the great United States saw the Native American Nations as nothing more than a hindrance and a nuisance.  America also feared the Native Americans.  The Native Peoples of this land were often referred to as “Blood Thirsty Savages, Heathen Red Savages, Merciless Savages and Barbarians” as well as other derogatory terms by just about everyone from the average farmer to the well-off merchant and the “Founding Fathers.”

In fact the most illustrious and sacred document of freedom and liberty the Declaration of Independence refers to Native Americans as “…the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions” Article XXVII.

Colonial Law from as early as the late 17th Century gave permission to “. . .kill savage Indians on sight and at will.” Sadly, the United States did not argue this part of Colonial Rule and added this law to fit their own needs.  Each state was allowed to pass laws allowing the legalized murder of Native Americans.  Although some say that the famous phrase “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” is attributed to General Sheridan of Civil War fame, its original creation goes back to American Colonial times.  What is truly amazing is that such laws to kill Native Americans continued to be made and passed by new territories and new states well into the 19th Century.  It is also very sad that some of these state laws have just recently been amended in the late 20th Century and some have yet to be amended at all.

2.  Protection From Another Country or Government including Native American Nations

Seeing how new the U.S. was, it needed protection from a possible invasion from another country, government, Native American Nation or colonists still loyal to England.  This was especially true since America had just fought a long and very hard War of Independence with the British Empire and its Native American Allies.  Contrary to popular belief, The American Revolution was not just a war between Great Britain and its American Colonies.  It was really a world war with participation and interests from European Countries and of course many Native American Nations.  After the Revolutionary War, America was quite venerable and economically weak as war is very expensive.  America was also very venerable patriotically due the fact that an amazing 25% of colonists remained loyal to the British Crown during and after the Revolution.  The fear of a Loyalist uprising getting support from either a European power or Native American power was a grave fear to America. 

Although America had created a fighting Army, Navy, and Marines during the war, its forces after the war were a very different story as now there was no major standing Army, Navy or Marines.  For a side note: The Coast Guard was technically created via the Revenue-Marine on August 4, 1790. 

Many of the armed forces in the war were composed of everyday civilians…and do not forget that American Forces also relied on Native American Allies. This was particularly true of the Army which was greatly composed of the Civilian Militia also called the Colonial Militia during the French & Indian War just barely three decades before.  Most know the militia as the famous “Minute Men.”  The Civilian Militia would be a permanent tradition and part of the armed forces for a long time to come including well up to the late 19th Century. It is almost as though the “Founding Fathers” could predict the future and hence the term “militia” is used in the wording of the 2nd Amendment.  The Navy and Marines also relied on “civilian militia” creation as the main requirement was that one had “knowledge of the sea.”  To make it official that militia was important Congress passed The National Militia Act on May 8, 1792 establishing an Uniform Militia.

The following establishment history of American armed forces clearly shows the need for the “civilian militia” to be armed and ready to protect the country in time of need:

The Continental Army: June 14, 1775 became The United States Army June 3, 1784

The Navy of the United Colonies: October 13, 1775 became the United States Navy on April 30, 1798

The Continental Marines: November 10, 1775 became the United States Marine Corps on July 11, 1798

The Revenue Marine: August 4, 1790 became the United States Coast Guard on January 28, 1915

With all this, it was not hard to see that an armed America was greatly needed…but was it needed to kill the Native American Nations?

One of the many freedoms that the American Colonists enjoyed even under British rule was the ownership of firearms.  This right was not opposed by the Monarchy of Britain until after the French & Indian War when King George did not like the abhorring of weapons by the Colonists.  This along with His Majesties Forces patrolling the streets of American towns as well as the Quartering of Soldiers was not well appreciated by the American Colonists.  To avoid the Quartering of Soldiers that the British Empire practiced in America, the U.S. Constitution banned this by passing the 3rd Amendment (one amendment and part of the Bill of Rights that many Americans do not even know exists and why it exists).

A freedom to possess and own firearms was a great freedom indeed.  It was a freedom that the American Colonists did not take for granted because they knew that only those of aristocracy and great wealth were allowed to own firearms in Europe.  This was also the case in countries of Asia that had firearms.

The First national census of 1790 gives the population of the United Sates at 4 million.  Of course that 4 million did not include any Native American Nations under treaties with the United States or any International Treaties with any other European States.  That number also did not include other Native American Nations, African Slaves, American Born Slaves, Asians and any other persons of color.

A brief note:  the undeclared war with France of 1798-1800 was one of many other reasons that the right to bear arms and have a “state militia” for the protection of the new county was passed.

3.  Protection from Wild Animals including Native Americans

This is the only discussion of the 2nd Amendment that does not have any references to any laws.   The only notes found on this subject were direct and to the point and mainly for the concern of farmers, trappers, and others living on the American Frontier.  The sad part is that these people put Native Americans into the same category as wild animals.

Considering the United States was a country of 13 states stretching from New Hampshire to Georgia and with only a population of 4 million it is easy to say that the United States was literally all Frontier.  One must remember that at this time there were very few metropolises and the country side began immediately at the city limits.  One could say that as little as just a few miles outside the largest cities of Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Baltimore, and even Charleston one was in the countryside and close to being on the Frontier or actually on the Frontier.

Wild America was truly very much wild in the late 18th Century.  Many animals that are rare and even extinct today or gravely endangered were in great numbers including medium to large carnivores of the forest.  The constant encroachment of settlers was dangerous activity to both man and beast.  The firearm was the main weapon for protection.

4.  Hunting to put meat on the Table

For all the reasons to have and pass an amendment for the right to bear arms, this is the one that would appear to make the most common sense in relation to the time the amendment was passed.  It is also the only reason that does not mention Native Americans.

One might even think that this reason could not be argued as it was clearly seen obtaining meat for many was only with the use of firearms.  That may have been true for some time but as early as the 19th Century, environmentalists, animal rights activists and others argued why this need for the hunting of animals for food, sport and fashion.  The almost annihilation of the American Beaver, American Bison and other animals proved that these arguments made a very good point.

These urgings have continued well into the 21st Century as today it may seem that all of America can get meat already processed from the local supermarket, meat market, restaurant, etc.  That is far from true but it may truly surprise some Americans (mostly in the urban setting) that many people still put meat on the table via the long practice of hunting with a firearm.  This is done for many reasons including costs and the want to not use farm raised animals and massed produced raised animals for food. 


The author knows that some readers are asking: “So anybody could keep and bear arms right?”  The answer is a most unequivocal NO!  It is well known that no African Slaves or American Born Slaves or Freed Men of Color could own, possess or carry any firearms.  But what most do not know is it was illegal for Native Americans to possess firearms and it was even illegal to trade firearms with Native Americans.  Of course enforcement of this policy was more “pick and choose” as well as “hit and miss” or just plain “overlooked” and thus it is why Native Americans have had firearms either legally or illegally ever since.  How is that possible?  Well although it was illegal to trade firearms to Native Americans, it was not uncommon for both the federal government and state governments to give firearms to the Native American Nations so they could make war amongst themselves. 

Again the author is not arguing any side or sides of the 2nd Amendment.  The author is only presenting very important and extremely overlooked information concerning the 2nd Amendment and its relation to Native Americans. Considering the fact that three main reasons we have the right to keep and bear arms is to protect “ourselves” from the so called “American Indian Savages” and Native American Nations is something that seriously needs to be addressed and changed.


Constitution of The United States of America

The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America

Anderson, Casey & Horwitz, Joshua.  2009.  Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea.  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 

Bickford, Charlene, et al.  2004.  Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791: Correspondence: First Session, September – November 1789.  Johns Hopkins University Press. 

Bogus, Carl.  1998.  The Hidden History of the Second Amendment. University of California at Davis.

Bogus, Carl T.  2001.  The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Bear Arms.  New York: The New Press.

Cornell, Saul.  2006.  A Well-Regulated Militia – The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America.  Oxford University Press.

Cottrol, R.J.  & Diamond, R.T.  1991.  The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro – Americanist Reconsideration.   Georgetown Law Journal 80: 309 – 361.

Halbrook, Stephen P.  1989.  A Right to Bear Arms: State and Federal Bills of Rights and Constitutional Guarantees. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 

Kates, D. B. Jr.  1983.  Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment.  Michigan Law Review 82: 204 – 273.

Levinson, S.L.  1989.  The Embarrassing Second Amendment.  Yale Law Journal 99: 637 – 659.

Levy, Leonard W.  1999.  Origins of the Bill of Rights.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Malcolm, Joyce Lee.  1996.  To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right.  Harvard University Press.

Merkel, William G. & Uviller, H. Richard.  2002.  The Militia and the Right to Arms, Or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent.  Duke University Press.

Vile, John R.  2005.  The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America’s Founding (2 Volume Set). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Wills, Garry.  2000.  Whose Right to Bear Arms Did the Second Amendment Protect?  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

© 1999, 2011 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

Professor on November 1st, 2020

Do you live in a Native American state?

State Name Origins

© 2012 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation


Most Americans have no concept of the origin history of their state or the state they live in and this includes the knowledge of the origins of the state name.  Most of our state’s names have origins in Native American Languages.  There are many debates on these origins as each name may have more than one language base as well as have bad interpretations from the European Languages of English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Russian and more.  The other major debate is the spellings of the original words.  The earliest spellings come from the closest concept of phonics and pronunciations as known by the languages that first encountered the Native American word.  It was very common for the Europeans and later Americans to gravely miss pronounce many Native American words and also miss-understand Native American meanings of the same words.  Often times the very poor interpretation of Native American words by both the Europeans and later Americans led to many words and many spellings for the same thing.

Just one example of how confusing this can be is the many pronunciations and spellings there have been for the Tribe and state known as Iowa:

The Iowa Tribe has been known as the Aiaoua, Aiaway Ainovines , Aiodais, Aiouez, Ayaabois,  Ayoes, Ayouos, Ayous, and Yoais among the French, as the Ajoues among the Spanish, as the Ioways and Iowaas among the English, as the Aiaouez, Aiauway, Aiaway and Aieway among early Americans and finally as the Iowa as accepted for the Tribe and territory by 1835.

The list of state name origins below is far from definitive as research indicates that there can be several origins of each word from more than one Tribe as well as several different interpretations of Native American words by the Europeans and Americans.

*Greatly Debated


Alabama from the name of the Alibamu or Albaamu Tribe with origins among the Creek meaning town and Choctaw meaning thicket clearers and vegetable gatherers and cutters of medicine plants.

Alaska from the Aleut word alakshak meaning peninsula or great land.

*Arizona from the Pima and Papago word arizonac meaning place of small springs or little spring place as well as from the Spanish interpretation of the Aztec arizuma.

Arkansas from the name of the Quapaw Tribe from other neighboring Native American Nations as well as bad French interpretation of the word acansa meaning downstream place.

Connecticut from the Mahican word quinnehtukqut meaning beside the long tidal river.

*Idaho from the area tribes meaning gem of the mountains as told by early settlers of the territory but actually time showed that it was a created word by a mining lobbyist from a possible Shoshone word and possible Plains Apache word idaahe.

Illinois from the French interpretation of Algonquin Miami iliniwek and ilenweewa meaning warriors and tribe of superior men as well as an adaptation of Odawa ilinouek.

Indiana meaning Land of Indians as given by the Americans for the many tribes that lived there and that were moved there before Indiana became a state as it was the real first Indian Territory established by the United States.

Iowa from the name of the Ioway Tribe, but also possible corruption of the word Kiowa as used by the Meswaki Nation for the Tribe that lived south of them on the Iowa River to describe those that wander.

Kansas from the name of the Kansa or Kaw Tribe meaning people of the south wind.

Kentucky from the Wyandot word kahtentah and the Lenape word kahntukay and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) words kentahten, kantake and ketakeh meaning land of tomorrow describing the area that was a mutual and neutral hunting ground for many Tribes.

Massachusetts from the Algonquian Narragansett messatossec, massawachusett, and massachuseuck of the Massachusetts Tribe meaning people of the Green Hill.

Michigan from the Anishinaabe micigana, meicigama or meshi-gami meaning great waters or great lakes.

Minnesota from the Lakota word minisota meaning sky tinted waters for the many lakes.

Mississippi from the French interpretation of the Anishinaabe and Algonquin words for the river misissipi, messipi and misiziibi meaning Great River.

Missouri from the Iliniwek Missouri Tribe wimihsoorita meaning owners of big canoes. Other origins include the Lakota word for the Missouris Tribe meaning town of large canoes or wooden canoe people and even river of the big canoes.

Nebraska from the Oto word nebrathka, the Omaha-Ponca nbdhaska, and the Ioway-Otoe nbraske meaning flat water or flat river for the Platte River.

New Mexico from mexitli the Aztec God and named by Spain for its new territories north of the Rio Grande River.

North Dakota & South Dakota named for the Territory of Dakota from the Dakhota (Dakota) Tribe and possible the Santee dakhota as well as possible Omaha-Ponca dakkudha.

Ohio from the Haudenosaunee word oheo or ohioway for the confluence of the Alleghany and Ohio Rivers meaning good river and beautiful river.

Oklahoma from the Choctaw words okla for people and humma for red meaning land of the red people.

*Oregon from the possible French interpretation of Algonquin Native words wauregan and ouregon for the Oregon River (what would be called the Columbia River) and maybe French word ouaricon-sint for the Wisconsin River.

Tennessee from the Aniyunwiya (Cherokee) word tenasi or tanasi for the Little Tennessee River and one of their main villages that at one time was the capital of the Nation.

Texas from a Caddo word teyshas meaning friends or allies.

Utah for the Ute Tribe meaning high up people and later poorly translated people of the mountains as they were sometimes referred to by the Apache from the word yudah and yuttahih.

Wisconsin from the Anishinaabe words wishkonsing, or miskwasiniing, or wazhashkwiishing as well as Miami meskonsing with various meanings from red place, red stone place, place of the beaver, or place of muskrat lodges, or has also been attributed to the French interpretation ouisconsin of wiishkoonsing meaning grassy place.

Wyoming from the Algonquin Lenape word maughwauwama meaning large plains at the big flat river as their word for the Wyoming Territory that reminded them of the same area of the Wyoming Valley in their homeland of Pennsylvania.


As one can see, this is just another example of our rich Native American Culture in the United States.  This greatly extends to names of regions, counties, cities, streets, lakes, mountains, rivers, and so much more.  We are a country of Native American word origins.

This is also just one small study into the linguistics nightmare of a short list of words with Native American origins.  One can see that the various ways of pronouncing and spelling a Native American word over time has created much debate on where and when the original names of our states came.


Afable, Patricia O. & Beeler, Madison S.  1996.  Place Names.  In Languages.  Ives Goddard, Ed. Vol. 17 of Handbook of North American Indians.  William C. Sturtevant, Ed. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.

Bright, William.  2004.   Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Campbell, Lyle.  1997.   American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chamberlain, Alexander F.  1902.  Algonkian Words in American English: A Study in the Contact of the White Man and the Indian.  The Journal of American Folklore, 15, (59) 240-267.

Crowley, Terry. 1992.   An Introduction to Historical Linguistics.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cutler, Charles L. 1994.  O Brave New Words! Native American Loanwords in Current EnglishNorman: University of Oklahoma Press.

DeMallie, Raymond J.  2001.  Plains.  Vol. 13 of Handbook of North American Indians.  William C. Sturtevant, Ed.  Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution.  

Flexner, Stuart B. & Hauck, Leonare C.  Eds.  1987.   The Random House Dictionary of the English Language.  New York: Random House.  

Guyton, Kathy.  2009.  U.S. State Names: The Stories of How Our States Were Named.  Nederland, CO: Mountain Storm Press.  

LeClaire, Nancy, & Cardinal, George.  1998.  Alberta Elders’ Cree Dictionary.  Earle Waugh, Ed.  Edmonton:  U of Alberta Press.

Nyholm, Earl & Nichols, John D.  1995.  A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe.  University of Minnesota  Press.

Rankin, Robert.  2005.  Quapaw.  In Native Languages of the Southeastern United States, eds. Heather K. Hardy & Janine Scancarelli, Eds.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Rhodes, Richard A.  1985.  Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary.  Trends in Linguistics Documentation 3.  Berlin:  Mouton.

Rhodes, Richard A.  2002.  Multiple Assertions, Grammatical Constructions, Lexical Pragmatics, and the Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary.  In Making Dictionaries:  Preserving Indigenous Languages of the Americas.  Frawley, Hill, and Munro, Eds.  Los Angeles:  University of California Press.

Sanders, Thomas E., & Walter W. Peck. Eds.  1973.  Literature of the American Indian. Berkeley: Glencoe.

Sturtevant, William C. Ed.  1983.  Handbook of North American Indians.  Washington, DC:  Smithsonian Institution.

© 2012 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

Professor on November 1st, 2019


© 2005, 2010 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation



For most people including meteorologists and other weather people, “Indian Summer” is a warm spell after a cold snap usually during Autumn. But for a more thorough definition it is the warm spell of sunny and clear weather with temperatures above normal (usually at least 70 °F) and with all the leaves turned or fallen but before the first snow. To be even more precise and to the original Native American origin it is a warm spell of as little as 4 days and as much as 7 days after the final hard killing frost that occurs in Autumn or a warm spell after a snow in Winter. As the original story happened in January, some Native American Elders even say that “Indian Summer” can only be a true “Indian Summer” if it occurs in January during warm temperatures when the ground is not frozen or covered with snow.   (Of course each of the definitions here are highly dependent on geography).

This phenomenon is a natural part of a weather system with a technical term of weather singularity (a climatic event that recurs around the same time of year) and can occur all over the world. In the Northern Hemisphere and especially North America however, “Indian Summer” is always a very memorable and welcome warm spell that occurs during Autumn.

The American Meteorological Society defines “Indian Summer” as:

“A time interval, in mid- or late autumn, of unseasonably warm weather, generally with clear skies, sunny but hazy days, and cool nights. In New England, at least one killing frost and preferably a substantial period of normally cool weather must precede this warm spell in order for it to be considered a true “Indian summer.” It does not occur every year; and in some years two or three Indian summers may occur.”


Europeans and later Americans had many conceptual ideas on the origins and names of “Indian Summer.” A brief description is given in the next few paragraphs, but the most amazing factor is that no one that was and is still curious about the phenomenon has bothered to discuss and or confer with Native America on the weather pattern. If only those in the past had asked Native America they could have saved some 300+ years of theories (mostly incorrect). Also if those that are still not sure of the phenomenon like many a meteorologists or weather persons would ask Native America, then they could have the correct knowledge and the Native American Culture could finally get respect for something that is uniquely indigenous in its explanation here in the New World.

For over 230 years the White Man has known of “Indian Summer” and has written in many Farmers Almanacs the following: “If All Saints brings out Winter, Saint Martin’s brings out Indian Summer.” This has been an old saying based on the idea that if winter started right after All Saints’ Day (November 1) then “Indian Summer” was always any warm spell between St. Martin’s Day (November 11) and November 20. The earliest of these references to “Indian Summer” can be found in The Farmer’s Almanac by Robert B. Thomas as early as the 18th Century. But this concept was not Native American and was a recollection to what the White Man called the warm spell in former times in Europe. Another name for “Indian Summer” from the White Man was Saint Luke’s Little Summer. It was any warm spell that occurred about the same time as Saint Luke’s Feast Day of October 18. The many European names for this warm spell were:

Altweibersommer or Goldener Oktober – Austria, Germany

Brittsommar – Sweden

Crone’s Summer – Norway, Finland

Old Ladies Summer – Russia, Baltic States and some Slavic States

Saint Martin’s Summer – England, France, Italy, Portugal & Spain

The earliest known literacy use of the term “Indian Summer” was in 1778 by French-American soldier turned farmer/writer J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur who wrote the following on the phenomenon and the land:

“Sometimes the rain is followed by an interval of calm and warmth which is called the Indian Summer; its characteristics are a tranquil atmosphere and general smokiness. Up to this epoch the approaches of winter are doubtful; it arrives about the middle of November, although snows and brief freezes often occur long before that date.”

“Then a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer.”

As for any real reference to the Native America Culture, the Europeans and later Americans all had some very interesting theories on the use of the term “Indian Summer.” Here are just ten theories as to its etymology:

  1. American settlers mistook the sight of sunrays through the hazy autumn air for Native American campfires and called this “Indian Summer.”
  2. Early European settlers first came across the phenomenon in America as Indian’s Summer.
  3. Native Americans made use of the dry, hazy weather to attack the whites before the hard winter set in.
  4. In Colonial New England “Indian Summer” referred only to a January thaw when Native American raiding parties would be expected on the western and northern frontier territories.
  5. The writer Boorstin speculates in The Americans: The Colonial Experience that the term originated from raids on European colonies by Native American war parties in late autumn during the warm spell.
  6. There are two accounts from 18th Century American Army Officers leading retaliation expeditions against Native Americans for winter raiding parties during warm spells on settlers in Ohio and Indiana Territories in 1790, and the State of Pennsylvania in 1794.
  7. This was the traditional period during which Native Americans harvested crops.
  8. It was considered the main hunting season for several animals for the Native Americans as it was thought the mild and hazy weather encourages the animals to come out and the haziness of the air gives the hunter the advantage to sneak up on its prey without being detected.
  9. Native Americans at that time were known to have set fires to meadow grasses, underbrush and woods to accentuate hazy, smokey conditions. (Even though the Native Americans did this at other times of the year for both hunting and agricultural reasons).
  10. Pure Prejudice: Because the Europeans and later Americans did not trust the Native Americans, any term relating to “Indian” was seen as a negative aspect and thus the word “Indian” was applied to many falsities and untrustworthiness. The phrase “Indian Summer” then came to be used to describe a “Fool’s Summer” or false summer.


As early as the 16th Century some of the White Man was using the term “Indian Summer” in regards to Algonquian Native Americans in New England that believed the condition was caused by a warm wind sent from The Creator Cautantowwit (Kiehtan). This wind was sent from the court of his house which was always in the direction of the South West. Upon death, most Algonquian bodies were placed in the grave with a southwestern orientation, the direction of Cautantowwit’s house.

The phenomenon was well known among many Nations of Native America and has several names including:

Lateness Warmth – Haudenosaunee

Little Summer – many Nations from the Powhattan in VA to the Muscokee Creek in GA

Little Thaw – Algonquian

Man’s Summer or Nibubalnoba – Abenaki

Person’s Summer – Narragansett

Another Summer – Anishinaabe & other Great Lakes Nations

Zimo’s Summer – Penobscot

Although “Indian Summer” was known across Indian Country from the Atlantic to the Rockies, its main origin is a Story of Love Among The People of the Eastern Woodlands. There are several versions of this story among the Eastern Nations and most involve a single person’s need for foods and provisions after the hard killing frost or the onset of winter.


Among The People of the South East Woodlands, there lived a most noble Warrior. He was a man of integrity, kindness, compassion and honesty. He was a rather skillful farmer, resourceful hunter, strong warrior, and all around well respected man. He loved The People very much and often was first to help with anything related to their needs.

During each growing season The Creator blessed The Warrior with a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and more. The Warrior always gave to The People from his overwhelming harvest. For each and every hunting trip The Creator blessed him with more meat than he ever needed for himself or his family and for this reason The Warrior always shared his abundance with everyone in all the Towns of The People.

In time The Warrior met and married the loveliest of the Ladies among The People from all the Towns. They lived a most wonderful life and were blessed with two beautiful children: a son and a daughter. The Warrior, his family and The People lived in great happiness and all seemed well among the Towns of The People.

But one Season things grew dim and hard. The Moon of the Hard Frost (November) came early so it seemed. Actually the Hard Killing Frost did come early during the Moon of Harvest (September) and brought with it a great illness to the Towns of The People. Many grew sick but no one died. This illness however was very grave to The Warrior’s Town as all grew ill and The Warrior lost his beloved wife and children. No one knows why The Creator only took the lives of The Warrior’s wife and children.

Now the loss of a family member is very painful; but the loss of three members of the family and especially one’s spouse and children is massively devastating.

The Warrior fell into a great depression which was very understandable. He cleaved to his Wife’s Family as The People were taught and they gladly took him in and provided for him. Seeing that the loss was so great it was of no shock to The People that his depression was to last for some time and thus many Moons passed as well as many Seasons. After Four Seasons had passed a few felt that he should begin to start a new, but others did not and neither did his Wife’s Family. Knowing the great love that The Warrior had for his Love, his Wife’s family continued to take on the position of his care. The Matriarch knew that there could be no set limit for the loss of a spouse and children and thus The Warrior could grieve as long as needed.

Of course The People did not question the Matriarch and they also helped with provisions for The Warrior that the family could not provide. But after many more Moons and many more Seasons the depression of The Warrior grew to anger and resentment towards The Creator and The People. The Warrior was now blaming and cursing God for the loss of his family. Eventually this anger led to pure hatred.

After the Seasons had passed four times, the wife’s family begins to see a disturbing trend in The Warrior. They knew the loss was great as they had lost a daughter and grandchildren. They however, saw that this was no longer one grieving but one set on hatred towards The Creator. This could only bring Bad Medicine to The People. The People had only one choice and that was to set The Warrior on his way. They spent the next few Moons trying to help The Warrior find his way back to The Creator and The People.

The Warrior was not ostracized as one might think. Instead he was asked and even begged upon to seek wisdom and guidance from The Creator and cease to have any hated. It was at this time that The People knew they must set up a personal lodge for The Warrior on the outskirts of The Town on the opposite side of a great field and a small Branch of the river.

At first The Warrior did not care about his situation and even cursed The People and The Creator as they escorted him through the Town, across the field and over the Branch. The People loved The Warrior very much and for this they built him a lodge near the Branch and placed provisions of food including some meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts in calabash containers within the dwelling.

This was done during the Moon of Much Heat (August). The Warrior was actually fine as he had plenty of food in the lodge and he could easily gather foods from any fields or the woods if he so choose. He chose not to take care of himself in that way though and lived only off what was in his lodge. By the Moon of Big Winter (December) The Warrior was far from fine and had very little food.

In his great despair and hunger The Warrior finally succumbed to his senses and realized that he had wrongly been blaming The Creator for his demise. He immediately fell to his knees and beseeched The Creator for forgiveness.   God heard his plea and spoke to him in a kind and gentle voice that he was forgiven. The Warrior then begged for sustenance as he was on the brink of starvation now in the Moon of Much Cold (January). God was more than happy to help and told The Warrior to heed his words and do everything that would be asked of him and not question any directions he would be given.

The Creator immediately told The Warrior to look in the empty gourds within the lodge. Upon looking The Warrior discovered many seeds of The Three Sisters (Corn, Beans, and Squash) as well as those of other fruits and vegetables. While The Warrior was pleased to find these seeds he was disappointed that this was the only food The Creator was to give him. God could sense his reluctance to survive on seeds for the Winter and in a firm voice said, “Remember to do exactly as I say and not question my directions. Save enough seeds to eat for two days and take the rest and go out and plant them.”

The Warrior was shocked and rather amused and began to chuckle in response, “But it is the dead of winter and the Moon of Much Cold. Nothing will grow even if I could get it in the hard frozen ground.” In a much firmer voice, The Creator asserted, “Go forth and plant the seeds!”

The Warrior bundled himself and went out from the lodge into the bitter cold. The wind was fierce and the air was very thin. He could feel his skin almost close to freezing even before he had left his lodge just a few paces. He prevailed and made it to a field just over the Branch not far from his lodge. There The Warrior toiled the soil and planted the seeds.   He went back to the lodge with a sad face and shook his head in great disbelief that any of these seeds would come up at all.

In the lodge, God spoke to The Warrior again and said, “Make haste and sleep for tomorrow you must arise early and tend the plants.” The Warrior thought that The Creator might not be The Creator and instead could be the Tricksters Briar Rabbit or Briar Fox in disguise playing another one of their mean tricks. The Warrior knew there is no way any plants will grow from these seeds in the frozen Earth. But then The Warrior thought that even the Tricksters would be not be this bold to play games in such bitter cold as they had to be sleeping in their dens and burrows. So The Warrior lay down and rested.

Early the next morning, The Creator came to The Warrior and commanded, “Arise Warrior and tend the garden for the plants need water.” The Warrior arose and bundled himself greatly for the wind and cold, but upon leaving the lodge he noticed that the day was clear and only cool. Instead of it feeling like the Moon of Much Cold if felt like the Moon of Spring (April). The Warrior went to the field and was amazed to see that every mound in the garden had a seedling ready to burst up through the Earth. He gave each of the seedlings a drink of water and cleared any obstacles that might be in their way.

The 2nd morning The Creator spoke to The Warrior announcing “Arise Warrior and till the plants.” The Warrior arose and as soon as he left the lodge he felt the warmth of the Moon of Flowers (May). He walked to the field and noticed that the seedlings were now plants and all in bloom showing the much food that they would soon produce. The soil was rich and he did till and wean out each and every mound of plants and returned to his lodge. When the evening came God said to The Warrior, “Make haste and sleep for tomorrow you must arise early and weed the plants and begin to enjoy the food I will give you.”

On the 3rd morning The Creator beckoned to The Warrior, “Arise Warrior and weed the plants and eat.” The Warrior was amazed that this day was like the Month of Green Corn (June). Upon reaching the field he was in total shock to see that there was food for him to enjoy. The Warrior also noticed that many of the plants were being chocked by weeds. So The Warrior weeded the plants and picked some fresh fruits and vegetables and returned to his lodge. That evening God told The Warrior to take care of the garden and enjoy the produce it would provide for the next few days and to share this with The People.

The Warrior was awoken on the 4th morning by the voice of The Creator saying, “Arise Warrior and begin the little harvest.” The Warrior arose and felt the warmth of the Moon of Much Ripening (July). He proceeded to the field and begins to harvest many ripe foods. Late that evening when The Town was asleep, The Warrior placed food at the doors of each lodge in The Town.

By the 5th morning, The Creator yelled out, “Arise Warrior and protect the garden!” The Warrior went out of the lodge and was blasted with the heat of the Moon of Much Heat (August). He went to the field and as mentioned by God he saw that he needed to protect the garden from Crow, Coon, Rabbit, Fox and others. He did this as well as gather more food that the garden was creating and shared it with the People.

Very early the 6th morning The Creator called out “Arise Warrior and this day you must very quickly harvest and gather all the foods that I have given you and prepare for Winter.” The Warrior stepped out and felt the cool of the Moon of Harvest (September). He rushed to the garden to harvest all the food. There was much to do for the entire garden had produced a great deal of food. The Warrior worked hard all day and was able to gather and prepare all that was provided from the garden. The Warrior shared all of the prepared food with The Town.

At the 7th morning, The Creator came to the Warrior saying “Arise Warrior and till up the garden and leave the plants for the four-legged and birds of the sky. Then you must go hunting so that you may procure meat.” The Warrior left the lodge and felt the crisp air of the Hunting Moon (October). God also added, “You must be done with your hunting and drying of meat by dusk for the Moon of Hard Frost will fall at the end of the day and tomorrow when you arise it will be the Moon of Much Cold again.” The Warrior did all that he was directed and had a great hunt and dried much meat for the coming Moons. That evening The Warrior was very tired but very grateful and gave praise and thanks to The Creator for the miracle of the past 7 days.

As The Creator said, the Moon of Hard Frost fell that evening and overnight the Moon of Winter (December) passed and when the next morning came it was the Moon of Much Cold (January). At Sunrise The Creator proclaimed to The Warrior and all The People:

“Oh Warrior you have done well following my words and giving back to The People. Now you see that I am always here and a part of whom you are. Ever be happy for what you have when you have it for someday it may not be there and may never be there again. Always Take Care of The People.”

“When the times turn cold and it seems that all is gone after the Hard Killing Frost do not fear for I will always give the people the time of another warmth in your honor to gather just a bit more food. Make it a time of great happiness and sharing and it shall always be known as Little Summer.”

The People heard the voice of The Creator and forever more remembered The Warrior. Now they would never fear the Moon of the Hard Frost for the joy of Little Summer would be close at hand.

As Moons and Seasons past into years the story of The Warrior and Little Summer soon passed to the coming People From Across the Great Water and in time they also learned of the joy of this warm spell after the Hard Killing Frost. They called it after the name they had given The People and thus it has always been known to the White Man as “Indian Summer.”


Boorstin, Daniel J. 1958.  The Americans: The Colonial Experience. New York: Vintage Books.

Cooper, Vernon. Lumbee Elder, Mentor & Teacher to the Author.

Cypress, William. Seminole Elder, Leader & Mentor to the Author.

Deedler, William. 1996. Just What Is Indian Summer & Did Indians Really Have Anyting To Do With It?  Detroit: National Weather Service.

Hudson, Charles.  1976.  The Southeastern Indians. University of Tennessee Press.

Lawson, John. 1967. A New Voyage to Carolina. University of North Carolina Press.

Oxendine, Early. Lumbee Elder, Grandparent, Teacher and Mentor to the Author.

Richter, Daniel, K. 1992. The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization. University of North Carolina Press.

St. John De Crevecoeur,J. Hector.  1981.   Letters from an American Farmer & Sketches of Eighteenth-Century America. Edited:  Albert E. Stone,  New York: Penguin Books.

Swanton, John R. 1929. Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

Tanner, Helen H, Ed. 1987. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. University of Oklahoma Press.

The American Meteorological Society. 1996. Glossary of Weather and Climate.

Thomas, Robert B. 1792-1846. The Farmer’s Almanac. Dublin, NH.

Thomas, Robert B. 2009. The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Dublin, NH: Yankee Publishing Incorporated.

Whittier, John Greenleaf.  1884.  The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Company.

Wood, Peter H., et al. 1989. Powhatan’s Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast. University of Nebraska Press.

Vogel, Carole G. 2001. Weather Legends – Native American Lore and the Science of Weather. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press.

© 2005, 2010 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

Professor on November 1st, 2018

The Real Thanksgiving Foods

© 2011, 2018 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation



Turkey, Mashed Potatoes with gravy, Bread Stuffing/Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, Three Bean Casserole, Macaroni & Cheese, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie … traditional Thanksgiving foods right?

Well they are traditional Thanksgiving foods in the sense that Americans have been eating some of these foods and other foods as Thanksgiving staples for over 200 years. But are they the traditional foods of the earliest Thanksgiving or what is often called The First Thanksgiving? Not really.


One must remember that the Puritan Pilgrims were not the first to celebrate a Day of Thanksgiving as European Colonists to the New World. Feasts of Thanksgiving and Harvest Gatherings were long practiced and well established among the Native Americans long before any Europeans came to the New World.

Also Thanksgiving Feasts had already been celebrated by Spanish, Dutch, and French Explorers in the New World on both the East Coast and the Great South West long before the Puritan Pilgrims. English settlers in the Virginia Jamestown Colony also had Feasts of Thanksgiving before the arrival of the Puritan Pilgrims to present day Massachusetts.

Thus the Thanksgiving of 1621 with the Puritan Pilgrims that gets so much credit for the “Thanksgiving Holiday” was far from the first Thanksgiving with European visitors here in the New World.

For this analysis, we shall look at the foods of the Thanksgiving Feasts at Jamestown, VA and Plymouth, MA.


First, take a look at the Thanksgiving with the Jamestown Colonists.

Jamestown was settled in 1607 and the main Native American Tribes in the area was the Powhatan Confederacy. The first couple years of the Jamestown settlement were a total disaster. It was not until John Smith laid down the law so to speak along with the help of the Native Americans and some British supply ships that the colony was able to even survive.

Some foods at the Jamestown Feast would have been:



















Grain Breads















Sweet Potatoes



Wild Onions

Next, take a glimpse at the Thanksgiving among the Puritan Pilgrims or the so called “First Thanksgiving” at Plymouth. They would have had some of the following foods:





















Grain Breads


Hickory Nuts

Maple Syrup


Native Turnips










Wild Onions


The main meats for both Jamestown and Plymouth would be deer and seafood. Other meats would also include fowl and specifically that of turkey, duck, goose and even swan.

The Europeans would have no problems with cooking and eating deer, duck, goose or rabbit. The American Wild Turkey would be something new. The Turkey is indigenous to The New World. It did remind the Europeans of the Guinea Fowl and they made the mistake of calling it the Turkey Fowl as the Guinea was imported to Europe via Turkey.

Grain breads as well as chicken, eggs, and cheese would have been provided by the Europeans as they raised chickens they had brought over as well as produce cheese from goats also brought over.

While seafood was not new to Europeans, the British Colonists however were not as avid seafood consumers as some Spanish and those from the mainland of Italy. Aside from basic fish, Brits were not as large consumers of other seafoods like clams, oysters, lobster, scallops, crab, mussels and eel and more that were very popular and common among the Native Americans on the East Coast of the New World.

Vegetables of the New World were vast and many. But they varied also by location and climate. For example while cranberries were a staple of the Native American Tribes in what would be called the New England area, they were not common among what was the Virginia Tribes. On the other hand, the sweet potato (not a real potato) was common in the South East but not in the North East.

One food common across all of Native America from the Atlantic to the Pacific would be Corn. Of course the term “corn” is really the English word for any type of grain. In fact the word “corn” was a synonym for “grain” in the English language and would include all grains: wheat, barley, rye, oat, rice and more. Any new grain that the English came across in exploration across the globe was automatically referred to as “corn.” To specify this new grain of the Native Americans, the Europeans began to use the term “Indian Corn.” But in actuality all corn is “Indian Corn” as what became known as corn was introduced to the world by the American Indians. Over time a grave mistake was made in referring to all yellow corn or hybrid corn as just “corn” and any “colored corn” as “Indian Corn.” Trying to correct this measure has been absolutely moot for hundreds of years.

Another error in the naming of an indigenous food is that of the lonely sweet potato and mistakenly calling it a yam. The sweet potato is not a potato at all and has nothing to do with the potato family. This starchy edible is really a member of the Morning Glory family and grew only in the New World. It was not until the Europeans came across the white potato that they gave this the name sweet potato as it had more sugar and thus it was sweet. Calling this new vegetable a yam came from the African Slaves. The sweet potato heavily reminded them of the yam they knew of in Africa. The misnomer stuck and even today the USDA still uses the word yams when referring to sweet potatoes.

Contrary to popular belief, apples and potatoes were not a part of any of the Thanksgivings before the 18th Century. While the potato was a Native American food and only indigenous to the New World, it was a product of South America and did not arrive into North American until the 18th Century. So that means no potatoes or potato items (no mashed potatoes and gravy) at the Thanksgivings of Jamestown or Plymouth. Apple trees had not been established yet in the New World.

Also contrary to so called non-Native authoritarians of the Pilgrim Thanksgiving saying there was no popcorn and or any kind of desserts, they are very mistaken. It has been said by both the English and the Dutch of the New England Thanksgiving that the Native Americans appeared with all kinds of foods including “…skins of popped corn….” Seeing that the Wampanoag did not have barley, wheat, oats, or rye, we know that none of those was the “popped corn” the English or Dutch spoke of. Also wild rice was not as common among the Wampanoag and then we know that the “popped corn” in the skins from the Wampanoag was some kind of popcorn.

But one thing is for certain there were no pies as of yet. So there was no apple pie, no pumpkin pie and no sweet potato pie. That would come much later. But with the various breads of the Europeans and the addition of Native American fruits and Maple Syrup in the North East there would have been what one may call crude cobblers, sweet breads (not what the English called “Sweet Breads” as that is their term for organs or innards). And there would have been something similar to the English Puddings.


Just about all the foods written about in this paper would have been provided with the help of the Native Americans either by direct supply or by the teachings from them to the Puritans and to the Jamestown settlers on how to grow certain crops. The English and the Dutch would have provided foods that they grew but we must remember that most of the crops they grew were indigenous to the New World as given them by the Native Americans. The only difference is that the Europeans would have what would appear to be strange cooking habits of the foods the Native Americans were accustomed to eating. The Europeans would also have provided various breads from the grains they brought over and cultivated as well as from the new grains they now encountered in the New World. They would also have their domesticated animals of chickens and goats to provide eggs and cheese.

Of course the meal most Americans have today is not as grand as these huge 3-4 day feasts of the past.

Whether you prepare foods of the past or foods of the present and whether you want to be historically accurate or very new wave, the main purpose is that you give Thanks for the opportunity to enjoy a holiday of family, friends and loved ones.


Addison, Albert Christopher. 1911. The Romantic Story of the Mayflower Pilgrims. L. C. Page & Company: Boston, MA.

Bercovitch, Sacvan. 1986. A Library of American Puritan Writings. Volume 9 – The Seventeenth Century. Ams Press, Inc.: New York, NY.

Bradford, William & Edward Winslow. 1622. Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of Pilgrims at Plymouth. London.

Brandford, William. 1854. Of Plymouth Plantation. Written 1630-1654, 1st Published Boston.

Gorges, Sir Ferdinando. 1622. A Brief Relation of the Discovery and Plantation of New England. London.

Gorges, Sir Ferdinando. 1658. A Brief Narration of the Originall Undertakings of the Advancement of Plantations Into the Parts of America. London.

Pory, John. 1622. A Description of Plymouth. London.

Pratt, Phineas. 1662. A Court Deposition from Plymouth Colony. London.

Rosier, James. 1605. A True Relation of the Most Prosperous Voyage Made this Present Year 1605 by Caption George Weymouth. London.

Smith, Captain John. 1614. A Description of New England. London.

Smith, Captain John. 1624. The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles. London.

Winslow, Edward. 1624. Good News from New England. London.

© 2011, 2018 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization









Professor on November 1st, 2017

Native American Medicine Wheel:  Comparison In Life

© 2012, 2015 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek


Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation



This paper is about the Native American Medicine Wheel symbol and color and design as opposed to the physical structure known as the Medicine Wheel that is visible as architecture across North America.

Universal truths can be found in this paper of information that is shared and accepted in not being overly protected or sacred. The paper does not attempt to discuss or explain the many concepts of spirituality behind the Medicine Wheel as that is very specific, sacred and rather personable to Native American Nations, Tribes, Clans, Bands, Families and most important Individuals.

Always know that the symbolism varies greatly from Nation to Nation.


The term “Medicine Wheel” is not a Native American expression. It is of course of European and American origin. What the symbol has been called in Native America depends on the language of each particular Nation. This is protected among some Native American Nations and therefore will not be discussed here. For some this has often been lost and “Medicine Wheel” is the common used phrase.

The main characteristic design of the Native American Medicine Wheel is the most basic yet most perfect form – the circle. This is one absolute not only in Native America for sacred hoops but also for most cultures that have some kind of Circle of Life symbol. The second aspect of the Native American Medicine Wheel are the two intersecting lines that create a cross in the middle of the circle. The lines separate the circle into four equal sector parts.  Now that involves what can be seen. The Medicine Wheel must be thought of as floating in space and its cardinal points as well as other points that cannot be seen create a perfect sphere. Thus creating other points for directions up and down and of course perfect center.


Color Explanation and Color Placement on the Medicine Wheel can vary based on various customs by: Nations, Tribe, Clan, Band, Family and Individual.

While it is true that the most common colors of the Medicine Wheel in Native America are Red, Yellow Black and White, these are not the absolute colors for all Native American Nations. Some Nations use, Blue in wake of Black, others have Purple instead of Black. Yet some other Nations have used Green in lieu of Black.

So the four colors of Red, White, Black and Yellow are not set in stone as being for just one People.


It is widely accepted that the Medicine Wheel is a symbol of life and specifically the Circle of Life. As well known the circle represents perfection as well as infinites since the circle has no beginning or end. There can be many reasons behind the meaning of the circle itself among Nations. This can range from representing the Sun, Moon, Earth, and the Stars to representing concepts of life, continuity, consciousness, energy, and so much more. It should be stressed that this is not the same from Nation to Nation and there can be some representation that is very secret. The point at which the lines cross in the middle is extensively accepted as Center. Like color, which point and which sector represents what can be debated and broadly contested instead of discussed and understood from one person to another.

The part points as well as the four sectors have been attributed to representing the following:

The Four Directions: East, South, West, North

The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

The Four Stages of Life: Birth, Youth, Adult, Death

The Four Times of Day: Sunrise, Noon, Sunset, Midnight

The Four Elements of Life: Earth, Fire, Water, Wind

The Four Races of Man: Red, Yellow, Black, White

The Four Trials of Man: Success, Defeat, Peace, War

The Heavenly Beings: Sun, Moon, Earth, Stars

And there are many more!

The four points as well as the four sectors may also have animal, plant and celestial representations. These also differ greatly from Nation to Nation and varies vastly also due to geographical location. For example the Buffalo used for some of the Plains Tribes Medicine Wheel does not have any representation among the Medicine Wheel of the deep South East as that animal was rare among them. However the Alligator that may represent in a sector among the South East Nations did not have any representation among the Plains Tribes as it was not among them.


No one Medicine Wheel is the Medicine Wheel for all of Native America. The differences as mentioned are extremely wide.   One must also remember that the Medicine Wheel is exceptionally individual. A person can develop their own Medicine Wheel that has their own Animal/Spirit Helpers. This knowledge may happen in ceremony, visions, or dreams and other. This type of Medicine Wheel can be so private that only the person and The Creator are aware of its existence.


While there are many sources of information on the Native American Medicine Wheel from books and pamphlets to DVDs and the internet, none have been listed or used for this paper. Instead the author drew for his own knowledge and experience gained from many years of study, discipline and fellowship among The People.


Again this is not a spiritual paper by any means. The author wishes to express to all that true learning about the Native American Medicine Wheel needs to come from respectable people. Use non-human resources carefully. This is mentioned because there are many false, bogus, and faux sites and people on all kinds of information including that on Native America and the symbol seen all across Native America.

© 2012, 2015 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization





Professor on November 1st, 2016

Researching Native American Heritage:  A Native American Genealogical Journey

© 2011, 2016 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek


Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation


Prelude and Disclaimer has received many a request from groups and individuals for help in investigating ones Native American Heritage. This article is for informational purposes on the logistics and projection of such a task. This is just a beginning in a series on Native American Genealogy.


Regardless of whether you are already a Native American enrolled with either a Federal or State Recognized Tribe, this is a wonderful assignment. There is always new history and information to find out about your Family, Band, Clan, Tribe and Nation. Also, never rely on just the work already done by others, not even your own Nation as there could be much more behind that “individual” Tribal Card that has a world of information to questions for you and generations to come.

Never do this for money, fame, revenge or any other hidden agenda, negative or material purposes. There are too many people that want to prove they are American Indian only to be enrolled with a Tribe to obtain certain benefits. These benefits may range from government assistance in education, food, health, housing, insurance and more to certain rights involving fishing, hunting and possession of protected animal parts. While all of this is good and beneficial for honest cultural reasons and future generations, if any of the previous is your sole agenda stop now and do not continue for these motives only.

It is hoped that when one takes on this work, they are doing it as a love of heart, mind and soul.


Interest in this subject is far from new as it has been a subject of writings as far back as the 17th Century for those seeking family heritage from the earliest of movement of Native American Nations at the onset of White Contact and beyond.

It is a great undertaking and requires a substantial amount of energy, time and unfortunately even money. One must be very patient and seek out possible facts from anyone, anything and everything. Always accept any suitable advice and wisdom from your family, friends, acquaintances and yes even enemies and then investigate each and every clue.

Be of great courage if you are one to accept this challenge. Do not falter even with the worse of road blocks. What you find may be shocking skeletons in the closet to extreme historical wonders.

The author is often asked to speak on searching ones Native American ancestry to many groups across the country. This includes both Native and non-Native historical and genealogical societies and groups from as far south as Florida to as far west as Washington. The one thing that is stressed to each and every group and individual that ask about Native American Genealogy is that of patience and even more patience.

When exploring any genealogy be prepared for many blocks that can hinder your search. Whatever that may be, the best advice is to not lose confidence and to continue your quest for information.

Contrary to anything that you heard in the past, genealogy is a massive mystery and Native American Genealogy is a real and true mystery novel. This is due to the enormous amount of oral history and oral data one must rely on as evidence.

There is a time when the searching may come to a bitter halt. One such case that occurs quite often and can be quite heart breaking and frustrating is when all the research leads directly to showing and even proving what one is searching for only to be turned away on what may be called a technicality of time and place. For various reasons (political, historical, cultural, economic and more) just about every Native American Tribe has a cut off or fine line for establishing an ancestral line and the requirements for enrollment can be even more demanding.

If one is only searching to know of the Native Heritage in their hearts and minds, this is not an issue. But for those determined to try and get enrolled in a Native American Tribe, this can be very frustrating.


Contrary to what seems the most logical place to begin do not go straight to the Tribe that you think you may be related to. One must remember that Tribes are bombarded by calls, e-mails, letters and visits from thousands that want to explore their possible Native American Roots.   Research communication to some 100 Tribes from the Atlantic to the Pacific over a 6 month period from August 2011 to January 2012 clearly resulted in statistics that showed the bulk of all communication to Tribes was about enrollment and or genealogy. For some Tribes, the amount of communication per day is truly overwhelming. It is sad but many Tribes just do not have the ability to handle the massive amounts of requests from those doing genealogy searches.


For the longest time DNA was not an option for the general lay person doing their genealogy. The method was way too complicated and very expensive. Even the idea of DNA testing via the mail was a dream of science fiction as the only approach was a blood test at a reputable lab. Blood work was needed and the cost was very high as this lab technique work was not covered by any insurance for testing human pedigree. But in the 1990s, DNA testing in lineage became easier and less expensive. The dreaded blood donation became a simple cheek swap or hair follicle donation and by the year 2000 the costs was even less than $200.00 for many labs that accepted submissions by U.S. Mail.

What most people fail to think is that while DNA testing my show certain Native American Markers, it could also show other racial markers. Even what was thought to be “Full Blooded American Indians” had DNA markers of other races. If one remembers their Biology 101, it makes simple scientific sense as DNA is the common trait and the building block of all races, creeds, and colors of mankind. But even if one dismisses the concepts of science, they may realize that any belief in one Creator would also show we as humans are all related in one aspect or another.

But as great as DNA testing may be, it may not be of very much use with regards to trying to become an enrolled member of a Native American Tribe. One must also remember that very few if any Native American Nations use DNA testing for any heritage verification.


Most people know to start any genealogy work with the family. That is the wisest and the best place to begin. Know that some of the stories from the family will be well placed fiction while the other is miss-placed facts. What is left are the small parts that are real and the most intriguing. The task of weeding through the chaff and putting together the puzzle pieces left will be some of the hardest work undertaken. Value this time with family and that especially of any occasion with Elders. Do not belittle even the simplest of information or stories as this is knowledge that is well worth its weight in gold.

After the initial probing of all in the family so to speak, the next move will be the world of records.


One thing that is well forgotten but well documented is that practically every municipality from the smallest village to the largest city in every county in all 50 states have suffered some kind of disaster that has affected record keeping.   This can be both man created and natural created from fires to storms and more. From the local court house to the local hospital records all over have been lost to earth, wind, fire, water and so much more. While this may seem a huge obstruction, the joy is that much of Native American history is oral and can be found with some patience and persistence and may lead to hard copies of proof.

When the author speaks on many of the records to search when doing ones genealogy the response is very surprising. Many seem shocked about certain records that are mentioned.  Actually the list below is very small as one needs to check anything that may have required the signature or mark of an ancestor. One would be very fascinated as to what documents were required to list race before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, many would be interested in learning about the many government agencies, states and other institutions that kept records of race for identity after the Civil Rights Act and still do to this day. Use this information wisely as the simplest document may be the one that shows Native American Heritage of an ancestor. It is possible that this could be used to prompt more searching and maybe even be accepted by a Tribe to show decent for possible enrollment. Note: key word there is “possible.” Here is just one real example: Many years ago an acquaintance of the author went on this genealogy search. After many years a simple utility bill that listed race of an ancestor lead to a real estate transaction that also showed race that lead to finding that ancestor on the Dawes Rolls for the Cherokee Nation.

Birth Certificates

This includes birth certificate, certificate of live birth, certificate of Indian Blood, family Bible and other family records accepted as facts by the Tribal Government, State Government and Federal Government.


In many ways this may be the real first place to start. This is very true if one does not have much family, or many of the family have passed. This is also a good place to start if family relations are strained. Taxes go back pretty far and yes Native Americans pay and have paid taxes of all kinds.  Taxes however are usually not an indicator of Race.

Other Records

Education (Boarding, Elementary, Secondary and Post-Secondary), Adoption, Cemetery, Census, Death, Divorce, Funeral, Insurance, Law, Marriage, Medical, Military, Social Security, Work Programs

Professional Licenses

Driving (Personal, Business, Commercial, Other), Chemical, Contractor/Construction, Education, Farming, Fishing, Hunting, Law Enforcement, Livestock, Machinery, Medical, Pilot, Teaching,    Weapons


Credit, Electric, Farm, Food, Gas, General Store, Insurance, IOUs, Medical, Mercantile,   Mortgage, Real Estate, Taxes, Telegram, Telegraph, Telephone, Trading Post, Water

The above lists are just a start. They may lead to absolutely nothing, but they may lead to a great deal of information at the sametime. One must take the chance and do the research. Once again the author must stress that the rewards can be very fulfilling.



There are many concerns here and one that is always overlooked is linguistics. That is the study of language and how it greatly changes. The largest issue here is the names and spellings of the Native American Nations. Each of the European Powers and later America all had various names, pronunciations and spellings of Native American groups that has created an unlimited amount of confusion and controversy. What a Nation calls itself and what the European and later American Powers call them can be very different.

Here are a few examples:

Cherokee, Tsalagi and Aniyunwiya are all the same people. Cherokee is the accepted English name, Tsalagi is from the neighbors of that Nation and Aniyunwiya is what they call themselves.

Ottawa and Odawa are the same people, one is the French word for the people the other is the  name of the Nation itself.

Iroquois and Haudenosaunee are the same people. The first is the French word for the people and the 2nd is what the people call themselves.

Navajo and Dine are the same people. One is of Spanish origin and the latter is the name of the  People in their own language.

Some Nations today hold on to the given name by the various powers they have encountered while other Nations are working hard to establish with both the state and federal government the name they are to be known as in their own language.

For genealogy this creates some controversy among the people themselves as sometimes they argue their own name. The author has seen this among the Anishinaabe across the Great Lakes many times. Not only are there differences in the names of the various Tribes of the Anishinaabe, there are numerous pronunciations and spellings of the same people. For one researching their ancestry among the Anishinaabe, getting past the correct name may be a hurdle in itself.

But not to fear, with the advent of the internet all state and federally recognized tribes can be found via federal and state government websites. Also, many Native American Nations have their own official website that contains a treasure of resources and information. Some even include materials on genealogy.


If the above paragraph on language can be confusing, it is nothing compared to the confusion from the various names of individuals and the various spellings of those names one will come across in genealogy research. One must remember that most Native American Nations practiced the fine art of name giving and of one having more than one name.

It was not uncommon for one to be known by several names from birth to death. The individual may also be known by several names given to them by other Nations as well as by the White Man. The name for one listed on one document could be different on another document and so on for the same person. A name on the official rolls may be a formal name but the person is known by a nickname or slang name in another dialect or even another language.

Not to be undone but one must not forget that many Native Americans did not write and thus any signature was only a mark. The basic mark was of course the X but many marks were pictorial that was common use among the English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Native American Nations long before the concept of Genealogical Rolls.


Now comes the section that most people are interested in and the one that has the most debate. This is because there are two main factions of thought here: Those that believe genealogy and its research is valuable and needed and those that believe it is a waste of time to adhere to rolls created by the White Man as just another way to have control over another race of people.

Depending on who one speaks to, it can have an effect on searching for one’s Native American ancestry. For example there are over 200 groups in the contiguous 48 states that use the name Cherokee and claim to be Cherokee Tribes. Among the three federally recognized Nations of Cherokee, these groups are often seen as a considerable “thorn” in their side and they often refuse to help anyone claiming Cherokee from one of these groups. This argument also involves the debate of state recognized tribes and any claim those tribes may have to actually being Native American. It creates a very interesting point for the lay person to see the arguments and debates over who is and who is not Native American especially since some rules and regulations on who is and who is not Native American was created by the White Man.


Searching for one’s ancestry is a most notable thing and probing into ones possible Native American Heritage is a most admirable task. It is hoped that one does this for pure knowledge and wisdom as well as to answer many questions that ponder the mind about “Who Am I” and “Who Are My People?” As mentioned before please do not seek this for any monetary payment or fringe benefits.


The author had communication with the following Federal and State Native American Nations over a span of 9 months:

Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of OK

Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of TX

Arapahoe Tribe of WY

Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of ME

Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of MT

Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of WI

Bay Mills Indian Community of the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians of MI

Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of CA

Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of MT

Burns Paiute Tribe of OR

Catawba Indian Nation of SC

Catawba Indian Nation of SC

Cayuga Nation of NY

Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians of AL

Cherokee Nation of OK

Cherokees of Southeast AL

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of SD

Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of OK

Chickahominy Tribe of VA

Chickasaw Nation of OK

Chinook Indian Tribe of WA

Chippewa-Cree Indians of MT

Chitimacha Tribe of LA

Choctaw Nation of OK

Coeur D’Alene Tribe of ID

Coharie Tribe of NC

Comanche Nation of OK

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of MT

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation of WA

Confederated Tribes of NV & UT

Confederated Tribes of NV & UT

Confederated Tribes of OR

Confederated Tribes of OR

Confederated Tribes of OR

Confederated Tribes of the Colville of WA

Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians of OR

Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of OR

Coquille Tribe of OR

Coushatta Tribe of LA

Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians of OR

Cowlitz Indian Tribe of WA

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of SD

Crow Tribe of MT

Delaware Nation of OK

Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of NV

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of NC

Eastern Pequot of CT

Eastern Shawnee Tribe of OK

Echota Cherokees of AL

Elnu Abenaki Tribe of VT

Ely Shoshone Tribe of NV

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of SD

Forest County Potawatomi of WI

Fort Belknap Indian Community of MT

Fort Bidwell Indian Community of CA

Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of NV & OR

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe of AZ, CA & NV

Four Winds Tribe Louisiana Cherokee Confederacy of LA

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians of MI

Haliwa-Saponi Tribe of NC

Hannahville Indian Community of MI

Havasupai Tribe of AZ

Ho-Chunk Nation of WI

Hoopa Valley Tribe of CA

Hopi Tribe of AZ

Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of ME

Huron Potawatomi of MI

Ione Band of Miwok Indians of CA

Iowa Tribe of KS & NE

Iowa Tribe of NE

Iowa Tribe of OK

Jena Band of Choctaw Indians of LA

Jicarilla Apache Nation of NM

Juaneno Band of Mission Indians of CA

Karuk Tribe of CA

Kaw Nation of OK

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of MI

Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of TX

Kickapoo Tribe of KS

Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma of OK

Kiowa Indian Tribe of OK

Klamath Tribes of OR

Koosharem Band of Paiutes, Indian Peaks Band of Paiutes, and Shivwits Band of Paiutes of UT

Kootenai Tribe of ID

Lac du Flambeau Band of WI

Lenape Indian Tribe of DE

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians of MI

Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of MT

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians of MI

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of SD

Lower Sioux Indian Community of MN

Lumbee Tribe of NC

Lummi Tribe of WA

Ma-Chis Lower Alabama Creek Tribe

Makah Indian Tribe of WA

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of CT

Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe of MA

Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of MN

Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of MN

Meherrin Tribe of NC

Menominee Indian Tribe of WI

Mescalero Apache Tribe of NM

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma of OK

Miccosukee Tribe FL

Minnesota Chippewa Tribe of MN (Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, White Earth)

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Moapa Band of Paiute Indians of NV

Mohegan Indian Tribe of CT

Monacan Nation of VA

Mowa Band of Choctaws of AL

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of WA

Muscogee (Creek) Nation of OK

Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape of NJ

Narragansett Indian Tribe of RI

Navajo Nation of AZ

Navajo Nation of AZ, NM & UT

Nez Perce Tribe of ID

Northern Cheyenne Tribe of MT

Northwestern Band of Shoshoni Nation of UT

Nottoway Indian Tribe of VA

Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation of VT

Oglala Sioux Tribe of SD

Omaha Tribe of NE

Oneida Nation of NY

Oneida Tribe of Indians of WI

Onondaga Nation of NY

Osage Tribe of OK

Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians of OK

Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma of OK

Paiute Indian Tribe of UT

Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of NV

Pascua Yaqui Tribe of AZ

Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of CA

Passamaquoddy Tribe of ME

Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma of OK

Penobscot Tribe of ME

Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma of OK

Piqua Shawnee Tribe of AL

Piscataway Conoy Tribe of MD

Piscataway Indian Nation of MD

Poarch Band of Creek of AL

Pointe-Au-Chien Indian Tribe of LA

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of MI & IN

Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma of OK

Ponca Tribe of NE

Port Gamble Indian Community of WA

Powhatan Renape Nation of NJ

Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation of KS

Prairie Island Indian Community of MN

Pueblo of Acoma of NM

Pueblo of Jemez of NM

Pueblo of San Felipe of NM

Pueblo of Santa Ana of NM

Pueblo of Santa Clara of NM

Pueblo of Santo Domingo of NM

Pueblo of Taos of NM

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of NV

Quapaw Tribe of Indians of OK

Quechan Tribe of CA

Ramapough Lunaape Nation of NJ

Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of WI

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of MN

Rosebud Sioux Tribe of SD

Sac & Fox Nation of OK

Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi of IA

Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri of KS & NE

Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri of KS & NE

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of MI

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe of NY

Salt River Pima-Maricopa of AZ

Samish Indian Tribe of WA

San Carlos Apache Tribe of AZ

Santee Sioux Nation of NE

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of MI

Schaghticoke Indian Tribe of CT

Seminole Nation of Oklahoma of OK

Seminole Tribe of FL

Seneca Nation of NY

Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma of OK

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of MN

Shawnee Tribe of OK

Shinnecock Indian Nation of NY

Shoalwater Bay Tribe of WA

Shoshone Tribe of WY

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of ID

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of SD

Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of UT

Sokaogon Chippewa of WI

Southern Ute Indian Tribe of CO

Spirit Lake Tribe of ND

St. Croix Chippewa Indians of WI

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of ND & SD

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of ND & SD

Stockbridge Munsee of WI

Summit Lake Paiute Tribe of NV

Three Affiliated Tribes of ND

Tohono O’odham Nation of AZ

Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians of NY

Tonto Apache Tribe of AZ

Tulalip Tribes of WA

Tule River Indian Tribe of CA

Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of LA

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of ND

Tuscarora Nation of NY

United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation of AL

United Houma Nation of LA

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of OK

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of OK

Unkechaug Nation of NY

Upper Mattaponi Tribe of VA

Upper Sioux Community of MN

Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation of CO, MM & UT

Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray of UT

Ute Mountain Tribe of CO, NM & UT

Waccamaw Siouan Tribe of NC

Walker River Paiute Tribe of NV

Wampanoag Tribe of MA

Washoe Tribe of CA

Washoe Tribe of CA & NV

White Mountain Apache Tribe of AZ

White Mountain Apache Tribe of AZ

Winnebago Tribe of NE

Wyandotte Nation of OK

Yankton Sioux Tribe of SD of SD

Yavapai-Prescott Tribe of AZ

Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of TX

Yurok Tribe of CA

Zuni Tribe of NM

© 2011, 2016 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization


If They Have Had It They Would Have Used It – Maybe?:  Native American Use of Trade Materials

© 2012, 2015 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek


Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation



How often has one gotten this question: “They had that back then?” Or how about this question: “This material was available to American Indians?”

Unfortunately most that ask the above questions usually get the following answer: “If they have had it they would have used it!” But that is not the case.

Just about anyone on the Powwow Trial and the Living History Circuit may get these questions and more proposed to them by both Native and Non-Native people.

If you are strictly a Powwow Trail person and one specifically on the modern Powwow Trail the answer should usually be of the following “No.” For those on the Living History Circuit and especially those at juried historical events the answer may usually be “Yes” and “Maybe.”

Why this difference in the answer? Well first and foremost the Native American Culture is far from stagnant and like any culture it has evolved and adapted as it has made both mutual contacts and clashes of contacts with other races and cultures. Second, as with any culture the Native American Culture was evolving and adapting long before contact with any other non-Native American Culture.


The Native Americans desired many of the European Trade goods such as beads, cloth, blankets, ribbons, knives, kettles, tomahawks, guns, metals and silver. The distribution of such goods varied greatly.

The French for instance allowed Natives to come to the forts, missions and settlements. The British however designated trade at selected rendezvous. This may seem confusing since “rendezvous” is a French term. It was very common for Native American Nations to play both the French and the British against each other when it came to trade. They did this to obtain more and better trade goods and gifts. Not to be discriminating, Native Americans also did this with the Spanish, Dutch, German and Russian Trade but in many ways that trade was not as lucrative.

While trade helped the Native American Culture it also was a huge curse to the culture. Natives found themselves more dependent on Trade Goods and less reliant on old skills.


The Powwow is rather modern and many new and modern materials have been a part of the Powwow since the early 20th Century. So the modern Powwow Dancer knows that many of the materials used for their “Dance Regalia” did not exist before the 20th Century. Part of this is the evolution of the culture in use of materials available but the other is the fault of the forced regression of the Native American Culture by the White Man and especially that of the United States Government in the 19th Century. From the Removal Period to the Post-Reservation Period most of the outward culture of art, dance, fashion, language, music, and more was stripped from the people and actually made illegal.

The Reservation Period and the Post-Reservation Period brought on the advent of “Intertribalism” as various Native American Nations found themselves “thrown” together. Almost automatically they began a sharing of everything from art and music to fashion and even faith. It was during this time that they had to rely on new materials and very limited materials from the local trading posts on the Reservations or from the local traders allowed to visit and trade on the Reservations or in the Native Community. Before the forced and almost annihilation of the out-ward beauty of the Native American Culture, the people were very frugal and careful of what items they wanted and chose to use from European Trade and later American Trade. But as time went by the reliance on Trade Goods damaged the culture and after the Post-Reservation period being frugal was no longer an option.

It is always fascinating to ponder on how the culture may have evolved in use of materials and skills had there been no forced migrations and removal.


Now for the Living History Circuit, anything not natural is extremely frowned upon. Some juried events will even test a strand of one’s clothing with a simple burn test to make sure that only natural materials of cotton, fur, leather, linen, silk and wool are used.

After European contact, Native Americans greatly valued many items of the new European trade. But contrary to popular belief they did not desire or use all that the Europeans and later Americans had to offer. Native Americans were very prudent and most discerning. They learned very early on the concept of quality versus quantity and the value of fine workmanship. Over time they became very discriminating. Rene-Robert de LaSalle noticed as early as the 1670s that the Native Americans were very astute bargainers. Father Louis Hennepiin who traveled with LaSalle wrote in his journal: “As regards to trade, the Indians are shrewd enough. They do not allow themselves to be deceived, but they consider everything attentively and study to know the goods.”


To say that Native Americans did not love beads is a critical understatement. The use of beads for everything from common decoration to prized possessions and even spiritual representations has been an integral manner of the Native American Culture. Before White contact beads were of course made by hand with great precision that took a massive amount of time and skill. Beads were made from amber, bone, clay, coral, horn, ivory, metal, obsidian, shell, stone, teeth and wood.

It was no surprise that the Native Americans greatly adored the new beads offered by the Europeans. These included new beads of glass, ceramic, and cast metal from places like France, Germany, Russia and Venice as well as beads of various materials from Africa, China and India. The plethora of beads was amazing but even with such a bounty the Natives learned of quality versus quantity almost immediately. They soon learned that the best beads came from France, India and Venice.

Contrary to popular belief, the Native Americans did not just accept and use any kind of beads. They were quite selective in both color and style of bead. Journals of some European and later American Traders indicated that Natives found some beads to be unacceptable as being unpleasant in color, material and style.


Not all Tribes used German Silver because it was there. As most know it is neither German nor Silver. It is an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc that became widely available in the early 19th Century. The name does come from the fact that it was mainly introduced by German metal workers in the 19th Century. A German Chemist gets credit for perfecting the perfect blend of the 3 alloys. But becoming widely available and actually being widely used or wanted are very different factors. This is because not all Native Americans liked German Silver. It was not extensively used by some Eastern Woodland Tribes as they highly preferred Sterling Silver instead and found German Silver to be less than quality for their taste.

When it came to Trade Silver, the Eastern Woodland Native Americans had learned what superior Trade Silver was since its early introduction in American Trade. By the time of the French & Indian War the Native People were very perceptive on the value and quality of Trade Silver from the English, French, Dutch and American Silversmiths. But as with most manufactured goods, German Silver flooded the market for various reasons and quantity alone over took quality. In other cases, choice was not an option as Sterling Silver was not available even when wanted. For these reasons German Silver had a wide use with Tribes west of the Great Lakes and Tribes on the Great Plains but a much varied used among some Eastern Woodland Tribes.


Although the Europeans brought an eclectic array of dyes in many colors and hues the Native Americans actually upheld their skills of using indigenous dyes obtained from animal parts, dung, bark, berries, buds, earth, flowers, leaves, nuts, roots, seeds, twigs and so forth.

The French alone had over 220 master dyes as early as the 17th Century and along with the English and other Europeans they had many colors to offer the Native Americans. It is not sure why the Native Americans still choose to maintain some original dyes but they did gladly accept certain colors from the Europeans right away. This included the vivid vermillion red and the glowing pure white just to name a couple.


The Native Americans did not just take any cloth offered to them. They learned quickly who had the best wool, cotton, linen, and silk and this was from the English, the French and the Germans.

The English were preferred for their wool. The French were preferred for their cotton and silk. The Germans were preferred for their linen.

Because of this very careful discrimination, the Europeans began to compete for the Natives attention in Trade. Each European power beefed up their quality and quantity of cloth goods to grab the Native eye and it became a fashion war of who could be the most ostentatious.

Some of the most requested fabrics for shirts were from the French and the English in cotton calico, and cotton chintz with large bright block prints. The common white shirt with or without ruffles was also popular in cotton muslin and linen. But if they could get it the Natives heavily preferred the beauty of the rather huge and very vibrant block prints.

In the 18th Century the rage was the following: The French boasted Chinese curved designs and patterns while the English boasted India paisleys and floral designs and patterns. By the 19th Century the rage was the neo-classical straight lines and small flowers from the French and classical flowers and lines from the English.

Even after the grand establishment of America, the Native Americans were a bit peculiar about American textiles as they still preferred the beauty of the European Mills.


Just because they had access to it did not mean they used it as there were astute trading practices of the Native Americans. Not all items of trade caught their eye for use. Without going into great detail, we have seen that some beads were not liked, some dyes were not wanted and some cloth was inferior. These are just a few examples as we know of many more trade objects that were not coveted due to material, color, style and more.

Whatever ones “Native American Clothing” or “Native American Regalia” may be make sure that great patience has been poured into the design and materials of each and every part. One does not have to be rich or spend excessive amounts of money on materials. Instead be careful and even prudent as the Native American Ancestors were and one must also be preserving and make sure that quality beats quantity.

Whether one wants to be modern or historically accurate to a certain time period is a choice, but regardless of what one wants to have always do some research so that when the questions come the education my follow.


Hartman, Sheryl. 2000. Indian Clothing of the Great Lakes: 1790-1840. Liberty, UT: Eagles View Publishing.

Hodge, William, H. 1981. The First Americans: Then and Now. New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.

Johnson, Michael, G. 1990. American Woodland Indians. Oxford: Osprey.

Johnson, Michael, G. 1995. American Indians of the Southeast. London: Reed International.

Johnson, Michael, G. 2003. Tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. Oxford: Osprey.

Johnson, Michael, G. 2006. Indian Tribes of the New England Frontier. Oxford: Osprey.

Johnson, Michael, G. 2011. North American Indian Tribes of the Great Lakes. Oxford: Osprey.

McKenney, Thomas & Hall, James. 1933. The Indian Tribes of North America. Edinburgh: John Grant.

Mails, Thomas. 1973. Dog Soldiers, Bear Men and Buffalo Women. NJ: Prentice Hall.

© 2012, 2015 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

Professor on November 1st, 2014

Native American Home Etiquette

© 2012, 2014 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek


Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation



Native Americans from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Arctic to the Tropics were quite cordial and rather kind to guests in the home. Europeans and later Americans noticed certain mannerisms concerning a guest at home that was far beyond their own concept of providing hospitality.

Even after the massive persecution from both Europeans and later Americans the indigenous people of North America were still quite benevolent to each other and even the White Man when it came to having guests in the house.

Here are some very general policies that were common among many Tribes across Native America. One must remember that these are not set in stone and are not laws as there were vast differences among all Native American Nations.


Among the Eastern Woodland Peoples it was common to always have a large container of food on or near the lodge fire.

In the North East this container was usually a very large calabash (gourd) or wood bowl kept simmering via hot stones and full of some kind of food stew. This was typically a stew of meat or fish with vegetables. When one was obliged they would partake of the stew and eat. The stew was retained by always replacing what had been taken. For example if a piece of meat or fish was removed a piece of meat or fish was added. If stock was removed then water was added and so forth.

Among the South East Nations a large earthen clay container of hominy (grits) was always available on the fire in a lodge and some dried or smoked meat or fish was also kept nearby.

For many Native American Nations there was no set meal time. Whenever one was hungry they dipped in the containers and had something to eat. This was often referred to as The Eternal Cooking Meal as described by Europeans and later Americans. After White Contact the original containers were replaced with metal trade goods of iron, tin, brass and copper.

Guests were always fed. In fact the normal greeting for guests was not “Hello” or “How are you doing” or even “Good to see you” it was always “Have you eaten?”

Even in the leanest of times it was the duty of the clans/families to do their best to keep The Eternal Cooking Meal. One can easily assume that this was very hard to do in a bitter winter or a very dry summer yet it amazed the White Man that the accumulating, conserving, storage and distribution of food stuffs by Native Americans during very sparse times was nothing more than remarkable.


From the Longhouses and Wigwams of the Northeast to the Adobes of the Southwest and from the temporary Igloos of the Artic to the Open Lodges of the Southeast as well as from the Tipis of the Great Plains to the Cedar Plank Houses of the Northwest, there was a certain accommodating protocol of life in the home of all Native Americans.

This decorum did vary greatly from Nation to Nation and Tribe to Tribe and even Clan to Clan but there was a general set of what one might call “Mutual Consideration” or “Common Courtesy” or just better yet plain old “Civility” and “Good Manners.”


Assume guests are tired, cold, hungry and thirsty.

At no time worry guests with troubles of the host.

By no means sit while Elders stand.

Compliment guests.

Do not trouble or pester guests.

Give thanks to The Creator for company.

Lend help to Elders with entering or leaving the lodge.

Never sit while any guests stand.

Offer guests the places of honor in the lodge and the best food available.

Protect guests as members of the family or clan.

Repay calls of courtesy and do not delay in communication.


If the lodge door is open one may enter directly but if the door is closed one should announce their presence and wait for the invitation to enter.

Follow the customs of the lodge and not one’s own. Remember to “follow the rules of the house” not necessarily the territory.

Accept any food offered.

Be grateful for any and all offers from the host.

Bestow great respect to the Woman of the lodge as she is the keeper of the flame.

Compliment the host.

Give thanks to The Creator for hospitality.

Never worry host with guest troubles.

Present the host with a gift.

Repay calls of courtesy and do not delay in communication.


Be humble and show respect to all but grovel to none.

Do not interrupt others speaking.

Do the best not to walk between persons talking.

Keep the fire open and do not block one from the fire.

Let silence be your motto, listen and then speak.

Never stare at others and as you speak keep your eyes low.

Show kindness and humanity.

Speak softly and with a clear voice.

Talk with others but do not force conversations.


Europeans and later some Americans knew of some of the mannerisms above as all cultures have very specific rules of etiquette for being civil. But for various reasons such decent behavior had become lost among the European explorers and later colonists when meeting new and different cultures. Such respect also vanished among the later American colonists and settlers pushing ever more across North America.

Unfortunately assimilation, removal, relocation, and more assimilation of Native Americans created a massive injury to the well-practiced lodge etiquette for all peoples of Native America.

Sad but many of the courtesies of the Native American Culture that was developed over centuries are not always found among Native Americans today. It is not surprising to find The Native American People not treating each other with veneration. In fact the opposite is quite true and one does not need to do a study or research of the phenomenon. All one needs to do is step back and witness the poor treatment and disdain that some Native Peoples have towards each other.

It is for this reason that we must all seek wisdom from Elders and those of proper knowledge and use the most basic of common understanding to be kind to each other regardless of culture and history.

Remember, esteem and reverence starts in the home and is passed on from there to others.


Carver, Jonathan. 1778. Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America, In the Years 1766, 1767, 1768. London.

Hudson, Charles.  1976.  The Southeastern Indians. University of Tennessee Press.

Lawson, John. 1967. A New Voyage to Carolina. University of North Carolina Press.

Lewis, Meriwether. 1814. (Reprint 1904). History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, 1804-5-6. Chicago: A.C. McClurg.

McKenney, Thomas & Hall, James. 1933. The Indian Tribes of North America. Edinburgh: John Grant.

Mails, Thomas.  1972.  Mystic Warriors of the Plains.  New York:  Doubleday & Company.

Mails, Thomas. 1973. Dog Soldiers, Bear Men and Buffalo Women. NJ: Prentice Hall.

Richter, Daniel, K. 1992. The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization. University of North Carolina Press.

Tanner, John & Edwin, James. 1830. (Reprint 2007). A Narrative Of The Captivity And Adventures Of John Tanner, U. S. Interpreter At The Saut De Ste. Marie During Thirty Years Residence Among The Indians In The Interior Of North America. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.

Timberlake, Henry, Lt. 1765. (Reprint 2007). The Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake: The Story of a Soldier, Adventurer, and Emissary to the Cherokees, 1756-1765. Cherokee, NC: Museum of the Cherokee Press

William, Bertram. 1791. Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country

of the Choctaws; Containing An Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians. Philadelphia.

© 2012, 2014 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization




Professor on November 1st, 2013

The Native American Harvest Gathering

© 2004, 2013 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation


Long before White Contact to the “New World” the Native Americans had many kinds of celebrations for the four seasons. One of the most celebrated for the Eastern Woodland Culture was that of Harvest Time. This festival was mainly indigenous to the Eastern Woodlands because of their strong agricultural base. Of course these celebrations took place in Autumn but their actual time varied from place to place and was mainly dependent on the window of harvest time before the last hard killing frost.

In the North East and Great Lakes the Harvest Time began in what is now late August and lasted up to October and November. In the South East the Harvest Time began in August and could last into December.

This was a glorious time of harvesting and gathering such things as:



Birch Bark


















Pond Grass







Sweet Potatoes



Wild Rice


And yes many of the “food stuffs” in this list are actually indigenous to the New World and only grew in the New World. Many were taken back to Europe, Asia and Africa by the White Man after contact and over time became staples for those Continents.

As much food as possible was sun dried and smoked dried and hung in lodges as well as buried in food stores for the coming long winter.

These times also included work on villages and homes getting them prepared for the coming winter. This was the perfect time to do any repair work on wigwams and longhouses. The last bit of warm weather was a good time to collect any samplings still full of tree sap that could be very pliable for repairing sections of lodges and for bending to shape for future use. Pond grass, cattails and bark was heavily harvested and stored in lodges to be worked on during the cold winter months. Cattails, plant down, feather down and moss were collected for insulation in both lodges and clothing.

During the height of harvesting and gathering there would be great celebrations of thanks with music, song, dance, gifting and feasting. The general celebrations varied but often lasted anywhere from 4 to 7 days and maybe even longer. The rest of the time was used working hard and long to prepare for the coming winter.

Afterwards, the people of the North East and Great Lakes drew in for a long hard and often bitter winter. Only the Tribes in the South East had more celebrations that coincided with the warmer climate. They could count on certain food stuffs and other needed natural materials to still be collectable throughout the winter months with their milder winter.

© 2004, 2013 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

A More Accurate Historical Thanksgiving:  “What Are You Celebrating?”

© 1998, 2000, 2010 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited 

By Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation



Thanksgiving…oh that wonderful holiday in which we should give thanks. Something we should do every day. Where did this national holiday come from? Well it is not what you think and definitely not what you were taught in school. Many scholars give credit to the Americans, but many cultures and countries had “national days of giving thanks” long before the United States established such a day.

With that being the case, why do we think of the Pilgrims and Plymouth, Massachusetts for the national holiday of Thanksgiving? Like most of our history it comes from miss-history and the fact that most people think of the Pilgrims as these “incredibly righteous people” that invited the “savage Indians” to their first Thanksgiving so that the “savages” would not starve. This is incorrect history and information. Here is a more accurate historical Thanksgiving account.


Long before any Europeans came to the New World, Native Americans had many feasts and celebrations of thanks. Although the Pilgrims were searching for some religious freedom from the British Crown, they were really nothing more than English Colonists. They came for many other reasons also but regardless of what those reasons may have been, they were still loyal subjects to the British Crown.

In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower set sail for the Americas. The ship was charted by a religious sect known as the Puritans. They were headed for what was called the Virginias. Unfortunately the Puritans ran out of beer and needed to make land as quickly as possible. Beer was used more often than water on the high seas since water on a ship could not be kept drinking safe. Thus they landed in December of 1620 on the shores of what is now Massachusetts. They did not establish a settlement right away as often thought and taught in schools. They were not able to settle at the original landing.

These so called Pilgrims were not the first Europeans to the shores of the New England coast. In 1605 a British expedition led by Captain George Weymouth had landed on this particular coastline. When they left in 1614 they took 24 Natives as slaves and left smallpox, syphilis, and gonorrhea in their wake. One of the Natives taken back to Europe was named Tisquantum (called Squanto by the white man).

The 102 Puritans landed and built their colony called The Plymouth Plantation on the ruins of the Native village of Pawtuxet. Pawtuxet had been destroyed by the Weymouth expedition. The Puritans survived by stealing the food stores of neighboring Native Summer Villages as well as eating corn that was still growing wild from abandoned cornfields near the ruined village.

Strangely enough, Tisquantum, who had survived his trips to Europe, happened to come upon these Puritans while hunting with another Native named Samoset. They observed the newcomers and finally one day Tisquantum send Samoset over to greet the Puritans with the word “Welcome.” Tisquantum soon joined and the Puritans were surprised to find two “savages” that spoke their language. The Puritans were terrible at survival, but with the help of Tisquantum they were able to harvest some late corn and learned to catch some game. Tisquantum also helped the colonists negotiate a treaty with the Wampanoag People near by who were led by Massasoit. Still many of the Puritans quickly succumbed to pneumonia and consumption. It was a hard winter and some 46 of the original 102 Mayflower people died.

The next year, 1621, with the help of the Wampanoag People, the Puritans learned how to live and make a bountiful harvest. In celebration of their good fall harvest, the colony’s governor, William Bradford, declared a three-day feast after the harvest.

The Natives that attended this feast were not even invited. The Puritans had only invited Massasoit the Wampanoag leader. It was Massasoit that brought the other 90 or more of his Native brothers and sisters that saved the colony to the chagrin of the rather rude and indignant Puritans. The Natives also provided most of the food. There were no prayers of thanksgiving of any kind and the Natives were not invited back ever again for any other such events.

The following years the Puritans became pre-occupied with themselves and their superiority over the Native People. This along with spiritual pride, jealousy, envy, greed, bad relationships (adultery was rampant – remember the Scarlet Letter) and other sins, caused the Puritans to lack. Now at this moment most scholars write that the drought of 1623 was the cause for much of this. While the drought was hard, it was not an excuse for the many un-righteous things the Puritans were doing.

Now the peace settlement between this first colony of Puritans and the Wampanoag People meant that the Puritans were to have 15 years to establish a firm colony. By 1629 there were no more than 300 Puritans in present day New England in small and isolated communities. This survival prompted a wave of Puritans that soon established growing settlements north of Plymouth in Boston and Salem. Over the next 10 years the wave of Puritans greatly increased.

Soon the Puritans begin to discuss “…the legal ownership of the land.” At this time Governor John Winthrop declared the “Indians had not subdued the land” and therefore all uncultivated land should be public domain according to English Common Law. In other words this meant that the land belonged to the King of England. Thus the colonists decided that they did not need to consult with the Natives and that the land was theirs for the taking. As far as they were concerned they only had to inform the representative of the crown and that was the local governor.

To Biblically defend the force taking of the land from the Native People, the Puritans embraced Psalms 2:8 “Ask of me and I shall give thee the heather for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” This forced taking of the land included murder. A company of Puritans led by Miles Standish actively sought out the head of a local chief. They eventually accomplished this gruesome trophy when they beheaded the Native Leader Wituwamat. The head was displayed on a wooded post in the Town Square of Plymouth.

On May 26, 1637 a force of Puritans attacked about 700 Pequot People near the mouth of the Mystic River at Groton, Connecticut. The Pequots had gathered for their Annual Green Corn Dance. During the gathering they were surrounded and attacked by the English and the Dutch. The Natives were ordered from the Gathering Building and as they came forth they were shot down and cut up. The rest were burned alive in the building. The English Captain John Mason and Commander John Underhill attacked the camp with the words “…fire, sword, blunderbuss, and tomahawk….” They also added that “…to see them {Indians} frying in the fire, and the streams of their blood quenching the same and the stench was horrible, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice to the great delight to the Pilgrims and they gave praise thereof to God.” The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared: “A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.” A second Pequot Village was attacked, massacred and destroyed on June 5, 1637 near present day Stonington and a third Pequot Village was attacked, massacred and destroyed on July 28, 1637 near present day Fairfield.

The Puritan fathers believed they were the Chosen People of God and that this justified anything that they did. They were in a sense Calvinists that believed most of humanity was predestined to damnation. During this period of their history the Puritans along with other European sects declared days of thanksgiving to celebrate mass murder more than to celebrate harvest. In fact for the next 100 years every “Thanksgiving Day” ordained by any leader (Governor, etc.) was to honor the gruesome “victories” of 1637 and thanking God that the “battles” had been won.

Learning from the Puritans, in 1641 the Dutch began to offer scalp money for Natives. The Dutch Governor Willem Kieft of Manhattan paid money for the scalps of each Native brought to him. In 1643 Governor Kieft ordered the massacre of the Wappinger People. In this massacre, 80 Native People were killed and their severed heads were kicked around the streets of the village of Manhattan. One Native was castrated, skinned, and then forced to eat his own flesh while many colonist watched and laughed. Later, Kieft got Commander Underhill to carry out a massacre near present day Stamford, Connecticut. A village was set on fire and around 500 Natives were put to the sword.

Soon the settlers launched an all out genocide of the Native People. The government of Massachusetts made an order offering 29 shillings bounty for every Native scalp and 40 shillings for every Native prisoner that could be sold into slavery. Colonial men were allowed to enslave and rape any Native woman and enslave any Native child under what was thought to be the age of 14.

Any Native People that had converted to Christianity were accused of shooting into the trees during battles with the hostiles and were therefore enslaved or killed. Other peaceful Natives of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to a negotiating meeting in which they were taken captive and sold into slavery. Colonial Law gave permission to “…kill savage Indians on sight at will.”

By 1675 Massachusetts and surrounding colonies were in an all out war with the Wampanoag People. The Wampanoag leader Metacomet (called King Phillip by the white man) grew angrier as he watched the steady destruction of his culture and his people. He was forced to strike out with raids on several isolated towns for food.

Captain Benjamin Church tracked down and killed Metacomet. His body was drawn and quartered and the parts as Captain Church said were “…left for the wolves.” Metacomet’s hands were cut off and sent to Boston for display and his head was sent to Plymouth where it was set upon a poke on the newly declared Thanksgiving Day of 1675. Metacomet’s son was to be killed because the Puritans proclaimed that “…the offspring of the Devil must pay for the sins of their father.” Instead he was sold to a slave ship bound for the Caribbean.

On June 20, 1676 the Puritans governing council held a meeting to determine of a way to in their own words; “…express thanks for the victories in War with the Heathen Natives….” And from that moment they proclaimed June 29 as a Day of Thanksgiving. The celebration over the “heathen Indians” became a major event and was celebrated semi-annually among the New Englanders and the early colonies for many, many years to come.

That proclamation is reproduced here in the same language and spelling as the original:

June 20, 1676:

“The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God’s Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.”

By 1704 the massive Holocaust and Genocide of the Native People caused Governor Thomas Dudley to declare a “General Thanksgiving for God’s infinite goodness to extend his favors… In defeating and disappointing… the expeditions of the Enemy Indians against us. And the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them into our hands….”


Now the holiday that most Americans celebrate has nothing to do with the Puritans or the Native Americans. The holiday most are acquainted with came about during the American Revolution for Independence when in 1777 things looked bleak for the American “Rebels” against the British Crown. General George Washington sent out a plea to all that “…supported the cause of Freedom…” for a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Later as President, Washington Proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789 to be observed by all on November 26, 1789. Not all the new states agreed and not all observed such a day.

While subsequent Presidents and most Americans did not continue the tradition, it was Washington’s proclamation that spurred and guided the 16th President Abraham Lincoln to make a Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1863. This was a plea to all Americans to have a day of prayer and thanksgiving during the bleak and trying time of our American Civil War. Lincoln copied Washington and made the proclamation on the same day of October 3 and for the observation of the holiday to be the same as Washington had for Thursday, November 26.

After this, the holiday was proclaimed by every president since Lincoln and observed on the last Thursday of November. The date has changed a few times with the most recent change done by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939. At the request of many businesses, Roosevelt moved the Thanksgiving Holiday to the 3rd Thursday of November to make for a longer Christmas shopping season. This change created a huge public out roar and finally in 1941 Congress made the 4th Thursday of November a legal holiday and our National Day of Thanks.


Should you decide to celebrate this holiday on the fourth Thursday of November, please remember the Native Americans. Weather you be a teacher or a parent or both be very careful not to “sugar coat” what the Pilgrims did and how they treated the Native Americans, not even to the youngest age. Please avoid stereotypic Thanksgiving pictures, stories, and programs that depict inaccurate images that are unfair and degrading. By all means do not have children or adults make “Indian headbands, Indian vests”, do ceremonial war dances or such inappropriate things. Also do not put on “Pilgrim and Indian” pageants or plays (unless they are historically accurate and tell the story from the true perspectives of Native Americans as well as the European immigrants).


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: Springfield, Illinois.

Bradford, William & Edward Winslow. 1622. Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of Pilgrims at Plymouth. London.

Brandford, William. 1854. Of Plymouth Plantation. Written 1630-1654, 1st Published Boston.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum:  Hyde Park, New York.

Gehring, Charles T., Ed. 1983. Council Minutes, 1652-1654. Baltimore: New York Historical Manuscripts Series.

Gehring, Charles T., Ed. 1995. Council Minutes, 1655-1656.  Syracuse: New Netherland Documents Series.

Gehring, Charles T., Ed. 1977. Delaware Papers, English Period, 1664-1682.  Baltimore: New York Historical Manuscripts Series.

Gehring, Charles T., Ed. 1980.   Land Papers, 1630-1664.  Baltimore: New York Historical Manuscripts Series.

Gorges, Sir Ferdinando. 1622. A Brief Relation of the Discovery and Plantation of New England. London.

Gorges, Sir Ferdinando. 1658. A Brief Narration of the Originall Undertakings of the Advancement of Plantations Into the Parts of America. London.

Johnson, William. 1927. Johnson Papers, Vol. V. Albany.

Johnson, William. 1957. Johnson Papers, Vol. XII. Albany.

Pory, John. 1622. A Description of Plymouth. London.

Pratt, Phineas. 1662. A Court Deposition from Plymouth Colony. London.

Rosier, James. 1605. A True Relation of the Most Prosperous Voyage Made this Present Year 1605 by Caption George Weymouth. London.

Smith, Captain John. 1614. A Description of New England. London.

Smith, Captain John. 1624. The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles. London.

Winslow, Edward. 1624. Good News from New England. London.

© 1998, 2000, 2010 Native American Composition & Performance, Limited

Jamie K. Oxendine, Lumbee/Creek

Native American Speaker

Director, Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation

A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Native American Organization

Professor on November 1st, 2011

American Indian Cultural Regions

This is a plan used by the Ohio Department of Education on American Indian Cultural Regions:  underground houses – ODE IMS – Ohio Department of Education (

It is not a bad plan at all but it could use some changes that include:

Time:  This is a very long, detailed and extended plan and a week is definitely not the time limit for a plan of this magnitude when regarding Native America.

Native Nations:  Add more Native American Nations to the regions.  There should be no less than 10 Native American Nations listed for each region.   It is imperative that students know what the official names of these Nations are today and what they call themselves.

Resources:  Like most State Departments in Ohio, the State has forgotten about its Native American Population and Native American Resources.  So when ever any educator does anything related to Native America in any subject they need to take advantage of the many Native American resources in their own backyard right here in Ohio.

Vocabulary:  The vocabulary for this plan would be massive as it really needs to include any and all words not familiar to students related to Native America.

Old Theories/Stereotypes:  Stay clear of any old theories of Native Americans migrating to North American via some land bridge, etc.  This has been de-railed by just about any and all Native American Nations and most recently in the past 15 years by the Scientific Community.  Also be very careful of stereotypes on Native Americans and make sure to correct them.  Seek out advice and information on Native Americans from Native Americans.

What is your new approach to differentiating assessment?

I use several types of assessments in both music and Native American Culture.  My new approach from the readings in this class include:



After the readings of Heacox (2009), Wormeli (2006), and Hall, Strangman & Meyer (2003), I have discovered that some of the implements I already use are the perfect assessments for music performance.

In music performance the perfect assessment that is much differentiated is the audition.  Whether it is instrumental or vocal the audition is differentiated in various ways from the performance levels of the student to the performance levels of the ensemble.  What I have gathered from this class and the readings of both Heacox and Wormeli is that the most wonderful thing about the audition is that it can both be the pre-assessment and the post-assessment. 

The audition is a pre-assessment in many ways including as Heacox writes on page 29 it is the same as using an end-of-unit test as a pre-assessment.  Here is a Percussion Assessement and here is a Clarinet Assessment.

The ideal Student Self-Evaluation indicated by Heacox (2009) pp. 42-43 is the “Seat Challenge.”  Instead of the seat challenge being a competition for parts it really is an assessment not only for the students to be evaluated by the director but it is a chance for self-evaluation by the students themselves.

An absolute post-assessment is the One-on-One “Staged” Task as mentioned by Heacox (2009) pg.  47.  In music this can be the solo or small ensemble “contest” performance for teachers (directors).

Here are several Choral & Vocal Assessments of all of the above.



Assessing American Indian Students in Native American Culture is very tricky and is most often regulated by Tribal Law.  However when teaching non-Natives Native American Culture, I have used a wide variety of pre and post assessments.  While thinking of new assessment approaches and searching the internet I found the perfect flow chart for me to use in teaching Native American Culture.  This is from Hall, Strangman & Meyer (2003):

I have attached some Native American assessments below that I can use and for the chart above the Curriculum box would read Tribal, State and Federal BIA Standards.

NA Assessment 1

NA Assessment 2

NA Assessment 3

NA Assessment 4



Hall, T., Strangman, N., & Meyer, A. (2003).  Differentiated Instruction and Implications for UDL Implementation. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved [06/08/2011] from… 

Heacox, D. (2009).  Making Differentiation a Habit.  Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.

Wormeli, R. (2006).  Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Addressing and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom.  Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.


Professor on September 1st, 2011

Tiering In A Packed Curriculum

When Tiering it is easy to follow the words of both Heacox and Tomlinson in this paraphrasing:

When giving assignments, allow for student creativity.  If you give students the ability to choose the format of the end product, students will not only feel empowered, they will make effective use of the skills and intelligences they have to create a product that will often surpass teacher expectations. 

As an Educator of both Music and Native American Culture I personally see Choice & Tiering so very close that I do not see Tiering as a complete separate entity.  With that said, I do not see Tiering as an issue in an already packed curriculum.  As I have mentioned before it seems quite logical to have both Choice & Tiering in the curriculum especially if it is something that naturally happens in a field of study.

In Music:

Both choice and tiering increases the power of music to touch young lives and empower them.  Music is pure creativity that is both a gift and a talent.  By giving one choice and using tiering it expands the talent and multiplies the gift.

In Native American Culture:

When teaching Native American Culture one is not only teaching about the culture, they are teaching the ways of understanding and knowing the culture.  The best way to understand any culture is to learn about it from the perspective of being a part of it.  This is very complicated especially if one is not of that Race or Culture.  Therefore using Choice and Tiering is a natural way of allowing one to understand Native America.  Native American is extremely vast and diverse.

In both Music and Native American Culture the words of Heacox (2009) hold true: “There is not one correct way to differentiate a tired assignment; there are multiple ways, each directed at the particular and specific learning differences that are present in your classroom.”


Music Performance is already naturally tiered in the following ways:

♫  Large Group Rehearsals & Performances

♫ Small Group Rehearsals & Performances

♫ Solo Practice & Performances

♫ Private Instruction

Tiering in music especially some performance classes can be as easy as “cake.”  Or cake walk jazz to be exact.

Jazz musicians never really lose the melody…they just express it in many different ways.  A perfect example for any that at not jazzers is the concept of different musicians playing and making different versions of the same song.

I use this JAZZ TIERING DIFFERENT WAYS TO THE MELODY as a grand way to teach lessons in improvisation.

Native American Culture

One of the easiest ways to incorporate differentiated instruction into your classroom is when you assign a task you allow for student creativity in terms of what the end product can be.  In the Native American Culture this is not uncommon as each person must find their individual way with regards to many skills.

Here is a TIER FOR THE NATIVE AMERICAN REGIONS that uses various skill levels for showing understanding of shelter.


Heacox, D. (2009).  Making Differentiation a Habit.  Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.

Tomlinson, C. (2003). Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Professor on August 1st, 2011



Why does choice matter?

As far as I am concerned choice matters because it is an integral part of student interest.

 I often hear horror stories from music directors on the lack of interest from students in the music….well DUH?

Personally, I find it fascinating that some teachers do not use choice (especially in the arts).

I have found that by offering choice in music the interest is overwhelming and practice and musicianship actually increases!

What research supports it?

Teachers should ensure that students have choices in their learning.

Well aside from common sense on my part and the fact that choice seems so logical, I found this statement on choice from Sue Watson (2011).  Although it is directed at Special Education, it is equal in the arts and especially music: “Choice is key to the process. Choice of learning activity as well as choice in the assessment (how the student will demonstrate understanding).”

Another scholar Carolyn Coil (2007) mentions that: Product is differentiated by addressing different learning styles and providing choice in variety and different levels of complexity of products.”

However, our biggest research that supports DI and its concepts is our own federal government that showed Differentiation necessary for gifted students in Federal Law, PL 9 1-230, passed in 1972. It states:

Gifted students require differentiated educational programs and services beyond those normally provided by regular school programs in order to realize their contributions to themselves and society.

Give an example of how a specific student might react to it:

I see nothing but positive reaction as in this musical example:

Student A has incredible rhythm skills but no expression musicianship.  Student B has outstanding expression but lacks technique in rhythm.  By giving each a choice for a playing test the student can pick a style that fits their talent yet has some challenges for what they need work on in musicianship. 

So Student A chooses the selection that is technical in rhythms and syncopation but with some phrases of expression while Student B chooses the selection that is almost all melodic expression but with some challenges in syncopation.

Both choices highlight the talents of each student while also challenging them in other areas they are not so talented in.


I do use choice in music and it works very well for DI based on student interest.  Here is a great JAZZ ENSEMBLE CHOICE BOARD for lessons in the Blues.

From time to time I also teach regular General Music.  Here is a nice MUSIC APPRECIATION MENU that I like to use.

In Native American Culture I offer choice in studying the many Native American Nations as well as choice in many of the arts and crafts lessons.  Here I also offer many choices in the assignments and projects such as this NATIVE AMERICAN REGIONS CHOICE BOARD.


Heacox, D. (2009).  Making Differentiation a Habit.  Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.

Watson, Sue. (2011).  Differentiated Instruction and Assessment.  Retrieved [06/20/2011] from

Coil, Carolyn.  (2007).  Pieces of Learning. Division of Creative Learning Consultants, Inc.  Retrieved [06/21/2011] from

Hall, T., Strangman, N., & Meyer, A. (2003).  Differentiated Instruction and Implications for UDL Implementation. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved [06/08/2011] from… 

Professor on July 1st, 2011

I am Jamie K.Oxendine. I am from The Great State of North Carolina. I presently reside in Columbus, Ohio and Laurinburg, NC.

I have several years of teaching in both NC and OH.  I teach Music and Native American Culture.

I work with several virtual classrooms in Ohio and across the country. I also work with several Native American Nations and schools on American Indian Reservations.   I have taught part-time at the University of Toledo in the Anthropology Department for the class “Indians Of North America.”  I also served as the Native American Liaison & Education Consultant for Ohio University.  I taught “Native American Culture” and “Native Americans Of The Great Lakes” and “American Indian Tribes Of The Southeast” at Lourdes University in NW Ohio.

I work on the Living History Circuit and the Native American Powwow Trial as an Emcee, Arena Director, Head Male Dancer, Storyteller and Writer. This keeps me very busy with as many as 30+ events all over the United States and Canada. I also write for on Native American Culture.

As for DI, well considering its basic definition, I have been doing that for years and years. The concept of meeting all individual student needs and helping every student meet and exceed established standards is what I have always tried to accomplish.

With the Professional Practice Continuum I found that I am about in the middle (2.5).  I find that I am not in any of the level one concepts.  For the rest of the levels I am in 2 and 3.  Still being in level 2 on some is due to the fact that I may be in a rut of doing things and hopefully this class can help me find a way out of the rut.  The other is that I find that some concepts of level 2 are perfect for music performance and American Indian Education as some in level 3 are not very conducive to teaching music especially musical performance.  I also find that some concepts of level 3 are not beneficial in American Indian Education.

Learning Styles Inventory Scores:

Linguistic 32
Mathematics 29
Visual/Spatial 34
Body/Kinesthetic 40
Naturalistic 46
Music 45
Interpersonal 36
Intrapersonal 46

Here is some more information on who I am:

Jamie K. Oxendine

A Native American of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Educator, Historian and Speaker. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Native American Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University, University of Toledo, Lourdes University, and has served as the Native American Liaison & Education Consultant for Ohio University. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Humanities Council, Board of Trustees for the Fallen Timbers Battlefield Preservation Commission and Governor Appointee to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Board. He has also sat on the ACCESS Grants Panel with the National Endowment For The Humanities.

Professor on June 1st, 2011

Jamie K. Oxendine

Jamie Oxendine is a Native American Author, Speaker, Educator, Storyteller, Professional Musician and Civil Rights Activist. He is of Lumbee/Creek Ancestry and a member of The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. He presents on Native American Culture across the United States and performs at Native American Gatherings throughout the country. Jamie also serves as the Master of Ceremonies and the Arena Director for many Native American Powwows. He performs and Speaks at Living History Events of the 18th & 19th Centuries all across the United States & Canada.

Oxendine Speaks on all aspects of Native American Culture, but he is especially knowledgeable in the South Eastern Woodland Culture; a part of Native America that is miss-understood, miss-represented, and badly stereotyped. His own people the Lumbee, the State of North Carolina and Elders in several other Tribes across the country, have acknowledged him as a Native American Orator. He has twice been awarded the North Carolina Governor’s Appreciation Award for Outstanding Service to the Indian People of North Carolina by the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs and the North Carolina Department of Administration.

Oxendine is the Director of the Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation. It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the education and support of Native Americans. BSIF sponsors such activities as Gatherings, Educational Programs, Seminars, Workshops, Food & Clothing Banks, and more.

As a Civil Rights Activist, Oxendine fought and won a major case against the State of Ohio regarding Civil Rights, Freedom of Religion and American Indian Freedom of Religion. Jamie battled an eight-month case in 1997 & 1998 directly related to the rights of Native Americans. The case was a clear indication that Native Americans still do not have the basic freedoms guaranteed to all Americans by the U.S. Constitution & various State Constitutions.

Jamie is also a successful recording artist with several recordings on the market including the successful CD The Traveler, 1996 and Citizens of God’s World, 1994. He has 3-times been nominated for a NAMMY® Native American Music Award for Best Independent Recording of the Year (2014, 2001, 2000). He is the pianist for Douglas Blue Feather (4 time NAMMY® Winner) having done piano tracks on the 2016 CD Cosmic Visions, 2013 CD Dawn Of A New Light, 2010 CD Rollin’ Like Thunder and the 2005 CD Time For Truth.

Oxendine composed and performed the musical score for the 1999 docu-drama Through Native Eyes: The Henry Berry Lowrie Story. The film and score were inducted into the American Folklife Center for the Bicentennial Celebration of the Library of Congress in May 2000. The film has been aired on PBS and independent stations across the Southeast.

Jamie holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Pembroke State University and a Masters degree from Bowling Green State University. He has written several published papers and theses on Native American Culture including works on Teaching Native American Culture in the K-12 Classroom, The Thanksgiving Holiday, Indian Summer, Native American Foods, Native American Genealogy and more. In July 2018 he released the published book Southeastern Woodland Designs.

Oxendine has served on the Advisory Board of the Native American Music Association and has been a Charter Member of the National Museum of the American Indian since 1994. He is also an Eagle Staff Keeper.

Presently, Jamie Oxendine is an Editor at and serves as a Native American Speaker on the University Lecture Circuit. He has sat on 3 State Boards: Board of Trustees for the Ohio Humanities Council, Member for the Battle of Fallen Timbers Commission and Governor Appointee to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Board.  He has been an Adjunct Professor of Native American Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University, the University of Toledo and Lourdes University. He served as the Native American Liaison & Education Consultant for Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and has served on the ACCESS Grants Panel with the National Endowment For The Humanities.

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