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Native American survival skills, also known as traditional survival wisdom, shows us how our needs can be met if we find ourselves without gear such as tents, sleeping bags, and water purifiers. Take, for example, the sun rising in hikina (the east). Herbs were a staple of Native American medicine, and for almost any kind of complaint, tinctures, salves or teas made of leaves, flowers, bark or berries were applied or consumed to treat the ailment. When a star rises at a specific point on the horizon, it will ultimately set in the opposite quadrant from where it originally rose. Click Here to give an online gift. Direction-finding, wayfinding, and steering by the stars are mentioned in  ancient literature; the pilot Palinurus, in Virgil’s Aeneid, in Book V, “watches all the stars that glide through silent skies: he marks Arcturus, the twin bears and the rainy Hyades, Orion armed with gold; and seeing all together in the tranquil heavens, loudly he signals from the stern”  (another quote on Quotations page). Much of what we know today about herbal medicine is based on Native American healing.

Native American healing has saved millions of lives, thanks to the invention of penicillin, which was derived from a Native American treatment for infection using mold. While the timing of the Pacific migration is disputed, it's believed Polynesians reached Samoa and Tonga as early as 1200 BC. The Native Americans never had to rely upon modern methods or ideas that handicapped the Europeans when they first arrived. Native American Astronomy.
More than just the Kon-Tiki, however, sweet potatoes and chicken bones demonstrate a link between Polynesians and South America. Before penicillin was discovered by doctors, Native Americans had been using it as a remedy for centuries to treat illnesses. There are three out-of-print books I mention in this website, and this is unfortunately one of them.

There have been studies that have shown herbal remedies to be effective, however, few herbal treatments are recommended by the FDA, Native American healing also focuses on detoxification methods, such as sitting in sweathouses and fasting to remove impurities from the body. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native American and First Nation peoples all across the US and Canada (see Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native Americans in the United States, Indigenous peoples in Canada, and First Nations) had developed customs for dealing with captives. Though Polynesia today is a conglomerate of nations that were independently colonized, the boundaries of the original Polynesian nation stretched from Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the southwestern corner, to the Hawaiian Islands in the north, and all the way out to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) off the South American coast. Though the art was definitely in danger of being lost (it took a man from Micronesia, Mau Piailug, to train Hawaiian navigators such as Nainoa Thompson in the traditional art of wayfinding), the craft has experienced a massive resurgence over the course of the last 3o years. Their influence helped pave the way of success for the growing number of settlements that followed. Another link is in chicken bones that were found in South America, where carbon dating has traced them back to around 1350 AD. However, I found it through inter-library loan and it may also be available at antiquarian and used book dealers.
Mathematical celestial navigation (sight reduction) came later; the “intercept” method, in use today, was invented by Commander Marcq de Saint-Hilaire of the French Navy in 1875. Perhaps what's more fascinating than the journeys themselves, is just how the Polynesians got there.When sailing out on the open seas in their dugout voyaging canoes, Polynesians would navigate by using the stars and all of the elements around them. Spread like a sea, in boundless solitude, American Indian Topics | American Indian Products | American Indian TribesNative American Topics | Indigenous Peoples’ Literature. Chapter Four covers the western view of mapping and space through the renaissance before moving on to Hawaiian navigation. More prominent, however, is the story of Hokule'a, a traditional double-hulled voyaging canoe that's currently in the middle of a three year journey to encircle the entire globe. It was not until about A.D. 500 that the bow and arrow was adopted in Iowa some 11,500 years after the first people came to the region. That said, it's actually a crop that's native to the Americas as opposed to Polynesia, and its origins have been traced to early cultures in the area of modern day Ecuador. There is an excellent book, Navigation in the Information Age, at In addition to following the path of the stars, navigators would use the currents and wave patterns to determine their direction and heading. Walk silently. Since ocean swells follow seasonal patterns (see our weather page for more info), the navigator can use the rocking of the boat to determine the heading and direction of the boat in either daytime or cloudy skies. Either way, the fact that these islanders could successfully navigate across the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of years before "modern" cultures would even "discover" America, is reason enough to consider Polynesians the greatest navigators on Earth. There is a revival of interest in Native American healing as more people are searching for alternative remedies to avoid the side effects, inconvenience and cost of traditional medicine. The human race has been finding its way from the heavens since the beginning of recorded history, if not before. When Hokule'a finally reached Tahiti, a crowd of over 10,000 people gathered on the shores to welcome home their Polynesian brethren who departed over 800 years prior. The Haven-Finding Art: A History of Navigation  from Odysseus to Captain Cook, by  E.G. This site is also listed on the Wayfinding page. Ceremonial Peace Pipes - The Native American pipe is smoked in a ceremonial or ritual to call upon the four elements and give an offering to the Great Spirit. Finally, even though traditional Polynesian wayfinding is an art that's thousands of years old, it's still being used by navigators today to sail across the Pacific. Peter Ifland’s History of the Sextant  has some truly beautiful pictures. From these two directions he can then discern north as well as other points on the compass, and keep the canoe on the desired heading for reaching its destination. MORE, >> American Indian Tribes Articles - Cultures of the Mayans, Pawnee, Choctaw, Apache, Comanche, Nez Perce, Mohawk and others. Beneath the concave of unclouded skies Blue'Aina, Environmental Science, Conservation, Blue'aina, blue'aina reef cleanup, reef cleanup in maui, volunteer in maui, voluntourism, trilogy elua, earth day, maui forest bird recovery, fairmont kea lani, best snorkeling on Maui, Olowalu, Olowalu Maui, Olowalu Snorkeling, Snorkeling Maui. Be sure to check them out! And guardian of their course, that never closed

R. Taylor, published by Hollis & Carter, London, for the Institute of Navigation. 1. Styling your hair with Native American braids, not all braids are alike. miles of open ocean and islands—and when viewed ethnically as opposed to politically—can still be considered as the largest countries found on Earth today.

MORE. The answer to that question is one of historians' greatest ongoing debates. MORE, >> Indigenous Peoples’ Literature - A collection of writings celebrating the diverse cultures of Indigenous Peoples' of North and South America.

Curanderismo - Blending and evolution of Native and Hispanic healing techniques involving herbs, sweats, diet, and magick. Similarly, at every sunset, the navigator knows that where the sun crosses the horizon is komohana, or west. The leading theory is that Polynesian ancestors started in Southeast Asia, and over the course of thousands of years, constructed vessels and used currents to populate offshore islands. Master Polynesian navigators, it's said, could close their eyes and discern five different swells all gently rocking the boat—and simply tell from a change in movement if their heading had drifted off course. At one point in history they could all be considered as the largest nation on Earth.

Chaldean shepherds, ranging trackless fields Many of the stars have Arabic names because the people of the desert used the stars for direction, as did mariners. Throughout the night, a navigator can watch a procession of stars as they appear on the eastern horizon— and correlate from their location which direction the canoe is facing and heading. Need Help Researching Your Indian Ancestry?

Secrets of Ancient Navigation – From the Nova Series on PBS. From there they fanned out to the Marquesas Islands as early as 300 AD, eventually heading north to the Hawaiian Islands between 400 and 600 AD. “Divided into Two Parts, Wherein is Taught the three kindes of sayling, Horizontal, Paradoxal, and Sayling upon a Great Circle…with a Regiment newly Calculated for the finding of the Declination of the Sun, and many other most necessary Rules and Instruments not hereforte set by any.”. For more detailed info on Polynesian wayfinding, check out this page from the Polynesian Voyaging Society and prepare to be amazed. There are links suitable for students in the History section of the Celestial Navigation in the Classroom page (for example, Longitude at Sea from the Galileo Project and many others. In this star compass created by Nainoa Thompson—master celestial navigator—you can see how Polynesians subdivided the sky into corresponding quadrants.

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