10 Favourite HubPages on the Subject of Native Americans - A Greensleeves Review

INTRODUCTION

This page is a review of some of the best articles about native Americans which can be found on the HubPages website. Native American people, the first inhabitants of the American landmass many thousands of years ago, survived and thrived until the 16th century untroubled by European civilisation. Since then, there have been times which have been bleak and depressing as conflict with the white man led to the rapid obliteration of many cultures from the face of the Earth. Others however continued, and remain proud and independent of spirit, even today in the 21st century.


HUBPAGE REVIEWS

This is the first of a series of articles I will be publishing reviewing some of the best 'hubs' (web pages) on particular subjects at the HubPages site. In time I may modify each review to accommodate other hubs which I'd like to promote. The home page for these reviews and a list of published reviews can be found at:

HubPage Subject Reviews - A Greensleeves Site

ABOUT HUBPAGES

HubPages is a site on which anybody from any background and level of experience or ability, can publish articles on any subject about which they feel passionate or on which they have knowledge to impart. As a member of HubPages, I use the site to write my own pages and to seek out articles on subjects which are of interest to me.

If you would like to write on HubPages:

The Topics Page shows the variety of subject matter published.

The Learning Centre gives lots of helpful advice.

The HubPages Sign Up page is here. Sign up and start writing!

REVIEW AND SELECTION CRITERIA

Articles reviewed for this selection came from two categories of topic on HubPages. The first of these is 'Native American History' and the second is 'PreColumbian and MesoAmerican History'. Together these two categories incorporate about 200 hubs, within the broader topic of 'History and Archaeology'.

The articles are certainly a mixed bag, dealing with everything from the origins of native American societies to those infamous Mayan prophecies about the end of the world in 2012. Many hubs focus on specific tribes such as the Nez Perce, the Navajo and the Algonquins. Many of course detail the story of the tragic conflicts between the native Americans and the white colonists in the centuries after Columbus first landed on the American continent. Some articles concentrate on specific wars and incidents, and others look at tribal culture.

If I have criticisms, I would suggest that too many articles are long unbroken pieces of text, which may well be fine reading for an interested academic, but which are likely to deter any casual visitor to the page from dallying and reading to the end. If photos or drawings and diagrams are available, these should be used to entice the visitor to stay. If they are not available, then at least the text could be broken up into subtitled sections. The other criticism would be that many hubs assume a level of knowledge which may not exist even among the general public of America, let alone foreign visitors to the page. Terms are sometimes used to describe native customs and beliefs without definition or explanation.

For all that, the hubs give a wide-ranging appraisal of the lives of the people who inhabited the Americas before the arrival of the white man, and some contain details which are offbeat, intriguing and quite unlike anything one will find in the average television documentary, much less the Hollywood Western or historical adventure which first introduced many of us to the concept of native American 'culture'.


MY TEN SELECTED PAGES

All of these ten articles are easy to read, many contain interesting information, and some explore theories for debate. I've tried to include hubs which cover different themes. Two pages are directly associated with native American / colonial relations in North America. One looks at the removal of Indians from their homelands in the Eastern states, whilst another looks at the origins of the plains Indians in the Western states. Another charts the story of the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Perhaps the most effective articles are those which take one particular aspect of Indian culture to explore in some depth, and I've included several such hubs on ancient trade networks, totem poles, Indian music, and shellmounds. One quirky hub features transgender roles in native culture! I've also made sure to include a couple of hubs about the native populations from south of the U.S / Mexican border.

Before starting, I should mention Patty Inglish. I haven't included any one of her pages, but would rather link to her profile page as she has published more than 20% of all pages in these categories. She is perhaps the doyen of Native American hub writers.


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The Popol Vuh: The Mayan Story of Creation

Understandably perhaps the majority of hub pages devoted to the subject of native Americans concentrate on the peoples of North America. But of course the native populations of central and south America once formed major and very significant civilisations, and even empires. One such were the Maya, much in the news in 2012 because of the strange (modern) beliefs of some people that the Mayans accurately predicted the end of the world. As this article shows, Mayan mythology actually predicted a series of destructions and recreations of the world. One of the difficulties many authors encounter when trying to describe ancient mythology is that the myths and legends are not always fully known, may occur in more than one version in different tribes or different times, and are frequently so alien to modern ideas that comprehending them and clearly explaining the ideas behind them is not at all easy. The religion of the Maya certainly seems to be very convoluted and bizarre, but this article makes a good attempt in explaining Mayan creation myths.

The Popol Vuh: The Mayan Story of Creation by kestrana


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6 Cool Facts About the Aztecs of Mexico

This article is rather shorter than some of the others on this page and does not go into in-depth detail about the Aztecs, but all the information included is new to me. I have listed it because it is one of the very best presented hub pages in these topic categories. The tone of the article is very light, and the paragraphs of text are pleasingly broken with illustrations and maps, which all go to make it one of the easiest to read hubs. It is not intended to be the most comprehensive guide, but it is a quick effective glimpse at some of the less well known aspects of Aztec history, to be enjoyed and maybe to encourage readers to enquire further.

6 Cool Facts About the Aztecs of Mexico by stephaniedas


Sky City: The Acoma Pueblo

This is a hub which records the history of possibly 'the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States.' The Acoma Pueblo aka 'Sky City' is a village perched on a high rock outcrop in the state of New Mexico, and its builders, the Acoma Indians, have had a long and difficult interaction with the white man, notably the Spanish invaders in the 16th and 17th centuries - the main focus of this article. The hub includes four videos and many photos, which makes the page more enjoyable to read, and entices the reader to want to visit this place.

Sky City: The Acoma Pueblo by St.James



Totem Poles - the Legacy of Native American Indians

Everyone has heard of totem poles, but who knows their significance or history? This article is brief, but informative and very easy to read, covering the distribution of totem poles, the process of creation, and the symbolisms (apparently different poles were erected to commemorate different events in the life of the tribe, family or individual). One interesting point I wasn't aware of is that apparently the totem poles lacked great religious significance - rather they are story telling devices.

Totem Poles - the Legacy of Native American Indians by Toknowinfo



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Music and the Cherokee Indians

Music clearly played an important part in the tribal rituals of North American Indians and this article informs about the instruments which were employed both before and after contact with the white man, as well as the purposes of the music and the manner in which it was performed. The hub also carries many illustrations , which is nice, and three well put together and enjoyable video clips and slide shows of native American music. Bonnie Ramsey has also written several other good hubs on similar topics.

Music and the Cherokee Indians by Bonnie Ramsey



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Native American Indian Berdache Tradition

Well if you are considering writing about an aspect of American Indian life, what would you consider - Tribal Dance? Warfare? Language? How about transgender role changes? It's not a subject which perhaps springs immediately to mind, and I hasten to say it's not a subject of any personal relevance, but still I found this a very interesting insight on a lesser known aspect of native culture. Berdaches apparently, were individuals who although often homosexual, were not necessarily so. They assumed the roles of the opposite sex for various reasons, including practicalities of inheritance, or due to the shortage of males or females needed to carry out the defined roles of each particular sex. This is a very well written article by 'Southern Muse' which suggests that perhaps native Americans have always been rather more liberal and open-minded than might be assumed today.

Native American Indian Berdache Tradition by Southern Muse



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Trade of the Native Americans

Disappointingly this author, Deborah Martinez, has only published this one hub, and even this one seems to be intended as an introduction to her own book on the subject matter of native American trade. Nonetheless the hub is worth looking at for the information it gives on the enormous and extraordinary range of items traded across the length and breadth of the Americas - everything from eagle feathers, buffalo hides and abalone shells to pottery, nuts and toys. The hub also gives a nice insight into how this trade was conducted.

Trade of the Native Americans by DMartinezMartinez



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The California Native American Emeryville Shellmound

This page covers just one of the many aspects of ancient American culture of which I was not aware - the construction of shellmounds - great hills of garbage, human and animal remains and of course shells, the purpose of which seems to remain in some doubt. The article reviews quite comprehensively and intelligently the history of one particular mound in Emeryville, California, its fate in the 20th century, and the issue as to whether such mounds are important archaeological sites or mere rubbish dumps.

The California Native American Emeryville Shellmound by Tamarind



plains indians?

This is an interesting little discourse on the origins of the plains Indians. It poses a theory that these tribes, so dependent on the horse, could not have existed on the plains before the arrival of the Spanish and the introduction of the horse in the 16th century, and that therefore their hunter/gatherer way of life was a relatively recent enforced adaptation from a farming lifestyle. The author suggests that the ravages of disease communicated from the invaders to the Indians forced a sophisticated community out from their sedentary way of life, and into the wilderness of the plains. I have no knowledge as to the correctness of the theory, but the questions it raises about the practicality of the plains lifestyle in the days before the arrival of the horse, make It an interesting subject for discussion. Did the plains Indians owe their distinctive lifestyle, so familiar from Western movies, to the arrival of the Europeans? 'Darkland' has been on HubPages for two years but has only published this one hub, which is a pity. The author seems to still be active posting a few messages from time to time, so hopefully more hubs will one day be forthcoming.

plains indians? by Darkland


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Removal of Cherokee from North Georgia

A long and sobering discourse on a depressing episode in America's history - the enforced migration of the Cherokee Nation from its homeland in Georgia. Unfortunately there is only one illustration to accompany this long essay of text, but nonetheless it is an interesting and detailed read - exactly what happened, and why it happened. I chose it because it is well written and addresses a serious historical event, and clearly emphasises the disreputable actions of some, without being too preachy.

Removal of Cherokee from North Georgia by maridax





A NOTE ON COPYRIGHT

In order to make this page attractive and well presented, and to give a much better indication as to the reviewed hubs' content, I feel it is necessary to include one photo from each hub. Usually these will be public domain images. If they are copyright work, I will inform the author, and seek permission. Although my intention is only to increase visits to the hubs, if authors do not wish me to use the photos, I will of course, happily remove any copyright pics, or would be happy to use an agreed alternative image if requested.

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I'D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS. THANKS, ALUN 8 comments

Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

toknowinfo;

Thank you for your visit and nice comment. Your hub ticks all the right boxes as an article of information which is lucid and clear yet interesting and inclusive of all aspects of the subject.

Although I'm not specifically looking at older hubs, it's obviously nice to try to generate a little renewed interest in a hub after the initial flurry of visits and/or comments has died down. There's a whole lot of good hubs out there and nobody can read or even glance at most of them, so I hope the idea of promoting just a few, works for both the readers and the authors.

Alun


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago

Hi Greensleeves, I am honored that you chose my hub about Totem Poles to be in this Hub Pages review. It is interesting to read the other hubs also. Each are very different and very interesting, and have taught me a lot. Thank you again, for chosing my hub out of the many hubs that have been written about this topic. I also think this is such a great idea you have created and look forward to reading more of your review hubs. Rated up - useful, awesome, beautiful, and interesting.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

Derdriu; thanks so much for visiting and for that nice comment.

I picked this subject to open with because although I find history and ancient civilisations interesting, I knew little of the history of the native Americans, so I felt I would learn something - an added attraction of writing the reviews. Certainly I did learn a few curious facts, particularly about North American Indians. It's easy to have one's understanding coloured by the old Western movies where one just sees Indians shooting their bows and arrows, riding horses and doing war dances. Reading the hubs has opened up a world of cultural practices, of music and trade and all the aspects of a full and varied society.

I've already found that the actual writing of the reviews is quite easy and much quicker than writing my own pages. What takes a lot of time however is looking at all the hubs and trying to choose which ones to include and which to leave out.

Hopefully reviews like this will benefit the viewer with some pages to look at which are different to their usual reading, and will benefit the writers of the hubs, with a little increased traffic. Alun.


Derdriu 4 years ago

Alun, I like how you start with an explanation of the category (History and Archaeology) and its components (Native, Meso-American). It's helpful for newbies trying to sort out the vast array of HP categories. It's also welcome to veterans who focus on a couple of categories and therefore appreciate direction regarding what else is out there.

Also, with each hub, it's very effective how you tell what the hub is about in addition to the particular reasons that motivate you to include it amongst your top 10.

Up + UFABI.

Respectfully, and with many thanks for thinking of and carrying out such an interesting HP series, Derdriu


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

snakeslane thank you! Half of these hubs have received 2 comments or less, even though they've been published for a long time. No idea how many viewings they get, but I'm sure a lot of new hubbers have probably become disillusioned at an early stage because they've received a disappointing response to the essay that they've taken pride in writing. Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to give a few of them a bit of exposure here.

I appreciate your visit and comment. Alun


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

And away you go Alun! Exciting to see your first! You are so right about these Hubs lacking visibility, it's the first I've seen any of them, good work! Regards, snakeslane


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK Author

Thanks Suzie very much. I think one of the strengths of a site like HubPages is that even on the most obscure and offbeat subjects, someone, somewhere in the world will have knowledge to give which will interest others.

The Berdache article appealed partly because it reveals a surprising native American solution to issues both of sexual orientation and of a society in which a disproportionate number of males or females may cause practical problems of role fulfillment. It is also intriguingly different to the usual image of American Indian life. Can you imagine a Hollywood Western in which John Wayne encounters a berdache?

Glad you liked the reviews Suzie, and thanks for sharing. Alun.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Alun, What an insightful piece, on a subject i have been interested in for many years. You make excellent points on each one by being honest in expectations for the reader. I learnt facts like the Berdache tradition, that i have never heard before, so thank you for highlighting such hubs that deserve recognition. Voting up, and will be Sharing!

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