Music, Oratory, Writing and Trade
Native people from what is now Michigan had seashells in their garments that came from what is now Florida, and copper from Michigan was used by the American Indian peoples of Florida. Trade routes were in existence throughout what is now called North America for thousands of years before the mass European immigration to this land.
Music, song and dance has long been an integral part of Native cultures. First there was the voice. Then came the rasp. After that came the rattle, the drum and the flute. Indigenous music all has a sacred center. You cannot separate the human being from the Spirit. The two are truly one in the same. Therefore, any music or song which is performed in a traditional style by a Native person will always have the indelible nuance of Spirit contained within. Having said that, there are old songs which are considered sacred, and those songs are for praying and ceremony. So you will not, with a few rare exceptions, find recordings of these old ceremonial songs for sale. Those songs are passed down from mouth to ear, from teacher to student. But suffice it to say that most, if not all, contemporary traditional style Native music albums will have spiritual undertones. In old times music, song and dance was a way to pray. The same is still true today. When Native people dance, that dance is an expression of spirituality. It is sacred. The drum, the songs, they too are sacred. The regalia worn by the dancers is sacred as well. So when you hear contemporary Native music, know that it too has a sacred heart, and that those songs, though not the old ceremonials, still honor and speak of Spirit....
A LOT of books have been written about Native culture, history and peoples. We prefer books written by Indigenous authors. That is not to say that there aren't great books written on Native topics by non-Indian authors; there are. Having said that, there is no better vantage point for understanding than from the source. No one can comprehend the subtle nuances of the American Indian experience better than the person who is American Indian and has walked in those shoes and lived it.