As opposed to most other exhibitions on Native Americans, the one held within the Native Americans National Museum puts the emphasis on the present life of Indian Americans. They are not classified as a memory of the past anymore but as part of the current American society. However, their past is obviously heavily responsible for their present situation and therefore the museum retraces Native Americans history and cultures as well as their migration patterns. From the visit of the museum and the field of study covered in class, this paper will try to show how history impacted the lives of Native Americans and made them who and what they are today. First, this paper will examine their migration patterns throughout the last two centuries.
Secondly, their religious beliefs will be brought into focus with regards to their roots in history. Thirdly, their present conditions of living will be examined in order to assess the amount of change that occurred and the remaining efforts that have to be made.
[...] Therefore I feel my visit to the Museum of the Native Americans provided me with inside knowledge about the Indians. I am willing to make a last but decisive point as to the ways Indians are pictured in this museum. I highly regret that they are still thought of as victims more than people who are actually part of the American society as a whole. They obviously suffered a lot from the European colonialism in the Americas and denying this is pointless. [...]
[...] The main attraction of the museum is probably the exhibition focusing on the present lives of the Indians. Indians are often referred to as a former population of the Americas which has been either destroyed or absorbed. The remaining Indians are seen as decadent and as enclosed in reserves where the government wants them to be so that any tourists can have fun looking at Indians. These conceptions are obviously biased and the museum manages to open visitors' eyes. Once again, the museum made the decision to emphasize the lives of 8 different Indian communities to show that even nowadays there is no one “Indian issue” but many different groups living their own life with more or less success. [...]
[...] The Native American culture is infused with religion at every stage as the visit of the museum showed me. The part called Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes Our World” was especially relevant to understanding how Indian beliefs were born and evolved in terms of alien religions. Before stressing the importance of the arrival of European religions within the Indian system of values it is crucial to note that there is no one single Indian religion but a myriad of different beliefs inherent to the different tribes. [...]
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