Examination Of Native American Influences On Western Culture, Arts, And Community Practices

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Culture of Native American tribes, naturally, is reunited: among them are hundreds of different communities that also have their own respective distinctive languages, mannerisms and histories. The intercultural space where a number of cultures coexist has remarkably affected a lot of traditions in the Western culture, especially in the way art and community activities are presented. The Cherokee in the Southeast and the Navajo in the Southwest are just two of the many tribes that have given the cultural mosaic of the United States and, by extension, the whole Western world a true sense of belonging.

Different facets of Native American lives echo in American culture, manifesting themselves in the visual arts, the government organisation, the pageantry, and music, and frequently undergo a process of adaptation without clear acknowledgment of their roots. Consequently, this part will address the overall effect of these cultures and introduce the readers to the details of the areas where they actually had influence in the ancient Western culture which also was shaped and got richer due to these contributions respectively.

Historical Context

Before the European settlers, Native American societies were known for their varied cultural practices, social structures and technological achievements. The Iroquois Confederacy, one instance, which is renowned for its intricate systems of rule, has been regarded by certain historians as an influence to the democratic concepts listed in the United States Constitution.

The first contacts between the natives and the Europeans were multi-tiered and frequently involved conflicting issues, but they nevertheless led to a number of intercultural exchanges.

The Native American agriculture practices, for example, the cultivation of corn, tobacco, and potatoes, were adopted by Europeans and then spread all over the world. Equivalent to this, navigational techniques, which were used for medicinal purposes and were also warfare tools were also being exchanged and had directly a strong influence on the European settlements and subsequently the development of the Western culture.

The course of events led to intermingling, which developed in a wondrous variety of ways: some of these being cultural elements being borrowed, modified, and sometimes misappropriated by Western culture and vice versa. This backstory is very important when we think about the richness and the depth of the Native American influence on the Western traditions and practices.

Artistic Influence

Traditional art forms and symbols of Native Americans had a great impact on the development of Western artistic traditions, ranging from pottery through warp and weft to painting and sculpture. The present artists continue to sustain the cultural heritage of their people by giving life to the art and other social practices.

Visual Arts

Native American art is the embodiment of complex and artful work and a celebration of the creativity of different tribes channelled in several ways including basketry and pottery, beadwork and weaving. Let us have a look at new world art helps understand the importance of symbolism and values that reflect on our current aesthetic preferences in American and European art. Like, the use of geometric patterns and natural dyes in Navajo weaving has been reflected in the modern fashion and design.

Music and Dance

Music and dance (both of these) have always been very important elements in the cultural and tradition of the American tribe, which they (both of them) are using for the ceremonies, tales (including) the social events. Some Western music genres have been profited by the Native American instruments to include in them, they are the flute and the drum; and examples are folk, rock among others. The beat and order of Native American music have also been the source of inspiration for contemporary dance movements, which in turn have helped to shape the modern dance art.


The cultural stories that Native American nations have brought to American literature have made them possible, through an interrelated oral style, with traditions of narration and of oneness with nature. Scholars like Sherman Alexie and Leslie Marmon Silko have recently stirred it to the surface of contemporary literature as they add those traditional themes with a fresh voice for the modern authors.

Influence on Popular Culture

Symbols, tales, and traditions of Native Americans have invaded mainstream popular culture, which can be seen in films, literature, music, and fashion. Their everlasting influence still shapes the cultural stories and artistic expressions.


Designers have been widely inspired by Native American patterns, motifs, and techniques, and we can easily see the use of turquoise and silver jewellery, fringe on leather garments, and feather motifs in clothing designs. These motifs are not only limited to wearable fashion but also extend into home decor, which is influencing the designs of items such as western bar stools. Such stools boast wood and leather natural elements and artful design influenced by native art that reveal both their beauty and cultural importance. Thus, the intersection of fashion design and furniture design represents the widespread impact of Native American culture in many aspects of Western aesthetics.


As historical cinematography and fictional stories are imparted on television and movie screens, native American narratives have been often included in film and television, but this representation has not always been truthful and of decent regard. Yet, the movement towards more natural and real life representations has been continuously growing. This is due to the work of Native American actors, filmmakers, and cultural consultants.


The role of ancestral cultures in sports, on the other hand, comes across as wicked, especially in icon names and mascots. Though this is regarded by some as commemorating the honesty and continuity of Native American bravery and spirit, others see it as an offensive and insignificant practice.

This argument raises the difficult issue of how cultural aspects are assimilated and changed in mainstream culture.

Community customs and moral values are both highly influential in the formation of individual identities and behaviours.

Community Organization and Governance

Native American impacts on the society and governance’s structure are also evident in the governmental structures of multilateral Indian tribes by the way. The Iroquois Confederacy is one of the examples of participatory democracy that was put in place before the Western similar practices.

Normalised as the Great Law of Peace, an architectural way for the society resembled where the council consensus was a crucial element of decision-making, which led to a direction of federalism and democracy in the United States of America. The American founders, for example, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were known to be friends with, and take notice, and also, draw from the Iroquois system.

Environmental Stewardship

Native American tribes have also developed their own environmental management practices that have influenced modern ecological movements in Western societies. The indigenous people’s culture that advocates for ‘dwelling’ in a natural world and a view that human life forms a bigger ecosystem sparked the birth of modern environmentalism.

Examples are instances like the employment of controlled burning for the management of forests and also promoting biodiversity in the farming sector through polyculture farming where Native knowledge undergirds the current approaches to living sustainably.

Spiritual and Ritual Influences

The spiritual practices and customs of Native American cultures have found their way into modern Western spirituality, which has brought into the world such things as the vision quests, shamanic journeys, and the use of natural psychedelics for spiritual growth. Indigenous people’s way of interacting with nature is not merely epitomised in a simple lack of severance; it has in fact encompassed different approaches that emphasise a deep inner connection to nature that includes holistic health approaches that integrate the body, mind and spirit.

Challenges and Controversies

Furthermore, when the commercialization of cultural symbols such as lawn jockeys for sale continues, it reflects the issues of cultural sensitivity. Originally, these statues were meant to be a tribute or a marker, but now they have turned into commercial items that often do not respect their complex histories or the cultures they claim to represent.

Additionally, this usurpation shows the necessity of ethical considerations while dealing with cultural symbols, thus suggesting dialogue about respect and awareness of history.

Native-American Tribe confronts huge challenges from the legal and ethical issues in political perspectives with respect to land rights and protection of sacred sites.

The difficult situation is illustrated in many court cases that probe the complicated connection of leaders of the tribe and government. For example, at the present period, the Standing Rock versus land administration tension just shows how cultural heritage relates to modern law.


The impacts of Native American cultures on the Western society are immense and wide-spread, affecting all aspects of life from arts to community practices. The areas which these practices and concepts seep into are not limited to the only aesthetic elements. They go so deep that they also affect the essence of Western social life.

Certainly as the outlook towards the future potentially will be inclined towards integration rather than integration, the Native American influences must be preserved besides Native American peoples’ integrity and rights.

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