February 07, 2008

Every Indian lived in a teepee?

Some common myths about the OneidasKandice Watson, cultural and education outreach director for the Oneida Indian Nation, says a number of misconceptions about the Oneidas and Native Americans stand out for her:

Misconception: All Native Americans, including the Oneidas, lived in tepees. (Tepee is the English assimilation of the traditional Sioux word, tipi.)

Says Watson: "One of the things that really bugs me is that every Indian that lives in this country lived in tepees. A fourth grader thinking that is one thing but when adults say the same thing, that's amazing."
And:Misconception: Every Indian man wore elaborate war bonnets.

Says Watson:

"That's not what Oneidas would have worn. Walking through the woods something like that would have been ripped to shreds. Every nation has their own arrangement of feathers. You could look at it and identify a nation and where they were from. It was a way to recognize different tribes."
Comment:  As usual, I wonder where these people got the impression that Indians lived in teepees and wore warbonnets. Could it be from seeing these things in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, THE FOURTH HORSEMAN #1, The Simpsons, Kid Nation, the Rose Parade, and Comanche Moon--to name several recent examples?

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