Native American tribes lived in harmony with the land for ages before Europeans settled on this continent. Entire nations were established without the modern creature-comforts of home that we are familiar with today. Their skills and traditions have almost been completely forgotten, but we can still learn much from how they lived. Here are a few hallmark skills that we can apply to modern survival techniques. They are important, and all of us can benefit from reconnecting with the wisdom from the past.
Native Americans knew how to hunt and hide without being noticed because they understood how to blend in with the land. Their techniques allowed them to catch prey and gain the strategic advantage over enemies. They understood the importance of being careful where they walked, about blending in with the scenery and not alerting others to their presence.
They painted their bodies, chose their clothes to match the surrounding terrain and established camps by building structures that were hard to detect from a distance. These are all practices that people who are trained and experienced with wilderness survival still use, and its important to keep them in the front of our minds.
Reading the Environment
Native Americans knew their territory and understood how to read the land. The could take cues from the sky, wind, what other animals did and make decisions accordingly. We have lost this ability because of our modern distractions that keep us from really listening and observing things. Nature has so much to tell us, and it is important to take the time to observe and learn what is being said.
The important lesson is that they knew their surroundings. They understood what was normal and out of place. They could tell when the rain would come by how the wind blew or how the air felt. They could sense danger by smell or hearing other animals fleeing. They took each step with care and they trusted their instincts. All of these things are habits that were developed by virtue of practice and experience, and we can benefit from really reading our environment as well.
The strategies as well as weaponry used by many Native Americans were tailored to meet a specific set of targets in specific locations. They would blend into the terrain near where prey would be present and wait for the perfect opportunity to strike. A blow gun or bow and arrow were very accurate, silent and highly effective weapons. A gunshot wouldn’t scare animals away, and most prey never knew what was hitting them until it was too late.
Indians knew how to set traps, spearfish and even catch certain animals with their bare hands. All of these skills enabled them to have multiple options when looking for prey, and they knew exactly what needed to be done. Little things like standing downwind so that animals would not smell them, hiding in trees or flat against rocks would give them an advantage.
All of these examples teach us a very important lesson: We need to spend more time learning and living with the land in order to dominate it and use it for our survival. It takes a lot of practice, patience and listening. However, developing these skills can transform our abilities to survive even if we get completely cut off from the modern world.
Start developing your situational awareness and learn how to read and interpret what is happening around you. These skills may end up saving lives one day while enhancing your ability to thrive when others are fighting to survive.