Cultural Significance Of Native American Art Essay

Cultural Significance Of Native American Art Essay

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The introduction of of European materials, tools, and techniques transformed Native American art aesthetically as well as it’s role within Native culture. European technology produced goods that made Native American art easier to create and allowed Native American art to become more elaborate and detailed.  However, the distinctive styles of each unique tribes’ art was diluted as the tribes obtained the same European materials rather than what was native to the land they lived on. in many cases European encounter caused Native American artwork to become less culturally significant; For instance, many crafts that held religious ceremonial roles, or served spiritual symbolism, became available to anyone, as a greater emphasis on its economic importance emerged through tourism and trade. As white settlement expanded Native Art and customs were almost wiped out, due to the American governments goal to assimilate Native Americans into white culture. The influence of white settlement and the demise of the cultural significance in Native American art reflects the over all devastating consequence of European encounter for the Indigenous people of the Americas.
Native American art was not created solely for its aesthetics, it was integrated into other aspects of culture, it represented the values and events of the tribe, while providing basic needs such as shelter. One example of this is Pueblo pottery used as containers for water was decorated and painted to tell stories about the history or rituals of the tribe. Zuni craved fetishes, or stones that resembled animals, and it was believed these carvings embodied the creature’s spirit. Depending on the creature they resembled, fetishes were believed to give hunters power, provide protectio...

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... tribe’s traditional crafts.
European encounter and settlement not only changed native American art in technique and appearance but transformed the art’s connection to the culture of the tribe. Native Americans no longer relied on the materials produced by the land they lived on, but instead the manufactured goods from Europe. European contact sparked trade relations, that benefited the Native American economy, but devalued the sacredness of certain objects and crafts. White settlers eventually tried to destroy all aspects of Native culture, including art by mass genocide as well as attempted assimilation into white mainstream culture. Fortunately, modern day Native American tribes have invested time and interest into traditional crafts and culture, with the assistance from the government through legislation such as the “Indian Arts and Crafts” act of 1990.  Nagpra

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