What's the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Indians? Usually - this is a silent red-skinned savage with a bundle of scalps on his belt. In reality, Native Americans were not at all what they are shown in Hollywood films.
1. The nickname "red-skinned" Indians got because of their skin color
At the suggestion of the first American colonists, the Indians began to be called "redskins". But this does not mean at all that the color of the skin of the aborigines was red, if only because such a pigment simply does not exist in nature. The fact is that the Indians loved to paint their face and chest red. To do this, they used a special paint made of ocher and fat. The warlike Apache tribes were especially fond of such body art. The body painting served as a kind of magical protection for the warrior and showed his status. In fact, the skin color of the Indians, depending on the regions, varied from yellow-brown to bronze.
2. Scalping was a Native American custom
There are many misconceptions associated with scalping among North American Indians. The most common is that the Indians collected the scalps of their enemies. Of course, these cases did take place, but on the whole it was not a general tradition. Often the Indians would scalp only in response to such an insult from the enemy. Moreover, the colonists paid the Indians for scalped "fire water". There is also a misconception that all scalped people must die. There are many known cases when, after this cruel ceremony, people not only survived, but also continued to lead a normal life.
3. The last of the Mohicans
The historical novel by James Cooper tells the dramatic story of the life and death of the Uncas Indian, the last of the Mohican tribe. The novel takes place in the middle of the 18th century. Novate.ru found out that Uncas is a real person, only he lived 150 years earlier than the events in the book are described. In fact, the Mohican tribe has not died out so far and in 2003 it had 1,611 inhabitants. In Cooper's book, the Delawares act as positive characters, and the Iroquois as antagonists. The reason for this is ridiculously commonplace. The former were allies of the United States, and the latter were allies of Great Britain.
4. Tomahawks are throwing hatchets
The tomahawk is the Indian's faithful weapon. Movies and books show the amazing ability of Aboriginal people to throw these axes at enemies from a decent distance. In fact, this "fact" is not mentioned in any reliable source, which indicates the absence of such a practice among the Indians. Moreover, a loop was usually tied to the handles of the axes, which was worn on the hand. And if you think rationally - what's the point of throwing your main weapon at the enemy and remaining defenseless after that. Most likely, this is nothing more than a fictional film stamp, from which any battle scene will look much more spectacular.
5. Indians are good and whites are bad
The image of the indigenous North American people has been heavily romanticized by fiction and cinema. Almost always, the Indian is presented as a noble savage who defended their lands. In fact, the "redskins" were cruel. There were both peaceful tribes and warlike ones. The latter did not spare anyone. They killed men and captured women and children, slaughtered all the livestock and burned houses. Wars among the Indians were common. In the Wild West, there was only one law - the cat is stronger, he is right.
Continuing the topic of the article, read also about Chukchi warriors: how and what the "Russian Indians" fought, not wanting to join the empire.