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Tlingit and Nez Perce Needs and Wants

Table of Contents
1) Introduction
2) Tlingit Needs
3) Nez Perce Needs
4) Tlingit Want
5) Nez Perce Want
6) Conclusion

The Tlingit and Nez Perce Native American tribes, like all human beings, have needs and wants. In the following paragraphs, these needs and wants for each tribe will be thouroughly explained. Two of the needs that both tribes had were clothing and food. While the Tlingit tribe valued potlatches, the Nez Perce tribe valued horses.

Tlingit Needs

The Tlingit tribe wears certain types of clothing to symbolize their culture and their way of life. It is a great way to express their culture to others. They traditionally wore loincloths and skirts made of cedar bark, they wore those outfits almost all of the time. Although, when it was raining they wore raincoats from natural substances to keep them warm and dry. The women also wore hair ornaments and braceleting, but both the men and women wore ear and nose piercings, face painting, and tattoos.

The Tlingit tribe believed that every creature had a soul which is shown through their never wasting of any animal part. The Tlingit tribe hunted for survival, but they relied mostly on fishing. Salmon was the main fish they used, especially the types King(Chinook), Pink(Humpback), Silver(Coho), Red(Sockeye), and Chum(Dog Salmon). To catch the fish, they used hooks made out of animal guts. The reason they used animal guts as hooks was to attract the fish.

Nez Perce Needs

Like the Tlingit, the Nez Perce tribe used clothing to symbolize thier culture. They used the resources around them, such as cedar bark and various animal skins, and out of this, the Nez Perce created many types of clothing to suit thier environment. The materials the Nez Perce used in thier clothing included cedar bark, deer skin, rabbit skin, elk skin, and buffalo skin. When the Nez Perce hunted game for food, they used the skin from it as clothing. Men wore fringed shirts, breechcloths, leggings, gloves, moccasins, and buffalo robes. Belted buckskin dresses, knee length moccasins, and the occasional leggings were included in women's clothing. The Nez Perce used thier resources and thier natural surroundings and transformed them into highly useful items.

The men and women worked together to retrieve the food necessary for survival by dividing up the tasks. The men hunted while the women gathered. Animals that were hunted include elk, deer, mountain sheep, rabbits, moose, bears, bison, and antelope. The women gathered fruits and berries. Although these plants and animals were helpful in obtaining food, salmon was their main source. Some of the types of salmon caught were Chinook, Coho, Chum, and Sockeye. They caught salmon using long handeled spears and nets. When the first salmon were sighted in early spring, a First Feast Ceremony was performed. This ceremony thanked the Great Spirit and fish for giving it's life. During this time no fishing was allowed.

Tlingit Want

The Tlingit tribe came together for a potlatch almost always. Potlatch means "giving" or "gift", because of that they shared their wealth, called apon the spirits to help with feeding, clothing, and healing others. People also pay their depts, show respect, and display their wealth. Potlatch's take years of planning, they could even last four weeks, maybe even longer than that. They dance around an evening fire, they tell stories and apologize through dance, with drums and carved rattles too. Dancers wore carved masks painted with animals and mythical figures. Here is a quote to prove that the Tlingit tribe valued potlatch's very much, "And all the while he danced to the high, hectic rattle of the drum, virtually in place, his motion translated into the pure allusion".

Nez Perce Want

The most basic want of the Nez Perce tribe was the horse. The Nez Perce Native American tribe relied upon, and valued horses for everyday living. The tribe used horses for transportation to go hunting, to gather fruits, vegetables, and roots, and to get to their most important food source, salmon. In order to obtain horses, since they weren't originally from the area, The Nez Perce traded with the Spaniards in the early 1800's. The Nez Perce weaved baskets and crafted leather goods so they could trade with other cultures for thier horses. Without the horse, the Nez Perce tribe was forced to travel by foot, which was a very tiresome and tedious job, in addition to thier already harsh lifestyle, being nomadic as they were. The tribe cared well for and breeded these horses, eventually cross breeding two types of horses to create their own breed, the appaloosa horse, which today is still thriving.

Both tribes, the Tlingit and Nez Perce, used the available resources around them to meet the basic needs of food and clothing. Although the tribes had the same needs, their wants were different and they obtained them in different ways. A Tlingit want was potlatches and a Nez Perce want was horses. These wants symbolize the different tribes cultures' and how everyone has different desires.