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Adapted from
Stone and DeNevi (1971)

The Native American Ways in Olden Times 
Compared to the early European Settlers Way

The People: 
Way of Life

Way of Life

  Present Oriented
  Future Oriented

  Not Time Conscious

In olden times, most tribes did not have a word for time, because time was relative. It is the month to pick berries. When the sun comes up.

  Very Time Conscious

Very time conscious with clocks, watches, and certain amounts of time set aside for each task or job.


A respected person is one who gives. A person who hoards is watched with distrust. (European proverb: It is better to give than to receive.)


A respected person is someone who saves. Even education is an investment in the future. (European proverb: A penny saved is a penny earned.)


Cooperation is healthy and essential. Anyone who tries to stand out is showing off. They believe in team effort. There was some competition.


Competition is healthy and essential. You do not have to win but you must try to achieve first place. There was some cooperation.

  Harmony with Nature  

Accepts nature. They do not try to change it. If a log falls across a creek, no one moves it. The creek path might change, but that is harmony. Farmers did plant seed and irrigate their crops, but these are exceptions.

  Conquest over Nature    

Controls nature by building dams and power plants. There are preserves set aside where land, plant, and animal life are in their natural state, but these are exceptions. 

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