Native American History in Arkansas


The state of Arkansas is known today for its beautiful, rugged landscapes, its fast growing economy and its rich artistic and cultural heritage. But there was a time, not too long ago, when this beautiful land was populated by noble tribes of resourceful hunter-gatherers, unburdened by western technology and ideology. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the societies and civilizations that grew up in the area we know today as the state of Arkansas, and their tragic near-downfall at the hands of opportunistic colonizers.

Life of the native tribes

Although some may view the tribal traditions and technology of the early Native Americans as primitive or simplistic, a closer examination of these very things reveals that this is far from the truth. The tribes that populated modern day Arkansas had complex and sophisticated networks of communication, highly developed hunting and gathering techniques and intricate social conventions.

There were many tribes that played a part in the history of Arkansas, with the Cherokee, the Tunica, the Choctaw and Osage Native American tribes. Although these tribes periodically waged war on one another, in general they maintained functional relationships with one another.

Hunting and gathering traditions

When hunting and gathering food and resources, these tribes were endlessly resourceful and fascinatingly ritualistic. Before a hunt began, the warriors would often practice various different religious ceremonies and customs to appeal to the gods of the hunt, beseeching the deities to grant them favour and cunning. Once these rituals were completed, their hunt would commence.

Once the hunt began, the skill and craftsmanship of the Native American tribes would quickly come into play. Hunting primarily with bows and arrows in large groups, the warriors would go out and stealthily creep up on their quarry. Usually this quarry would be deer or rabbit, but at times it would extend to bear, elk and even turkey!

Dress and customs

The Native Americans of Arkansas had a rich variety of fascinating costumes, body and face markings and native dress. These elaborate and beautiful costumes and markings establish these tribes as some of the most complex and captivating people in history!

As part of their tradition, the Native Americans would often implement face paint, to assume a more frightening appearance and convey their state of being. When sad times stood before them, deep blue would be used to show the sorrow they wrestled with. To evoke peace and tranquility, a pure, bright white face paint would be in order. When death was at hand, their faces would be coated with black paint to reflect the somber reality of mortality. To show power and victory, red face paint would be applied to represent the blood of enemies, spilt on the battlefield.

Native American tribes also marked themselves with a primitive form of tattoo to represent their accomplishments, victories and defeats, and traditions. Using a sharp item like the bone of a fish or animal, warriors would pierce their skin rapidly in quick succession, and then proceed to rub charcoal into the pierced areas, leaving a permanent tattoo-like marking on their skin.

Concerning dress, Native American warriors would clothe themselves in elaborate trappings to show their prowess in war and their dignity in peace. Warriors would clothe themselves in animal skins that served both to protect them from weapons and shield them from the elements. Along with these practical garments, accomplished warriors would wear an eagle feather in their hair to mark themselves as a force to be reckoned with, as only a prestigious warrior was allowed to wear such a mark of prowess.

Religious practices

The Native Americans of modern day Arkansas held themselves to a polytheistic belief system, worshipping the spirits of the air, the land, the forest, the river and many other natural forces. There were also other deities that personified war, the hunt and other parts of everyday life.

Before any momentous occasion, the shamans would appeal to the gods for favour with this upcoming occasion. The shamans would adorn themselves with feathers, animal claws and rattlesnake fangs. Chanting and dancing around the fire, the shamans would entreat the spirits before the warriors of the tribe went out to wage war or hunt for their tribe.

Museum of Native American history in Bentonville AR

If you’d like to know more about the history and customs of these fascinating people, you can find a great deal of information on their culture and ways. With dozens of fascinating exhibits that showcase Native American craftsmanship and tradition. Entrance is inexpensive, with a discount for families with kids!

But Native American history is only one of the many things that makes Bentonville AR special. There are also a host of other things to do in Bentonville that will keep you busy for days. From arts and culture to research and development, Bentonville has plenty that will hold your interest if you take up residence here. Add to that the ready availability of jobs, the low cost of living and negligible median home price and you’ve got all the makings of a great place to put down roots!

If you’d like to find out more about the history of the Native Americans in what is now Arkansas, a great place to do that is Bentonville AR. Bentonville is situated in an area steeped in Native American history, and anyone who wants to learn more about these noble people can do just that by moving to Bentonville Arkansas. If this is the case with you, you’ll need to find top ranked  realtors in Bentonville AR. With this step down, you’ll be well on your way to moving to this beautiful historical area. Once you’ve taken up residence in Bentonville, you’ll be able to explore the history of the Native Americans to your heart’s content!