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The Ohlone Way

Essay by   •  January 6, 2013  •  Essay  •  936 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,618 Views

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The Ohlone Way

The Ohlone Way, by Malcolm Margolin, is the history of the Native Americans that once inhabited almost the entire Pacific coastline of North America. The book mostly focused on the Indians that surrounded the San Francisco Bay. The two main focuses of the book are the wildlife and the traditions of the Natives. The wildlife is described as being so abundant and so in touch with humans, that rabbits were often caught with bare hands. The waterfowl was so plentiful that the Natives would hunt them with nets and catch over ten ducks with one small net. The other focus was of the Native's Traditions, which were also very interesting. For example, before a man goes hunting for deer, which was the animal that was viewed as the most spiritually powerful, he must fast for 2 days, intentionally make himself throw up the night before, and sit in a sweat-house for an entire day. The life of a Native American is very different from life today.

I think that The Ohlone Way is one of the most interesting books that I have ever read. It shows how life was when most of the world was untouched by humans. The idea that I could go up to a fox out in the wilderness and go up and pet it is unheard of in this day and time. Today the fox is a very elusive creature that is rarely seen now these days. This book can't really connect with me at all. My generation is one of the most technologically advanced generations in the history of the world. I don't have to go pick acorns or go stab a rabbit with a sharpened stick to feed my family. Sustenance farming is no longer something for most of the world, even for many third-world countries. The only thing that I can relate to is trading. Trading is used today, but mostly we pay for things with money, which we earn with some type of labor. Otherwise, almost everything that is described in The Ohlone Way there is a lack thereof.

Margolin's overall idea of the Natives is that they were mostly peaceful people that were thankful for what they had and made the best with what was available. Margolin repeatedly proved the Ohlone's hospitality with such things as a person marrying a person from another tribe or the politeness of traders. Whenever the Natives traded they would first come barring gifts to each other, before they even traded

anything (72). That's like going to the store and giving the cashier a gallon of milk before you purchase anything, and then when you checkout you pay them. In today's world it is a lot harder to get buy so traditions like that have been cut from are everyday lives. Ohlone's never missed a chance to get any extras out of anything, from the food that they ate, to the tools that they made. For example, the Ohlone's would shoot a buffalo, eat all the meat, trade the horns, use the skin as a blanket or clothing, make tools out of bones, and dry the intestine and

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