I have a pair of Southern Swamp-style moccasins which I made from scratch out of a piece of Elk hide I bought from a trader at a pow wow. They are soft and flexible, and are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn.
I also have a pair of 'dress shoes'. They're made of leather too (probably cow hide), but they are stiff with even stiffer, hard soles. They are not particularly comfortable, and I don't wear them any longer than I have to.
These shoes say a lot about the Indian's world vs. the White man's world.
The moccasins protect the feet, but still allow the wearer to feel the ground as he walks. The hard shoes completely insulate the wearer from the ground.
Being close to the Earth is fundemental to the Indian's way of life. The Earth is the Creator's gift to man. To be close to the Earth is to be close to the Creator. There are hardships in this world Creator has given us. We must have strength to get through them, whether they be physical or spiritual hardships. We get this strength from Creator as well as from the world around us, and our families, clans, etc.
Our Cherokee ancestors recognized man as a spiritual being. But they also saw Creator's hand in the world all around them. They didn't try to separate the physical from the spiritual. The very idea would have been absurd.
The whole recent history of the White man's world on the other hand, hinges largely on isolating themselves from the natural world. The physical world to them is something to be 'tamed' or 'conquered'. From the start of the Industrial Revolution to today's technology breakthroughs, it's all about making life easy, predictable, and controlled.
Most people would see the folly of trying to sweep the sand from the beach. A beach is sand. Oddly, few in the White man's world seem to see the folly of trying to separate themselves from the world around them. They don't see the absurdity of trying to improve Creator's gift by tearing it apart and using the materials to isolate themselves from the rest of it!
Besides missing out on Creator God's blessing, insulating one's self from creation has another effect. When our muscles are not used, they become weak. Similarly, when we are sheltered from creation's physical challenges our whole bodies become weak.
Early American settlers and military men who came in contact with Indians repeatedly commented on the natives' health and physical fitness. They often regarded the physical stamina of Indian message runners, for example, to be on the border of supernatural. It doesn't seem to have occurred to many of them that any non-debilitated adult or older child should be able to run nonstop all day long!
Even though the whites of those days did quite a bit of manual farm labor (and were certainly much more fit than most Americans today), they generally traveled long distances by horse, or even rode wagons or trains.
Our Indian ancestors, who tread lightly on mother Earth with their soft moccasins and close-to-earth lifeways, walking more often than not, were inherently healthy, strong people.
Today's average American who continually damages the Earth with his hard soles, asphalt, cars, air conditioning, and disposable everything, is unhealthy, unhappy, and weak in comparison.
If our artificial world could last, it might not matter too much (except that we miss out on so much Creator intended for us). But the fact is it can't last.
Whether you go by scientific prediction, Biblical prophecy, Native American prophecy, or just common sense, it's easy to see the current state of affairs can't last.
We are using energy faster than it can be replenished, we're turning farmland and forest into shopping malls and housing developments, we're dumping toxic waste into the air and water, and our economy is no better. We're not living in a house of cards. We're living in a high-rise condo of cards!
Folks, we need to get back to basics. How many of us could function if the electricity went out long-term? How many of us can eat, once fuel supplies are disrupted and the trucks can't deliver to the local grocery store? For that matter, if we can't drive to work, how do we get money to buy those groceries anyway?
People died in the disruptions after hurricane Katrina. It was easy to blame the government, but the reality is we are each responsible for our own well being.
My own parents grew up in southern Georgia without electricity. Throughout most of the world's history, people lived their entire lives without electricity, the internal combustion engine, or even runnng water. Losing any of these things should be nothing more than an inconvenience to us now.
I don't wear my moccasins around town. The concrete and asphalt would chew them up in no time. Similarly, we can't expect to fully practice the ways our ancestors followed before the whites arrived. We've already seen what would happen.
What we can do is spend time in the REAL WORLD of God's creation. If you can plant a garden, consider growing some of your own food. Learn how to make a fire. Learn how to cook on it.
Get accustomed to walking, running, or bicycle riding. Get accustomed to just being in the real world. Sweat. Get dirty. You'll wash off.
Some of our clans are very spread out Geographically. Find out who has bicycles, horses, etc., that can be used when gasoline is unavailable or unaffordable.
While it's a virtual certainty it will happen, the big crash may not happen in a year, a decade, or even our lifetime. It doesn't matter though. Your own area could have a natural disaster days from now that would cut you off from electricity, fuel, and food. (Remember Hurricane Katrina, or the Nashville flood). How would you fare?