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Technology By Monica Gray -

Native American Inventions Commonly Used Today

Raised-Bed Agriculture

Modern vegetable production today uses a technique called raised-bed farming. But this invention dates back to the Native people in Central and South America. They invented a technique to enrich soil and pile it to build garden plots. They referred to these plots as chinampas. In addition to this type of agriculture, they were well-versed in the land. An interview on Mother Earth News with a Mogen anthropologist revealed, “Native American gardens were fine-tuned to their local micro-climate…Native peoples maintained a wide selection of plants because they often moved around, so what may have worked well in North Carolina among the Cherokee may not have been successful on the Great Plains. The Pawnee of the Midwest, for example, maintained four sacred corn varieties, of which their white-flour corn, called “Mother Corn,” was the most highly venerated. If one failed, they had others they could rely on.” Their small-scale farming made the land richer than we could ever hope of achieving in modern times (Mother Earth News).

Native American Inventions Commonly Used Today
Sky Above Us


We’re not talking about lying under the sun in the hopes of roasting your skin. The Native Americans developed tanning methods for leather, which people still use today. They typically used fatty animal tissues like the brain, liver, and fat to tan the hides. Sometimes, they even kept the fur for decorative purposes. They would even go so far as to soak the skin in a solution of the animal’s brain, and then roast the skin over a fire (Sky Above Us).

Native American Inventions Commonly Used Today
Native Languages


Those small, narrow boats you take out onto lakes and rivers are all thanks to the Native Americans, who developed the original concept. But they used natural materials like whalebone and wood. They then concealed the opening with animal hides. Even though we use manmade materials now, the design is more or less the same. Different tribes could recognize each other based on the profile of their canoes. They divided the canoes into three categories, bark canoes, plank canoes, and dugout canoes. The Native Americans also used round-shaped bull boats to transport goods by the river and were more typically used by women (Native Languages).

Native American Inventions Commonly Used Today
Underneath the Mango Tree


Camping has never been easier, all thanks to hammocks. Why sleep on the ground when you can gently float between two supportive trees? The Native Americans had the same thought, which is why they invented the hammock. Native Americans typically wove them from the hammock tree, hence the name “hammock.” Christopher Colombus arrived in the Caribbean, only to find the Natives resting on bes made of cotton netting, suspended between two trees. This inspired European sailors to use them as beds on ships (Underneath the Mango Tree).