Since this is purely a matter of opinion, I will offer mine.
American Indians had a fantastic way of selecting leadership – as opposed to power-hungry, overambitious individuals doing everything they could to gain influence, leadership was selected based on MERIT AND ABILITY! What a novel approach : )
Imagine a democratic society in which we elected our leaders from a pool of everyone, instead of just selecting the “least worst” from a small group that performed the necessary paperwork to be considered. Obama initially seemed like this was the type of thing he was going for with his Cabinet – selecting proven financial minds to advise on economics, proven educators to advise on education, etc. There are flaws with this approach, of course … but it was a nice sentiment (in my humble opinion).
Native Americans were very interested in nature as an entity, not as a resource to exploit. This is a fundamentally important perspective for those who want to live sustainably, and it is rare to find an American society with this mentality today. Many people think of trees, for example, as purely a product and means of making money. This paradigm is no longer suitable as the earths resources are increasingly in critical condition. If instead one looks at trees the way most Native Americans would have, we see the whole spectrum of life it supports and the importance of its presence in relation to all other living things, including humans.
Native tribes used only what they needed, instead of amounting superfluous goods that were unnecessary. When they made a kill, everything on the animals was used: hides, antlers, brains, hearts, hooves, etc. Nothing went to waste, because they understood that resources were finite and changing. When Europeans traveled America, they laid waste to bison herds and took only the valuable hides. Greed, not necessity, ruled. Presently, we have the same problems of taking more than we need in the forest, mining, and water industries. If we learn to limit our usage to what we need, we will enjoy the natural world longer.
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