American Museum of Natural History is situated in New York. USA President, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., was one of the founders of the museum. In 1874, the cornerstone of the museum was laid. It expanded over the years and is now consisted of 26 interconnected buildings. Besides a library and a planetarium, there are 45 permanent exhibition halls.
This research has been done on Northwest Coast and Cuba. Different group of people live in each of this region with different practices, rituals etc. The rich culture and heritage of this places are so enriching that it drew me towards it.
Due to ongoing pandemic, Covid 19, virtual field work had to be conducted and all the information has been taken from the website of American Museum of Natural history. The website was accessed every day from 15th April to 21st April in order to gather the information.
1. Northwest Coast Hall:
Northwest Coast refers to the North American coast which extends from South of Alaska to Canada Washington. with unique islands, rivers and forests this land is home to millions of people.
Coast Salish is a prominent territory of North West Coast with Many distinct groups of people with unique name for each of the groups. In Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, a local dance group performs a special form of dance “Coastal Wolf pack” which is actually in reference to the diversified groups of the region. A special kind of basket is found, which was woven by the women of Coast Salish around 1900s. They not only used it for their own but also used to sell it to the tourist. All along the Northwest Coast, catching of the first salmon of the spring is celebrated. Rituals are carried out and people eat salmon. Traditional rituals might vary from one place to another but this ritual is carried out at almost every beach throughout the whole Northwest coast. It is a very popular culture of the place.
Haida Gwaii is another culturally important place of Northwest Coast. It means ‘Island of the people’ and is the ancestral home of Haida people. Around 100 years ago, Haida had a territorial conflict with open of its neighbours, Heiltsuk nation. But later peace was made. in 2014, the treaty was reaffirmed and was celebrated by the residence of both places as they decided to oppose the threat from corporate organizations on the water bodies shared between them.
A lot of religious traditions exist in Cuba together, which has been made possible through constitutional changes made in 1976 on specially in 1992. Churches as well as temples coexist together and even has strong ties between them as well as with USA and other countries. Afro Cuban religion is one of the popular religions in Cuba. Takes its inspiration from Orisha religion and has it roads in West Africa in terms of spiritual practice. The ceremonies of this religion do not take place in a Church or a temple, rather these are being held at the home of the people. On special occasions, a throne is made with clothes suitable for the king and queen to call Yemaya, deity of saltwater and Oshun, deity of “sweet waters”, who are believed to have given birth to the civilization. batá drums is a type of music which is being used by the people of this religion to communicate with the deities.
Tobacco in Cuba:
When Spanish explored Cuba first in 1492, they not only praised the nature of the place, but also had firebrand of weeds with excellent fragrance of smoke. Slowly the tobacco became very popular among the Spanish colonists and the its demand started to grow heavily. The first cigar factory of Cuba was opened in 1800s and is still a profitable crop exported to various parts of the world. Exacting method is being used to grow tobacco which is passed on over generations. Professional rollers called torcedores handcraft around 100 million premium cigars every year in Cuba. Leaves from different variety of tobacco is combined for that purpose. Siddhartha sorted by colour, it is checked if there is any flaw and then is boxed up to be sold.
I learned a lot of things from this research. The culture of northwest post is very distinct and I got some glimpses of it through the culture of Coast Salish and Haida. Equally, the culture and religion of Cuba is also very unique. I also got to know about the world famous Havana cigars.