Top survival skills from the Native Americans

Before the Europeans landed on and colonized North America, the Native Americans thrived there for hundreds of years.

The reason why is simple: the Native Americans were masters of survival who were successfully able to use the resources provided to them by nature to their advantage.

Many of the survival skills the Native Americans used we can continue to use today in any survival or disaster situations that we find ourselves in.

Here are the top four survival skills from the Native Americans:

They knew how to improvise

The Native Americans understood this concept very well. They understood that nature is the source of abundance and that it has everything we need to survive.

Today, we are largely dependent on survival gear and equipment and manufactured goods to get us through survival situations.

For example, we rely on tarps or tents for making shelter, lighters or matches for starting fires, rope and Paracord, and so on.

But the Native Americans were not this way. Rather, they could use the natural resources provided to them to build anything.

They were masters of improvisation. If they needed a knife, they didn’t go and buy one from a store like we do. They made one! If they needed to build a shelter, they killed enough wild game until they had the skins and the furs to build one.

If you ever find yourself in a survival situation in the future, you will have to learn how to improvise and make do with what you have like the Native Americans did. They saw a use for everything and they did not allow anything to go unnoticed.

You can apply this same concept to ordinary items around the house as well. For example, there is an abundance of survival uses for ordinary items like safety pins, paper clips, rope, shower curtains, trash bags, and so on.

They wasted nothing

Another key survival skill from the Native Americans is they did not allow anything to go to waste.

Today, if we shoot an animal for hunting, we’ll take the best meat and maybe the hide if we want to turn it into a carpet or a trophy. But we allow everything else to be wasted to scavengers.

The Native Americans never allowed this to happen. In fact, garbage dumps or anything similar was non-existent during the days when the Native Americans ruled the North American continent.

Again, the Native Americans knew how to improvise.

They would not allow the bones, the internal organs, or the bad meat of an animal to go to waste. They would turn the bones into tools and the internal organs into containers, and they would gladly eat the bad meat so it wouldn’t be thrown away.

You must apply the same concept to your own survival efforts. If and when you find yourself in a survival situation, carefully look at everything you have before you and think about how you can use it.

This could potentially mean the difference between life and death.

They used plants as medicine

The Native Americans didn’t have hospitals, medical clinics, or pharmacies. Rather, when someone became sick or sustained a bad injury, they would have to care for them with the resources they had.

The Native Americans subsequently figured out very quickly the medicinal value that numerous plants hold. When traversing an area, if they would medicinal plants or herbs they would gather as much of them as they could to take with them.

Thanks to the knowledge of the Native Americans, we continue to use many plants today that are based on plants and herbs.

Research all plants in your area and learn the medicinal value of those plants. Learn how to identify those plants on your own without a guide book and how to apply the plants safely.

They were extremely stealthy

Native Americans could move, hide, and hunt without being detected. They were masters of blending in and staying quiet. This didn’t just help them with hunting, it also gave them a huge tactical advantage over their many enemies.

In a disaster scenario especially, concealing yourself and staying hidden is something you must learn how to do. If your campsite is invaded by an armed and numerically superior force, for example, death or capture is virtually certain if you fight back.

You have to learn how to blend into your environment without alerting anyone nearby to your presence.

To this end, you have to do what the Native Americans did: you have to select clothing and packs that blend in with the terrain. You have to learn how to walk without making noise in the brush or stepping over sticks that break.

Doing so is what will save your life in any situation where not staying hidden is sure to bring about death.


nick-oetken is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival