All posts by Paul T. Lotierzo

Rituals, Cultural Values, and Beads in Native American Society

Beads and bead bracelets today do not have much cultural value in our society. Beads and bead bracelets are frequently used by children at birthday parties, during arts and crafts at school, or simply as entertainment. Gold and silver beads and bead bracelets have commercial or sentimental value but nothing beyond that. However throughout history beads and bead bracelets had a great deal of cultural value. Native Americans used beads in religious and spiritual ways. Beads and bead bracelets were a fundamental part of Native American daily life.

Sometimes bead bracelets were used to record treaties, sacred ceremonies, and songs. Beads were a tool for record keeping and dissemination of information and traditions. Native Americans did not write books but they did tell narratives through their beads and bead bracelets. Tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy used fresh water clam shells for their wampum chains that were also considered a form of currency. The idea of bead bracelets as currency was a European construct. Native Americans did not have money in the European sense. Beads were commonly traded and exchanged for other goods or services but this was more of a ritual than a monetary transaction.

The majority of Native American people considered the process of making beads and bead bracelets sacred. Native Americans had a fundamental connection with the Earth, nature, and wildlife. They made beads and bead bracelets out of seeds, wood, shells, animal teeth, bones, claws, and horns. Native people had amazing respect for the flora and fauna that surrounded them. It was considered an honor and a privilege to work with the natural elements of the world for their own purposes.

Archaeologists believe that beads are a sign of the complex nature of Native American culture and society. Because beads are not tools their use and construction indicates that Native American tribes had enough food, resources, and shelter to allocate labor for decorative and ornamental purposes. Division of labor is a keystone of an advanced culture. Europeans easily dismissed Native Americans as backward and inferior people. However this assessment was made under dubious pretenses. Europeans needed a reason to subjugate Native Americans and occupy their land. Explorers and settlers informed people back home that the Natives were uncultured and needed saving.

But archaeologists and anthropologists today recognize that the use of beads and bead bracelets in Native American culture meant they had a complex societal structure. Beads epitomized Native American values and principles. Their spirituality was instilled throughout the bead-making process. Beads and bead bracelets occupied a unique place in Native American society. Beads can be a reminder that there was a time when people had a greater appreciation for life and the natural world.

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People Are Most Concerned With Their Online Reputation

Reputation management is not something that just politicians worry about. Everyone conducts some form of reputation management to create and project an ideal image of themselves onto others. Whether they are conscious of it or not people are constantly doing and saying things to improve or maintain their reputation. Reputation management has become more essential with the advent of the internet and social networking websites. Facebook quickly became a mainstay of 21st century society and changed the way we think about reputation management. Online reputation is a real concern for most people because the line between public and private life is fading.

An individual’s online reputation can make or break both their personal life and professional life. Incriminating photos and videos can be posted on the internet and remain their forever. Certain social networking websites have protocol for identifying and removing inappropriate or harmful content. But it only takes a couple of people to point, click, save, and share an incriminating photo of someone with literally the entire world. Teachers have been forced to resign from their jobs because they failed at reputation management and were caught with inappropriate photos of themselves online.

The heightened awareness surrounding online reputation and reputation management has led to the rise of new professions and businesses. People are so concerned about their online reputation that they are willing to pay money for reputation management services. Public relations agencies are handling more and more online reputation concerns. People and companies both want to make sure that they have a positive image and online reputation. The reputation management and online reputation industry has blown up over the past decade.

There is no way to reverse this trend. Social and business interactions are done more and more often online. Technology such as smartphones have have increased our on-the-go access to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Corporations and advertisers and can reach their target audience directly any place in the world at any time of the day or night. The desire for reputation management services and a positive online reputation is a result of our shrinking and more globalized world. It is a world where what you say and what you do can be engraved somewhere on the internet forever.

There are a lot of reputation management companies out there that offer the same basic services to their clients. They monitor, create, and edit online media to ensure their client’s online reputation is safe. This service is definitely useful to anyone who is concerned with their online reputation. Social networking websites can be an awesome tool for divulging information and conducting business. The ascendancy of reputation management companies is the natural result of a world populated with people who are obsessed with their online reputation.

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Beads, Bead Bracelets, And The Rave Scene

When I was young beads and bead bracelets were toys for kids. I recall my young friends and cousins playing with beads and making bead bracelets at birthday parties and at school. Personally I was never into beads and bead bracelets. As I grew older beads and bead bracelets became less and less prevalent. They disappeared from my life for a while but emerged surprisingly not too long ago.

I started listening to new music and hanging out with a unique crowd in college. I became an ardent fan of electronic, glitch, and trip-hop music. My friends introduced me to the rave scene and to a phenomena called “rave kandy.” Kandy is bead bracelets constructed with crazy colored and glow-in-the-dark beads. Every raver at the raves and shows I went to was wearing these bead bracelets. I was surprised when I learned that most ravers made their bead bracelets themselves. Beads and bead bracelets are a signature of the rave world.

A few hours before a rave my friends would bust out huge bowls of neon beads and string. They would each create a rave persona for the night and design their bead bracelet or “rave kandy” accordingly. These beads were not the same beads I was used to as a child. These rave beads were a variety of sizes, wild colors, and they glowed in the dark. I think the main reason I got excited about these bead bracelets was because they glow in the dark. Lights are fundamental to a rave so it is no wonder that glow-in-the-dark beads and bead bracelets would be popular among ravers.

Sometimes the term “rave kandy” can be deceiving. A friend of mine used to keep a bowl of beads out on his kitchen table the way some people leave literature out on a coffee table. I brought an acquaintance with me to visit this friend and when she heard “bowl of rave kandy” she attempted to eat the beads. She was not the most intelligent girl I have ever met but I cannot blame her entirely because the beads did resemble real candy. Be aware next time you are at a rave not to eat the “kandy.”

The beads and bead bracelets that ravers use to create “rave kandy” can be fun for kids as well. I showed my young cousins glow-in-the-dark beads and made neon bead bracelets with them. They were more crazy about these beads than any of my friends were excited over regular beads when we were kids. I never expected that beads and bead bracelets would come back into my life in college. Even more surprising was that bead bracelets were more exciting when I was a college student than when I was a child.

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Beads: How They Are Made and What They Are Made From

People have been using beads for thousands of years. Beads and bead bracelets were used for rituals, ceremonies, and as everyday jewelry and decor. Ancient people throughout time from the Egyptians to the Native American Indians made beads and bead bracelets. The materials used to make beads has changed throughout history. The techniques used to make beads has also changed with time.

Ceramics were some of the first materials used to make beads. Pottery and glass-making are ancienthuman activities that have persisted through human history and continue to this day. However in antiquity beads and bead bracelets made from ceramics were for chieftains. The common person in antiquity had access to ceramic materials but they were concerned with making bowls, pots, and jugs. Only the rich could afford to purchase or make ceramics for jewelry and decorative purposes.

Common tribesmen and laymen in antiquity made beads and bead bracelets out of elements found ready in nature. Common materials used for beads and bead bracelets were bone, coral, horn, ivory, seeds, animal shells, and wood. Most of these materials were excess products from the hunt or harvest anyway and jewelry was a good way to put them to use. Ancient civilizations also used alloys such as bronze and brass to make beads and bead bracelets. But bronze and brass were less common because a lot of work is required to make and shape the alloys.

Today beads and bead bracelets are typically made from plastics and different types of glass. Modern technology has led to the mass-production of all kinds of beads and bead bracelets. Arts and crafts retailers stock beads of all different sizes, shapes, and colors. There are probably more beads in the world today than can ever be bought. Beads and bead bracelets are so bountiful today that they are no longer specifically for rituals, ceremonies, and special occasions. When beads and bead bracelets required human labor to produce they were considered unique. Now beads and bead bracelets are used for common events like birthday parties, arts and crafts at school, or simply to keep children occupied.

The ingredients that modern beads and bead bracelets are made with are usually synthetic. Synthetic means they are man-made and will last a very long time. Plastic and pressed glass will not rot like the organic materials that ancient peoples used to make beads and bead bracelets out of. Plastic is more tenacious than glass and will last next to forever. Archaeologists in the future will be digging up green, blue, neon, and glow-in-the-dark beads and bead bracelets and using them to help tell the story of how contemporary people lived.

Is there anything more you would like to learn concerning beads or bead bracelets? Come to to check out great, American made products that are fully compatible with all major bead bracelet brands!. Check here for free reprint license: Beads: How They Are Made and What They Are Made From.