Native American Ministries
Over the years there have been many stereotypes portrayed about Native Americans. As a young boy, even though I was born in a Native American family, the cowboy and Indian movies along with other stereotypes colored my thinking of what Native American were like. Native Americans have always been portrayed as not having a high IQ, or just being plain dumb. In this section we will highlight some of the accomplishments of the Native population from past years. More items will be added to this list in the future.
Rubber Products: Native Americans made rubber products as early as 1700 BC. The Olmec and later the Maya would collect the sap from rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) to produce many rubber products. They also understood the process of vulcanization used in waterproofing such items as capes, shoes, bottles, tarpaulins, ponchos, baskets, and also used in making rubber balls. A rubber ball has been found at the Olmec site of La Venta dated to 1000 B.C. This process would not be discover by the European counterparts until Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanization and patented it in 1844. The Olmec became so identified with rubber that they became known as the "Rubber People". For more information see Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World by Emory Dean Keoke and Kay Marie Porterfield, under the heading Latex.
Freeze-Drying: As early as AD 1000 Native Americans were using the process of freeze-drying. It is basically the same process that is used today in making such foods as instant mashed potatoes. By freeze-drying the shelf life of the product could be extended into years instead of weeks. Although the Inca used this technique on a number of vegetables it was used mostly to preserve their surplus potatoes. For more information see Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World by Emory Dean Keoke and Kay Marie Porterfield under freeze-drying.