Survival Skills and Techniques Used by Native Americans TribesFor thousands of years, Native Americans survived in the wild using simple techniques based on the material they could find. Many of these Native American survival skills have been passed down through the generations and can be used by anyone who finds themselves needing to survive in the wilderness.

Create a Teepee

Not every Native American tribe used teepees, but the ones who did were mostly the nomadic people of the plains where they had little in the way of wood or cover from the weather. Traditional teepees were made from long wooden poles and animal skins, but you can make one that uses blankets, jackets, tarps, and other materials along with a few poles. A teepee when properly set up provides excellent shelter and warmth so you can survive longer.

Deadfall Trap

A trap so simple that it has been the subject of cartoons for decades, the deadfall trap is a device used by Native Americans to catch small game without the use of a weapon. Set up a large rock or heavy object with a stick that just barely holds it in place. Underneath, place some bait to lure an animal into the trap. Once the trap is sprung, you will have a meal waiting for you.

Reading the Weather

Native Americans became quite skilled at reading the weather to know if storms or cold weather was coming so they could prepare. When animals like deer do not follow their normal paths, birds flew in different patterns or directions, and the appearance of thin clouds that signal a coming front, by picking up on a few of these signs, you can tell when a change in the weather is coming.

Silent Walking

Sometimes called “fox walking”, this is a survival skill that uses silence to your benefit. This is a technique that lets you walk virtually silently through the woods using a specific method. To “walk like a fox” lets you escape pursuers, but it was mostly used to sneak up on prey. You will need to wear flexible shoes, keep your knees bent, and press down flat with each foot to minimize the noise.

Starting a Fire

Of the many Native American survival techniques, the ability to start a fire using natural materials may save your life. While you can survive three weeks without food and three days without water, you can only survive about three hours without maintaining your core body temperature.

Native Americans used several different techniques in starting fires with the famous bow drill being one of the most practical. In addition, they used natural pyrite or “fire rocks” to create sparks that started a fire.

In this Native American survival guide, you have seen several simple, easy-to-use methods of staying alive when out in the wilderness. Before you go out into the woods or open country, be sure to arm yourself with these simple survival skills along with carrying communication devices so you can get help quickly in case you need it.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.