Native Americans in the United States

Native Americans in the United States

Overview
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, parts of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, and the island state of Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes
Indian tribe
In the United States, a Native American tribe is any extant or historical tribe, band, nation, or other group or community of Indigenous peoples in the United States...

, states
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

, and ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s, many of which survive as intact political communities. The terms used to refer to Native Americans have been controversial
Native American name controversy
The Native American name controversy is a dispute about the acceptable terminology for the indigenous peoples of the Americas and broad subsets of these peoples, such as those sharing certain cultures and languages by which more discrete groups identify themselves .Many English exonyms have been...

. According to a 1995 US Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as American Indians or Indians, and this term has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups.

Since the end of the 15th century, the migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 of Europeans to the Americas, and their importation of Africans as slaves, has led to centuries of conflict and adjustment between Old
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 and New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 societies.
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Encyclopedia
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, parts of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, and the island state of Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes
Indian tribe
In the United States, a Native American tribe is any extant or historical tribe, band, nation, or other group or community of Indigenous peoples in the United States...

, states
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

, and ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s, many of which survive as intact political communities. The terms used to refer to Native Americans have been controversial
Native American name controversy
The Native American name controversy is a dispute about the acceptable terminology for the indigenous peoples of the Americas and broad subsets of these peoples, such as those sharing certain cultures and languages by which more discrete groups identify themselves .Many English exonyms have been...

. According to a 1995 US Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as American Indians or Indians, and this term has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups.

Since the end of the 15th century, the migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 of Europeans to the Americas, and their importation of Africans as slaves, has led to centuries of conflict and adjustment between Old
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 and New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 societies. Europeans created most of the early written historical record about Native Americans after the colonists' immigration to the Americas. Many Native Americans lived as hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 societies and told their histories by oral traditions. In many groups, women carried out sophisticated cultivation of numerous varieties of staple crops: maize, beans and squash. The indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the agrarian, proto-industrial, mostly Christian immigrants from western Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. Many Native cultures were matrilineal; the people occupied lands for use of the entire community, for hunting or agriculture. Europeans had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual property rights with respect to land that were extremely different.

The differences in culture between the established native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations of each culture through the centuries, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence and social disruption. The American Indians suffered high fatalities from the contact with infectious
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

 Eurasian diseases, to which they had no acquired immunity
Immunity (medical)
Immunity is a biological term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. Immunity involves both specific and non-specific components. The non-specific components act either as barriers or as eliminators of wide...

. Epidemics after European contact caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations. Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U.S. vary significantly, ranging from 1 million to 18 million.

After the colonies revolted against Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 and established the United States of America, President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 and Henry Knox
Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War....

 conceived of the idea of "civilizing" Native Americans in preparation for assimilation as United States citizens. Assimilation (whether voluntary as with the Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, or forced) became a consistent policy through American administrations. During the 19th century, the ideology of Manifest destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

 became integral to the American nationalist movement. Expansion of European-American populations to the west after the American Revolution resulted in increasing pressure on Native American lands, warfare between the groups, and rising tensions. In 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act
Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830.The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the Five Civilized Tribes. In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in...

, authorizing the government to relocate most Native Americans of the Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 from their homelands east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to the West, to accommodate European-American expansion from the coastal United States. Government officials thought that by decreasing the conflict between the groups, they could help the Indians survive. American Indians have continued to live throughout the South. They have organized and been recognized as tribes since the late 20th century by several states and, in some cases, by the federal government.

The first European Americans to encounter the western tribes were generally fur traders and trappers. There were also Jesuit missionaries active in the Northern Tier. As United States expansion reached into the American West, settler and miner migrants came into increasing conflict with the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 tribes. These were complex nomadic cultures based on using horses and traveling seasonally to hunt bison
Bison
Members of the genus Bison are large, even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Two extant and four extinct species are recognized...

. They carried out strong resistance
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

 to United States incursions in the decades after the American Civil War, in a series of "Indian Wars
Indian Wars
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America before and after the American Revolutionary War. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who...

", which were frequent up until the 1890s. The coming of the transcontinental railroad increased pressures on the western tribes. Over time, the U.S. forced a series of treaties and land cessions by the tribes, and established reservations for them in many western states. U.S. agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but the reservation lands were often too poor and dry to support such uses.

Contemporary Native Americans have a unique relationship with the United States because they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands of Native Americans who have sovereignty or independence from the government of the United States. Since the late 1960s, American Indian activism has led to the building of cultural infrastructure and wider recognition: they have founded independent newspapers and online media; FNX, the first Native American television channel (2011), community schools, tribal colleges
Tribal colleges and universities
Tribal colleges and universities are a category of higher education, minority-serving institutions in the United States. The educational institutions are distinguished by being controlled and operated by Native American tribes; they have become part of American Indians' institution-building in...

, and tribal museums and language programs; Native American studies programs in major universities; and national and state museums. American Indian authors have been increasingly published; American Indians work as academics, policymakers, doctors and in a wide variety of occupations. Cultural activism has led to an expansion of efforts to teach and preserve indigenous languages for younger generations. Their societies and cultures flourish within a larger population of descendants of immigrants (both voluntary and involuntary): African, Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

, Middle Eastern, and European
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

 peoples. Since 1924, Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens were granted citizenship
Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act, was proposed by Representative Homer P. Snyder of New York and granted full U.S. citizenship to America's indigenous peoples, called "Indians" in this Act...

 by Congress.

Pre-Columbian




According to the still-debated theory of the Settlement of the Americas, migrations of humans from Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge
Land bridge
A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands...

 which formerly connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

. Falling sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

s created the Bering land bridge
Bering land bridge
The Bering land bridge was a land bridge roughly 1,000 miles wide at its greatest extent, which joined present-day Alaska and eastern Siberia at various times during the Pleistocene ice ages. Like most of Siberia and all of Manchuria, Beringia was not glaciated because snowfall was extremely light...

 that joined Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 to Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, which began about 60,000–25,000 years ago. The minimum time depth by which this migration had taken place is confirmed at 12,000 years ago, with the upper bound (or earliest period) remaining a matter of some unresolved contention. Three major migrations occurred, as traced by linguistic and genetic data; the early Paleoamericans soon spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes. The North American climate finally stabilized by 8000 BCE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

; climatic conditions were very similar to today's. This led to widespread migration, cultivation of crops, and subsequently a dramatic rise in population all over the Americas.

The big-game hunting culture, labeled as the Clovis culture
Clovis culture
The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture that first appears 11,500 RCYBP , at the end of the last glacial period, characterized by the manufacture of "Clovis points" and distinctive bone and ivory tools...

, is primarily identified with its production of fluted projectile
Projectile
A projectile is any object projected into space by the exertion of a force. Although a thrown baseball is technically a projectile too, the term more commonly refers to a weapon....

 points. The culture received its name from artifacts found near Clovis, New Mexico
Clovis, New Mexico
Clovis is the county seat of Curry County, New Mexico, United States. Its population was 32,667 at the 2000 census; according to 2010 Census Bureau estimates, the population had risen to 37,775....

; the first evidence of this tool complex was excavated in 1932. The Clovis culture ranged over much of North America and also appeared in South America. The culture is identified by the distinctive Clovis point
Clovis point
Clovis points are the characteristically-fluted projectile points associated with the North American Clovis culture. They date to the Paleoindian period around 13,500 years ago. Clovis fluted points are named after the city of Clovis, New Mexico, where examples were first found in 1929.At the right...

, a flaked flint spear-point with a notched flute, by which it was inserted into a shaft. Dating of Clovis materials has been by association with animal bones and by the use of carbon dating methods. Recent reexaminations of Clovis materials using improved carbon-dating methods produced results of 11,050 and 10,800 radiocarbon years B.P.
Before Present
Before Present years is a time scale used in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use AD 1950 as the origin of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon...

 (roughly 9100 to 8850 BCE).

Numerous Paleoindian cultures occupied North America, with some arrayed around the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 and Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 of the modern United States of America and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, as well as adjacent areas to the West and Southwest. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living on this continent since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories. Other tribes have stories that recount migrations across long tracts of land and a great river, believed to be the Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

. Genetic and linguistic data connect the indigenous people of this continent with ancient northeast Asians. Archeological and linguistic data has enabled scholars to discover some of the migrations within the Americas.

The Folsom Tradition
Folsom tradition
The Folsom Complex is a name given by archaeologists to a specific Paleo-Indian archaeological culture that occupied much of central North America...

 was characterized by use of Folsom point
Folsom point
Folsom points are a distinct form of chipped stone projectile points associated with the Folsom Tradition of North America. The style of toolmaking was named after Folsom, New Mexico where the first sample was found within the bone structure of a bison in 1927....

s as projectile tips, and activities known from kill sites, where slaughter and butchering of bison
Bison
Members of the genus Bison are large, even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Two extant and four extinct species are recognized...

 took place. Folsom tools were left behind between 9000 BCE and 8000 BCE.
The Na-Dené
Na-Dené languages
Na-Dene is a Native American language family which includes at least the Athabaskan languages, Eyak, and Tlingit languages. An inclusion of Haida is controversial....

people entered North America starting around 8000 BCE, reaching the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 by 5000 BCE, and from there migrating along the Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast
A country's Pacific coast is the part of its coast bordering the Pacific Ocean.-The Americas:Countries on the western side of the Americas have a Pacific coast as their western border.* Geography of Canada* Geography of Chile* Geography of Colombia...

 and into the interior. Linguists, anthropologists and archeologists believe their ancestors comprised a separate migration into North America, later than the first Paleo-Indians. They settled first around present-day Queen Charlotte Islands
Queen Charlotte Islands
Haida Gwaii , formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Haida Gwaii consists of two main islands: Graham Island in the north, and Moresby Island in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands with a total landmass of...

, British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, from where they migrated into Alaska and northern Canada, south along the Pacific Coast, and into the interior. They were the earliest ancestors of the Athabascan- speaking peoples, including the present-day and historical Navajo
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

 and Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

. They constructed large multi-family dwellings in their villages, which were used seasonally. People did not live there year round, but for the summer to hunt and fish, and to gather food supplies for the winter. The Oshara Tradition
Oshara Tradition
Oshara Tradition was a Southwestern Archaic Tradition centered in north-central New Mexico, the San Juan Basin, the Rio Grande Valley, southern Colorado, and southeastern Utah....

 people lived from 5500 BCE to 600 CE. The Southwestern Archaic Tradition was centered in north-central New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, the San Juan Basin
San Juan Basin
The San Juan Basin is a geologic structural basin in the Four Corners region of the Southwestern United States; its main portion covers around , encompassing much of northwestern New Mexico, southwest Colorado, and parts of Arizona and Utah....

, the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 Valley, southern Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, and southeastern Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

.

Since the 1990s, archeologists have explored and dated eleven Middle Archaic sites in present-day Louisiana and Florida at which early cultures built complexes with multiple earthwork mounds; surprisingly, they were societies of hunter-gatherers rather than the settled agriculturalists believed necessary to build such complex structures over long periods. The prime example is Watson Brake
Watson Brake
Watson Brake is an archaeological site in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana from the Archaic period. Dated to about 5400 years ago , Watson Brake is considered the earliest mound complex in North America. It is the earliest dated, complex construction in the Americas...

 in northern Louisiana, whose 11-mound complex is dated to 3500 BCE, making it the oldest, dated site in the Americas for such complex construction. It is nearly 2,000 years older than the Poverty Point
Poverty Point
Poverty Point is a prehistoric earthworks of the Poverty Point culture, now a historic monument located in the Southern United States. It is from the current Mississippi River, and situated on the edge of Maçon Ridge, near the village of Epps in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.Poverty Point...

 site. Construction of the mounds went on for 500 years and the site was abandoned about 2800 BCE, likely due to changing environmental conditions.

The Poverty Point culture
Poverty Point culture
Poverty Point culture is an archaeological culture that corresponds to an ancient group of Indigenous peoples who inhabited the area of the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf coast from about 2200 BCE - 700 BCE...

 is an archaeological culture
Archaeological culture
An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place, which are thought to constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and...

 whose people inhabited the area of the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf Coast. The culture thrived from 2200 BCE- 700 BCE, during the Late Archaic period. Evidence of this culture has been found at more than 100 sites, from the major complex at Poverty Point, Louisiana across a 100 miles (160.9 km) range to the Jaketown Site
Jaketown Site
Jaketown Site is an archaeological site with two prehistoric earthwork mounds in Humphreys County, Mississippi, United States. While the mounds have not been excavated, distinctive pottery sherds found in the area lead scholars to date the mounds' construction and use to the Mississippian culture...

 near Belzoni, Mississippi
Belzoni, Mississippi
Belzoni is a city in Humphreys County, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region, on the Yazoo River. The population was 2,663 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Humphreys County...

. Poverty Point is a square-mile complex of six major earthwork concentric rings, with additional platform mounds at the site. Artifacts show the people traded with other Native Americans located from Georgia to the Great Lakes region. This is one among numerous mound sites of complex indigenous cultures throughout the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. They were one of several succeeding cultures often described as mound builders
Mound builders
The group of cultures collectively called Mound Builders were prehistoric inhabitants of North America who constructed various styles of earthen mounds for religious and ceremonial, burial, and elite residential purposes...

.

The Woodland period
Woodland period
The Woodland period of North American pre-Columbian cultures was from roughly 1000 BCE to 1000 CE in the eastern part of North America. The term "Woodland Period" was introduced in the 1930s as a generic header for prehistoric sites falling between the Archaic hunter-gatherers and the...

 of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 cultures refers to the time period from roughly 1000 BCE to 1000 CE in the eastern part of North America. The term "Woodland" was coined in the 1930s and refers to prehistoric sites dated between the Archaic period and the Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

s. The Hopewell tradition is the term used to describe common aspects of the Native American culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and midwestern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 from 200 BCE to 500 CE.

The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 or society, but a widely dispersed set of related populations, who were connected by a common network of trade routes, known as the Hopewell Exchange System. At its greatest extent, the Hopewell exchange system ran from the Southeastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 into the southeastern Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 shores of Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

. Within this area, societies participated in a high degree of exchange; most activity was conducted along the waterways that served as their major transportation routes. The Hopewell exchange system traded materials from all over the United States.

Coles Creek culture
Coles Creek culture
Coles Creek culture is a Late Woodland archaeological culture in the Lower Mississippi valley in the southern United States. It followed the Troyville culture. The period marks a significant change in the cultural history of the area...

 is an archaeological culture
Archaeological culture
An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place, which are thought to constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and...

 from the Lower Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 valley in the southern present-day United States. The period marked a significant change in the cultural history of the area. Population increased dramatically. There is strong evidence of a growing cultural and political complexity, especially by the end of the Coles Creek sequence. Although many of the classic traits of chiefdom
Chiefdom
A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

 societies were not yet manifested, by 1000 CE the formation of simple elite
Elite
Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

 polities had begun. Coles Creek sites are found in Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. It is considered ancestral to the Plaquemine culture
Plaquemine culture
The Plaquemine culture was an archaeological culture in the lower Mississippi River Valley in western Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. Good examples of this culture are the Medora Site in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and the Anna, Emerald Mound, Winterville and Holly Bluff sites located...

.

Hohokam
Hohokam
Hohokam is one of the four major prehistoric archaeological Oasisamerica traditions of what is now the American Southwest. Many local residents put the accent on the first syllable . Variant spellings in current, official usage include Hobokam, Huhugam and Huhukam...

 is one of the four major prehistoric archaeological traditions of the present-day American Southwest. Living as simple farmers, they raised corn and beans. The early Hohokam founded a series of small villages along the middle Gila River
Gila River
The Gila River is a tributary of the Colorado River, 650 miles long, in the southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona.-Description:...

. The communities were located near good arable land, with dry farming common in the earlier years of this period. Wells
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...

, usually less than 10 feet (3 m) deep, were dug for domestic water supplies by 300 CE to 500 CE. Early Hohokam homes were constructed of branches bent in a semi-circular fashion and covered with twigs and reeds. The last layer was heavily applied mud and other materials at hand.

The Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

, which extended throughout the Ohio and Mississippi valleys and built sites throughout the Southeast, created the largest earthworks
Earthworks (archaeology)
In archaeology, earthwork is a general term to describe artificial changes in land level. Earthworks are often known colloquially as 'lumps and bumps'. Earthworks can themselves be archaeological features or they can show features beneath the surface...

 in North America north of Mexico, most notably at Cahokia
Cahokia
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the area of an ancient indigenous city located in the American Bottom floodplain, between East Saint Louis and Collinsville in south-western Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The site included 120 human-built earthwork mounds...

, on a tributary of the Mississippi River in present-day Illinois. Its 10-story Monks Mound has a larger circumference than the Pyramid of the Sun
Pyramid of the Sun
The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in Teotihuacan and one of the largest in Mesoamerica. Found along the Avenue of the Dead, in between the Pyramid of the Moon and the Ciudadela, and in the shadow of the massive mountain Cerro Gordo, the pyramid is part of a large complex in the heart...

 at Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

 or the Great Pyramid
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact...

 of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. The six-square-mile city complex was based on the culture's cosmology; it included more than 100 mounds, positioned to support their sophisticated knowledge of astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, and built with knowledge of varying soil types. It included a Woodhenge
Woodhenge
Woodhenge is a Neolithic Class I henge and timber circle monument located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site in Wiltshire, England. It is north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury.-Discovery:...

, whose sacred cedar
Thuja
Thuja is a genus of coniferous trees in the Cupressaceae . There are five species in the genus, two native to North America and three native to eastern Asia...

 poles were placed to mark the summer and winter solstices and fall and spring equinoxes. The society began building at this site about 950 CE, and reached its peak population in 1250 CE of 20,000–30,000 people, which was not equalled by any city in the present-day United States until after 1800. Cahokia was a major regional chiefdom
Chiefdom
A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

, with trade and tributary chiefdoms located in a range of areas from bordering the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 to the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. In the sixteenth century, the earliest Spanish explorers encountered Mississippian peoples in the interior of present-day North Carolina and the Southeast.

Sophisticated pre-Columbian sedentary societies evolved in North America, although they were not as technologically advanced as the Mesoamerican civilizations further south. The Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

 developed the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex
Southeastern Ceremonial Complex
The Southeastern Ceremonial Complex is the name given to the regional stylistic similarity of artifacts, iconography, ceremonies, and mythology of the Mississippian culture that coincided with their adoption of maize agriculture and chiefdom-level complex social organization from...

, the name which archeologists have given to the regional stylistic similarity of artifacts
Artifact (archaeology)
An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...

, iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

, ceremonies
Ceremony
A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin.-Ceremonial occasions:A ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a human life, marking the significance of, for example:* birth...

 and mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

. The rise of the complex culture was based on the people's adoption of maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 agriculture, development of greater population densities, and chiefdom
Chiefdom
A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

-level complex social organization from 1200 CE to 1650 CE. Contrary to popular belief, this development appears to have had no direct links to Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

. The peoples developed an independent, sophisticated and stratified society, after the cultivation of maize allowed the accumulation of crop surpluses to support a higher density of population. This is turn led to the development of specialized skills among some of the peoples. The Ceremonial Complex represents a major component of the religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 of the Mississippian peoples, and is one of the primary means by which their religion is understood.

The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois League of Nations
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 or "People of the Long House"), then based in present-day upstate and western New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, had a confederacy
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

 model from the mid-15th century. Some historians have suggested that it contributed to the political thinking during the development of the later United States government. Their system of affiliation was a kind of federation, different from the strong, centralized European monarchies. Leadership was restricted to a group of 50 sachem
Sachem
A sachem[p] or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms from different Eastern Algonquian languages...

 chief
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...

s, each representing one clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 within a tribe; the Oneida and Mohawk people had nine seats each; the Onondagas held fourteen; the Cayuga
Cayuga nation
The Cayuga people was one of the five original constituents of the Haudenosaunee , a confederacy of American Indians in New York. The Cayuga homeland lay in the Finger Lakes region along Cayuga Lake, between their league neighbors, the Onondaga to the east and the Seneca to the west...

 had ten seats; and the Seneca
Seneca nation
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...

 had eight. Representation was not based on population numbers, as the Seneca tribe greatly outnumbered the others. When a sachem chief died, his successor was chosen by the senior woman of his tribe in consultation with other female members of the clan; property and hereditary leadership were passed matrilineally
Matrilineality
Matrilineality is a system in which descent is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. Matrilineality is also a societal system in which one belongs to one's matriline or mother's lineage, which can involve the inheritance of property and/or titles.A matriline is a line of descent from a...

. Decisions were not made through voting but through consensus decision making, with each sachem chief holding theoretical veto power
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

. The Onondaga were the "firekeeper
Firekeeper
Firekeeper or flametender describes a specific ceremonial role, common in the religious practices of a variety of cultures. A firekeeper or flametender tends the sacred fire in the manner specific to the religious traditions of that culture.-Overview:...

s", responsible for raising topics to be discussed. They occupied one side of a three-sided fire (the Mohawk and Seneca sat on one side of the fire, the Oneida and Cayuga sat on the third side.) Elizabeth Tooker, an anthropologist, has said that it was unlikely the US founding fathers were inspired by the confederacy, as it bears little resemblance to the system of governance adopted in the United States. For example, it is based on inherited rather than elected leadership, selected by female members of the tribes, consensus decision-making regardless of population size of the tribes, and a single group capable of bringing matters before the legislative body.

Long-distance trading did not prevent warfare and displacement among the indigenous peoples, and their oral histories tell of numerous migrations to the historic territories where Europeans encountered them. The Iroquois invaded and attacked tribes in the Ohio River area of present-day Kentucky and claimed the hunting grounds. Historians have placed these events as occurring as early as the 13th century, or in the 17th century Beaver Wars
Beaver Wars
The Beaver Wars, also sometimes called the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars, commonly refers to a series of conflicts fought in the mid-17th century in eastern North America...

. Through warfare, the Iroquois drove several tribes to migrate west to what became known as their historically traditional lands west of the Mississippi River. Tribes originating in the Ohio Valley who moved west included the Osage
Osage Nation
The Osage Nation is a Native American Siouan-language tribe in the United States that originated in the Ohio River valley in present-day Kentucky. After years of war with invading Iroquois, the Osage migrated west of the Mississippi River to their historic lands in present-day Arkansas, Missouri,...

, Kaw, Ponca
Ponca
The Ponca are a Native American people of the Dhegihan branch of the Siouan-language group. There are two federally recognized Ponca tribes: the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma...

 and Omaha people. By the mid-17th century, they had resettled in their historical lands in present-day Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

, Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. The Osage warred with Caddo
Caddo
The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of several Southeastern Native American tribes, who traditionally inhabited much of what is now East Texas, northern Louisiana and portions of southern Arkansas and Oklahoma. Today the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is a cohesive tribe with its capital at Binger, Oklahoma...

-speaking Native Americans, displacing them in turn by the mid-18th century and dominating their new historical territories.

European exploration and colonization




After 1492, European
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

 exploration and colonization of the Americas revolutionized how the Old
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 and New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

s perceived themselves. One of the first major contacts, in what would be called the American Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

, occurred when the conquistador Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named...

 landed in La Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in April of 1513. Ponce de León was later followed by other Spanish explorers, such as Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez was a Spanish conqueror and soldier in the Americas. He is most remembered as the leader of two expeditions, one to Mexico in 1520 to oppose Hernán Cortés, and the disastrous Narváez expedition to Florida in 1527....

 in 1528 and Hernando de Soto in 1539. The subsequent European colonists in North America
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 often rationalized their expansion of empire with the assumption that they were saving a barbaric, pagan world by spreading Christian civilization.
In the Spanish colonization of the Americas
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

, the policy of Indian Reductions
Indian Reductions
Reductions were settlements founded by the Spanish colonizers of the New World with the purpose of assimilating indigenous populations into European culture and religion.Already since the beginning of the Spanish presence in the Americas, the Crown had been concerned...

 resulted in the forced conversions to Catholicism of the indigenous people
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 in northern Nueva España. They had long-established spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 and religious traditions
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and theological
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 beliefs. What developed during the colonial years and since has been a syncretic Catholicism that absorbed and reflected indigenous beliefs; the religion changed in New Spain.

Impact on native populations


From the 16th through the 19th centuries, the population of Native Americans declined in the following ways: epidemic diseases
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

 brought from Europe; genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 and warfare at the hands of European explorers and colonists, as well as between tribes; displacement from their lands; internal warfare
Endemic warfare
Endemic warfare is the state of continual, low-threshold warfare in a tribal warrior society. Endemic warfare is often highly ritualized and plays an important function in assisting the formation of a social structure among the tribes' men by proving themselves in battle.Ritual fighting permits...

, enslavement; and a high rate of intermarriage
Interracial marriage
Interracial marriage occurs when two people of differing racial groups marry. This is a form of exogamy and can be seen in the broader context of miscegenation .-Legality of interracial marriage:In the Western world certain jurisdictions have had regulations...

. Most mainstream scholars believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

 was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American natives because of their lack of immunity
Immunity (medical)
Immunity is a biological term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. Immunity involves both specific and non-specific components. The non-specific components act either as barriers or as eliminators of wide...

 to new diseases brought from Europe. With the rapid declines of some populations and continuing rivalries among their nations, Native Americans sometimes re-organized to form new cultural groups, such as the Seminoles of Florida in the eighteenth century and the Mission Indians
Mission Indians
Mission Indians is a term for many Native California tribes, primarily living in coastal plains, adjacent inland valleys and mountains, and on the Channel Islands in central and southern California, United States. The tribes had established comparatively peaceful cultures varying from 250 to 8,000...

 of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

.

Estimating the number of Native Americans living in what is today the United States of America before the arrival of the European explorers and settlers has been the subject of much debate. While it is difficult to determine exactly how many Natives lived in North America before Columbus, estimates range from a low of 2.1 million (Ubelaker
Douglas H. Ubelaker
Douglas H. Ubelaker is an American forensic anthropologist. He works as a curator for the Smithsonian Institution, and has published numerous papers and monographs that have helped establish modern procedures in forensic anthropology...

 1976) to 7 million people (Russell Thornton) to a high of 18 million (Dobyns 1983). A low estimate of around 1 million was first posited by the anthropologist James Mooney
James Mooney
James Mooney was an American ethnographer who lived for several years among the Cherokee. He did major studies of Southeastern Indians, as well as those on the Great Plains...

 in the 1890s, by calculating population density of each culture area based on its carrying capacity
Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment...

.
In 1965, the American anthropologist Henry Dobyns published studies estimating the original population to have been 10 to 12 million. By 1983, he increased his estimates to 18 million. He took into account the mortality rates caused by infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s of European
European American
A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

 explorers and settlers, against which Native Americans had no immunity. Dobyns combined the known mortality rates of these diseases among native people with reliable population records of the 19th century, to calculate the probable size of the original populations. By 1800, the Native population of the present-day United States had declined to approximately 600,000, and only 250,000 Native Americans remained in the 1890s.
Chicken pox and measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

, although by this time endemic
Endemic (epidemiology)
In epidemiology, an infection is said to be endemic in a population when that infection is maintained in the population without the need for external inputs. For example, chickenpox is endemic in the UK, but malaria is not...

 and rarely fatal among Europeans (long after being introduced from Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

), often proved deadly to Native Americans. Smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 proved particularly fatal to Native American populations. Epidemic
Epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

s often immediately followed European exploration and sometimes destroyed entire village populations. While precise figures are difficult to determine, some historians estimate that at least 30% (and sometimes 50% to 70%) of some Native populations
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

 died after first contact due to Eurasian smallpox. One element of the Columbian exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

 suggests explorers from the Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 expedition contracted syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

 from indigenous peoples and carried it back to Europe, where it spread widely. Other researchers believe that the disease existed in Europe and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 before Columbus and his men returned from exposure to indigenous peoples of the Americas, but that they brought back a more virulent form. (See Syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

.)

In 1618–1619, smallpox killed 90% of the Native Americans in the area of the Massachusetts Bay
Massachusetts Bay
The Massachusetts Bay, also called Mass Bay, is one of the largest bays of the Atlantic Ocean which forms the distinctive shape of the coastline of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Its waters extend 65 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts Bay includes the Boston Harbor, Dorchester Bay,...

. Historians believe many Mohawk in present-day New York became infected after contact with children of Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 traders in Albany
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

 in 1634. The disease swept through Mohawk villages, reaching the Onondaga at Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

 by 1636, and the lands of the western Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 by 1679, as it was carried by Mohawk and other Native Americans who traveled the trading routes. The high rate of fatalities caused breakdowns in Native American societies and disrupted generational exchanges of culture.

Between 1754 and 1763, many Native American tribes were involved in the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

/Seven Years War. Those involved in the fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 in the northern areas tended to ally with French forces against British colonial militias. Native Americans fought on both sides of the conflict. The greater number of tribes fought with the French in the hopes of checking British expansion. The British had made fewer allies, but it was joined by some tribes that wanted to prove assimilation and loyalty in support of treaties to preserve their territories. They were often disappointed when such treaties were later overturned. The tribes had their own purposes, using their alliances with the European powers to battle traditional Native enemies.

After European explorers reached the West Coast in the 1770s, smallpox rapidly killed at least 30% of Northwest Coast
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 Native Americans. For the next 80 to 100 years, smallpox and other diseases devastated native populations in the region. Puget Sound
Puget Sound
Puget Sound is a sound in the U.S. state of Washington. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and one minor connection to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean — Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and...

 area populations, once estimated as high as 37,000 people, were reduced to only 9,000 survivors by the time settlers arrived en masse in the mid-19th century. The e Spanish missions in California
Spanish missions in California
The Spanish missions in California comprise a series of religious and military outposts established by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order between 1769 and 1823 to spread the Christian faith among the local Native Americans. The missions represented the first major effort by Europeans to...

 did not significantly affect the population of Native Americans
Population of Native California
Estimates of the Native Californian population have varied substantially, both with respect to California's pre-contact count and for changes during subsequent periods. Pre-contact estimates range from 133,000 to 705,000 with some recent scholars concluding that these estimates are low...

, but the numbers of the latter decreased rapidly after California ceased to be a Spanish colony, especially during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th (see chart on the right).

Smallpox epidemics in 1780–1782
North American smallpox epidemic
The 1775–1782 North American smallpox epidemic was a smallpox epidemic that spread across most of the continent of North America. The epidemic coincided with the years of the American Revolutionary War , which was gripping much of the continent from the colonies, western frontiers, and southern...

 and 1837–1838
1837-38 smallpox epidemic
The smallpox epidemic that ravaged the people of the Great Plains in 1837 and 1838 was believed to have begun in spring of 1837 when a deckhand became ill aboard an American Fur Company steamboat, the S.S. St. Peter. The steamboat traveling up the Missouri River to Fort Union from St. Louis, docked...

 brought devastation and drastic depopulation among the Plains Indians
Plains Indians
The Plains Indians are the Indigenous peoples who live on the plains and rolling hills of the Great Plains of North America. Their colorful equestrian culture and resistance to White domination have made the Plains Indians an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.Plains...

. By 1832, the federal government established a smallpox vaccination
Smallpox vaccine
The smallpox vaccine was the first successful vaccine to be developed. The process of vaccination was discovered by Edward Jenner in 1796, who acted upon his observation that milkmaids who caught the cowpox virus did not catch smallpox...

 program for Native Americans (The Indian Vaccination Act of 1832). It was the first federal program created to address a health problem of Native Americans.

Animal introductions


With the meeting of two worlds, animals, insects, and plants were carried from one to the other, both deliberately and by chance, in what is called the Columbian Exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

. Sheep, pigs, and cattle were all Old World animals that were introduced to contemporary Native Americans who never knew such animals.

In the 16th century, Spaniards and other Europeans brought horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s to the Americas. The early American horse
Equus scotti
Equus scotti is an extinct species of Equus, the genus that includes the horse. E. scotti was native to North America and likely evolved from earlier, more zebra-like North American equids early in the Pleistocene Epoch...

 had been game for the earliest humans on the continent. It was hunted to extinction about 7000 BCE, just after the end of the last glacial period. Native Americans benefited by reintroduction of horses. As they adopted use of the animals, they began to change their cultures in substantial ways, especially by extending their nomadic ranges for hunting. Some of the horses escaped and began to breed and increase their numbers in the wild.

The reintroduction of the horse to North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 had a profound impact on Native American culture of the Great Plains. The tribes trained and used horses to ride and to carry packs or pull travois
Travois
A travois is a frame used by indigenous peoples, notably the Plains Indians of North America, to drag loads over land...

. The people fully incorporated the use of horses into their societies and expanded their territories. They used horses to carry goods for exchange with neighboring tribes, to hunt game
Game (food)
Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport.The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. This will be influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted view about what can or...

, especially bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

, and to conduct wars and horse raids.

King Philip's War


King Philip's War
King Philip's War
King Philip's War, sometimes called Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–76. The war is named after the main leader of the...

 sometimes called Metacom
Metacomet
Metacomet , also known as King Philip or Metacom, or occasionally Pometacom, was a war chief or sachem of the Wampanoag Indians and their leader in King Philip's War, a widespread Native American uprising against English colonists in New England.-Biography:Metacomet was the second son of Massasoit...

's War or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies from 1675–1676. It continued in northern New England (primarily on the Maine frontier) even after King Philip was killed, until a treaty was signed at Casco Bay in April 1678. According to a combined estimate of loss of life in Schultz and Tougias' "King Philip's War, The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict" (based on sources from the Department of Defense, the Bureau of Census, and the work of Colonial historian Francis Jennings), 800 out of 52,000 English colonists of New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 (1 out of every 65) and 3,000 out of 20,000 natives (3 out of every 20) lost their lives due to the war, which makes it proportionately one of the bloodiest and costliest in the history of America. More than half of New England's ninety towns were assaulted by Native American warriors. One in ten soldiers on both sides were wounded or killed.

The war is named after the main leader of the Native American side, Metacomet, Metacom, or Pometacom, known to the English as "King Philip." He was the last Massasoit (Great Leader) of the Pokanoket Tribe/Pokanoket Federation & Wampanoag Nation. Upon their loss to the Colonists and the attempted genocide of the Pokanoket Tribe and Royal Line, many managed to flee to the North to continue their fight against the British (Massachusetts Bay Colony) by joining with the Abanaki Tribes and Wabanaki Federation.

European enslavement


When Europeans arrived as colonists in North America, Native Americans changed their practice of slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 dramatically. They found that British settlers, especially those in the southern colonies, purchased or captured Native Americans to use as forced labor in cultivating tobacco, rice, and indigo. Native Americans began selling war captives to whites rather than integrating them into their own societies as they had done before. As the demand for labor in the West Indies grew with the cultivation of sugar cane, Europeans enslaved Native Americans for the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

 and some were exported to the "sugar islands." Accurate records of the numbers enslaved do not exist. Scholars estimate tens of thousands of Native Americans may have been enslaved by the Europeans.

As slavery became a racial caste, the Virginia General Assembly defined some terms in 1705:
The slave trade of Native Americans lasted only until around 1730, and it gave rise to a series of devastating wars among the tribes, including the Yamasee War
Yamasee War
The Yamasee War was a conflict between British settlers of colonial South Carolina and various Native American Indian tribes, including the Yamasee, Muscogee, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Catawba, Apalachee, Apalachicola, Yuchi, Savannah River Shawnee, Congaree, Waxhaw, Pee Dee, Cape Fear, Cheraw, and...

. The Indian wars of the early 18th century, combined with the increasing importation of African slaves, effectively ended the Native American slave trade by 1750. Colonists found it too easy for Native American slaves to escape, and the wars took the lives of numerous colonial slave traders. The remaining Native American groups banded together to face the Europeans from a position of strength. Many surviving Native American peoples of the southeast joined confederacies such as the Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, the Creek, and the Catawba
Catawba (tribe)
The Catawba are a federally recognized tribe of Native Americans, known as the Catawba Indian Nation. They live in the Southeast United States, along the border between North and South Carolina near the city of Rock Hill...

 for protection.

Native American women were at risk for rape whether they were enslaved or not; many southern communities had a disproportionate number of men in the early colonial years and they turned to Native women for sexual relationships. Both Native American and African enslaved women suffered rape and sexual harassment by male slaveholders and other white men.

Traditions of Native American slavery


The majority of Native American tribes did practice some form of slavery before the European introduction of African slavery into North America, but none exploited slave labor on a large scale. In addition, Native Americans did not buy and sell captives in the pre-colonial era, although they sometimes exchanged enslaved individuals with other tribes in peace gestures or in exchange for their own members.

The conditions of enslaved Native Americans varied among the tribes. In many cases, young enslaved captives were adopted into the tribes to replace warriors killed during warfare or by disease. Other tribes practiced debt slavery or imposed slavery on tribal members who had committed crimes; but, this status was only temporary as the enslaved worked off their obligations to the tribal society.

Among some Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 tribes, about a quarter of the population were slaves. Other slave-owning tribes of North America were, for example, Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

 of Texas, Creek
Creek people
The Muscogee , also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people traditionally from the southeastern United States. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. The modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida...

 of Georgia, the Pawnee, and Klamath.

Native American adoption of African slavery


Native Americans resisted Anglo-American encroachment on their lands and maintained traditional cultural ways. Native Americans interacted with enslaved Africans and African Americans on many levels. Over time all the cultures interracted. Native Americans began slowly to adopt white culture. Native Americans shared some experiences with Africans, especially during the period, primarily in the 17th century, when both were enslaved. The colonists along the Atlantic Coast had begun enslaving American Indians to ensure a source of labor. At one time the slave trade was so extensive that it caused increasing tensions with various Algonquian
Algonquian peoples
The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds. Today hundreds of thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples...

 tribes, as well as the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

, who threatened to attack colonists on behalf of the Tuscarora before they migrated out of the South.

In the 1790s, Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins was an American planter, statesman, and United States Indian agent . He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a United States Senator from North Carolina, having grown up among the planter elite...

 was assigned as the US agent to the southeastern tribes; he advised the tribes to take up slaveholding to aid them in European-style farming and plantations. He thought their traditional form of slavery, which had looser conditions, was less efficient than chattel slavery. The Five Civilized Tribes had a tradition of slaves captured in warfare, and in the nineteenth century, they acquired African-American slaves for workers as well. They adopted some European-American ways to benefit their people. Among the slave-owning families of the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, 78% were said to have some white ancestry.

The writer William Loren Katz contends that Native Americans treated their slaves better than did the typical European American in the Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

. Though less than 3% of Native Americans owned slaves, bondage created destructive cleavages among those who were slaveholders.

Among the Five Civilized Tribes
Five Civilized Tribes
The Five Civilized Tribes were the five Native American nations—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole—that were considered civilized by Anglo-European settlers during the colonial and early federal period because they adopted many of the colonists' customs and had generally good...

, mixed-race slaveholders were part of an elite hierarchy that may seem related to partial European ancestry, but their advantage was strongly based on their mothers' clan status, as the societies had matrilineal systems. As did Benjamin Hawkins, European fur traders and colonial officials tended to marry high-status women, in strategic alliances seen to benefit both sides. The Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee believed they benefited from stronger alliances with the traders and their societies. The women's sons gained their status from their mother's families; they were part of hereditary leadership lines who exercised power and accumulated personal wealth in their changing American Indian societies. The historian Greg O'Brien calls them the Creole generation. The chiefs of the tribes believed that some of the new generation of mixed-race, bilingual chiefs would lead their people into the future and be better able to adapt to new conditions influenced by European Americans. Proposals for Indian Removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

 heightened the tensions of cultural changes, due to the increase in the number of mixed-race Native Americans in the South. Full bloods sometimes tried harder to maintain traditional ways, including control of communal lands. The more traditional members who did not hold slaves often resented the sale of tribal lands to Anglo-Americans.

Foundations for freedom


Some Europeans considered Native American societies to be representative of a golden age known to them only in folk history. The political theorist Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote that the idea of freedom and democratic ideals was born in the Americas because "it was only in America" that Europeans from 1500 to 1776 knew of societies that were "truly free."
The Iroquois nations
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

' political confederacy and democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 have been credited as influences on the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

 and the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. Historians debate how much the colonists borrowed from existing Native American governmental models. Several founding fathers had contact with Native American leaders and had learned about their styles of government. Prominent figures such as Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 were more involved with leaders of the Iroquois Confederacy, based in New York. John Rutledge
John Rutledge
John Rutledge was an American statesman and judge. He was the first Governor of South Carolina following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the 31st overall...

 of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 in particular is said to have read lengthy tracts of Iroquoian law to the other framers, beginning with the words, "We, the people, to form a union, to establish peace, equity, and order..."
In October 1988, the U.S. Congress passed Concurrent Resolution 331 to recognize the influence of the Iroquois Constitution upon the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Those who argue against Iroquoian influence point to lack of evidence in U.S. constitutional debate records, and democratic U.S. institutions having ample antecedents in European ideas.

Colonials revolt


During the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, the newly proclaimed United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 competed with the British for the allegiance of Native American nations east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

. Most Native Americans who joined the struggle sided with the British, hoping to use the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 to halt further colonial expansion onto Native American land. Many native communities were divided over which side to support in the war. The first native community to sign a treaty with the new United States Government
Treaty of Fort Pitt (1778)
The Treaty of Fort Pitt — also known as the Treaty With the Delawares, the Delaware Treaty, or the Fourth Treaty of Pittsburgh, — was signed on September 17, 1778 and was the first written treaty between the new United States of America and any American Indians—the Lenape in this case...

 was the Lenape
Lenape
The Lenape are an Algonquian group of Native Americans of the Northeastern Woodlands. They are also called Delaware Indians. As a result of the American Revolutionary War and later Indian removals from the eastern United States, today the main groups live in Canada, where they are enrolled in the...

. For the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 Confederacy, the American Revolution resulted in civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

. The only Iroquois tribes to ally with the colonials were the Oneida and Tuscarora.

Frontier warfare during the American Revolution was particularly brutal, and numerous atrocities were committed by settlers and native tribes alike. Noncombatants suffered greatly during the war. Military expeditions on each side destroyed villages and food supplies to reduce the ability of people to fight, as in frequent raids in the Mohawk Valley and western New York. The largest of these expeditions was the Sullivan Expedition
Sullivan Expedition
The Sullivan Expedition, also known as the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, was an American campaign led by Major General John Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton against Loyalists and the four nations of the Iroquois who had sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War.The...

 of 1779, in which American colonial troops destroyed more than 40 Iroquois villages to neutralize Iroquois raids in upstate New York
Upstate New York
Upstate New York is the region of the U.S. state of New York that is located north of the core of the New York metropolitan area.-Definition:There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York...

. The expedition failed to have the desired effect: Native American activity became even more determined.

The British made peace with the Americans in the Treaty of Paris (1783)
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

, through which they ceded vast Native American territories to the United States without informing the Native Americans, leading immediately to the Northwest Indian War
Northwest Indian War
The Northwest Indian War , also known as Little Turtle's War and by various other names, was a war fought between the United States and a confederation of numerous American Indian tribes for control of the Northwest Territory...

. The United States initially treated the Native Americans who had fought with the British as a conquered people who had lost their lands. Although many of the Iroquois tribes went to Canada with the Loyalists, others tried to stay in New York and western territories and tried to maintain their lands. Nonetheless, the state of New York made a separate treaty with Iroquois and put up for sale 5000000 acres (20,234.3 km²) of land that had previously been their territory. The state established a reservation near Syracuse for the Onondagas who had been allies of the colonists.
The United States was eager to expand, to develop farming and settlements in new areas, and to satisfy land hunger of settlers from New England and new immigrants. The national government initially sought to purchase Native American land by treaties. The states and settlers were frequently at odds with this policy.

European nations sent Native Americans (sometimes against their will) to the Old World as objects of curiosity. They often entertained royalty and were sometimes prey to commercial purposes. Christianization
Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 of Native Americans was a charted purpose for some European colonies.
United States policy toward Native Americans had continued to evolve after the American Revolution. George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 and Henry Knox
Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War....

 believed that Native Americans were equals but that their society was inferior. Washington formulated a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process. Washington had a six-point plan for civilization which included,


1. impartial justice toward Native Americans

2. regulated buying of Native American lands

3. promotion of commerce

4. promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Native American society

5. presidential authority to give presents

6. punishing those who violated Native American rights.



Robert Remini, a historian, wrote that "once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans." The United States appointed agents, like Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins was an American planter, statesman, and United States Indian agent . He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a United States Senator from North Carolina, having grown up among the planter elite...

, to live among the Native Americans and to teach them how to live like whites.
In the late 18th century, reformers starting with Washington and Knox, supported educating native children and adults, in efforts to "civilize
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

" or otherwise assimilate Native Americans to the larger society (as opposed to relegating them to reservations). The Civilization Fund Act of 1819 promoted this civilization policy by providing funding to societies (mostly religious) who worked on Native American improvement.

American expansion justification


In July 1845, the New York newspaper editor John L. O’Sullivan coined the phrase “Manifest Destiny,” to explain how the "design of Providence" supported the territorial expansion of the United States. Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

 had serious consequences for Native Americans since continental expansion implicitly meant the occupation of Native American land. Manifest Destiny was an explanation or justification for expansion and westward movement, or, in some interpretations, an ideology or doctrine which helped to promote the process of civilization. Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only good, but that it was obvious and certain. The term was first used primarily by Jacksonian Democrats
Jacksonian democracy
Jacksonian democracy is the political movement toward greater democracy for the common man typified by American politician Andrew Jackson and his supporters. Jackson's policies followed the era of Jeffersonian democracy which dominated the previous political era. The Democratic-Republican Party of...

 in the 1840s to promote the annexation of much of what is now the Western United States
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

 (the Oregon Territory
Oregon Territory
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries , the region was...

, the Texas Annexation
Texas Annexation
In 1845, United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War, during which the U.S. captured additional territory , extending the nation's...

, and the Mexican Cession
Mexican Cession
The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the present day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S...

).
The age of Manifest Destiny, which came to be known as "Indian Removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

", gained ground. Although some humanitarian advocates of removal believed that Native Americans would be better off moving away from whites, an increasing number of Americans regarded the natives as nothing more than "savages" who stood in the way of American expansion. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 believed that while Native Americans were the intellectual equals of whites, they had to live like the whites or inevitably be pushed aside by them. Jefferson's belief, rooted in Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 thinking, that whites and Native Americans would merge to create a single nation did not last, and he began to believe that the natives should emigrate across the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and maintain a separate society.
Indian Appropriations Act of 1871

In 1871 Congress added a rider to the Indian Appropriations Act ending United States recognition of additional Native American tribes or independent nations, and prohibiting additional treaties.

Resistance



U.S. government authorities entered into numerous treaties during this period but eventually violated every treaty ever ratified with Native Americans. Some treaties were considered "living" documents whose terms could be altered. Major conflicts east of the Mississippi River include the Pequot War
Pequot War
The Pequot War was an armed conflict between 1634–1638 between the Pequot tribe against an alliance of the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies who were aided by their Native American allies . Hundreds were killed; hundreds more were captured and sold into slavery to the West Indies. ...

, Creek War
Creek War
The Creek War , also known as the Red Stick War and the Creek Civil War, began as a civil war within the Creek nation...

, and Seminole Wars
Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

. Notably, an intertribal army led by Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

, a Shawnee chief, fought a number of engagements during the period 1811–12, known as Tecumseh's War
Tecumseh's War
Tecumseh's War or Tecumseh's Rebellion are terms sometimes used to describe a conflict in the Old Northwest between the United States and an American Indian confederacy led by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh...

. In the latter stages, Tecumseh's group allied with the British forces in the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 and was instrumental in the conquest of Detroit. The Battle of the Wabash
St. Clair's Defeat
St. Clair's Defeat also known as the Battle of the Wabash, the Battle of Wabash River or the Battle of a Thousand Slain, was fought on November 4, 1791 in the Northwest Territory between the United States and the Western Confederacy of American Indians, as part of the Northwest Indian War...

 (1791) was the worst U.S. Army defeat by Native Americans in U.S. history.

Native American nations in the west continued armed conflicts with the United States throughout the 19th century. Conflicts generally known as "Indian Wars
Indian Wars
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America before and after the American Revolutionary War. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who...

" broke out between American government and Native American societies. The Battle of Little Bighorn (1876) was one of the greatest Native American victories. Defeats included the Sioux Uprising of 1862, the Sand Creek Massacre
Sand Creek Massacre
As conflict between Indians and white settlers and soldiers in Colorado continued, many of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, including bands under Cheyenne chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope, were resigned to negotiate peace. The chiefs had sought to maintain peace in spite of pressures from whites...

 (1864) and Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre happened on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M...

 in 1890. Indian wars continued into the early 20th century.

Civil War


Many Native Americans served in the military during the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the vast majority of whom siding with the Union. By fighting with the whites, Native Americans hoped to gain favor with the prevailing government by supporting the war effort. They also believed war service might mean an end to discrimination and relocation from ancestral lands to western territories. While the war raged and African Americans were proclaimed free, the U.S. government continued its policies of assimilation, submission, removal, or extermination of Native Americans.
General Ely S. Parker
Ely S. Parker
Ely Samuel Parker , was a Seneca attorney, engineer, and tribal diplomat. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel during the American Civil War, when he served as adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox...

, a member of the Seneca tribe
Seneca nation
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...

, created the articles of surrender which General Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 signed at Appomattox Court House
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is a National Historical Park of original and reconstructed nineteenth century buildings. It was signed into law August 3, 1935. The village was made a national monument in 1940 and a national historical park in 1954...

 on April 9, 1865. Gen. Parker, who served as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's military secretary and was a trained attorney, was once rejected for Union military service because of his race. At Appomattox, Lee is said to have remarked to Parker, "I am glad to see one real American here," to which Parker replied, "We are all Americans."

Removals and reservations


In the 19th century, the incessant westward expansion of the United States
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

 incrementally compelled large numbers of Native Americans to resettle further west, often by force, almost always reluctantly. Native Americans believed this forced relocation illegal, given the Hopewell Treaty of 1785. Under President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

, United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed the Indian Removal Act
Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830.The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the Five Civilized Tribes. In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in...

 of 1830, which authorized the President to conduct treaties to exchange Native American land east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 for lands west of the river . As many as 100,000 Native Americans relocated to the West as a result of this Indian Removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

 policy. In theory, relocation was supposed to be voluntary and many Native Americans did remain in the East. In practice, great pressure was put on Native American leaders to sign removal treaties.

The most egregious violation of the stated intention of the removal policy took place under the Treaty of New Echota
Treaty of New Echota
The Treaty of New Echota was a treaty signed on December 29, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia by officials of the United States government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political faction, known as the Treaty Party...

, which was signed by a dissident faction of Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

s but not the elected leadership. President Jackson rigidly enforced the treaty, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 Cherokees on the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830...

. About 17,000 Cherokees, along with approximately 2,000 enslaved blacks held by Cherokees, were removed from their homes.

Tribes were generally located to reservations where they could more easily be separated from traditional life and pushed into European-American society. Some southern states additionally enacted laws in the 19th century forbidding non-Native American settlement on Native American lands, with the intention to prevent sympathetic white missionaries from aiding the scattered Native American resistance.

The earliest recorded date of Native Americans' becoming U.S. citizens was in 1831 when the Mississippi Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 became citizens after the United States Legislature ratified the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was a treaty signed on September 27, 1830 between the Choctaw and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act...

. Article 22 sought to put a Choctaw representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. Under article XIV of that treaty, any Choctaw who elected not to move with the Choctaw Nation could become an American citizen when he registered and if he stayed on designated lands for five years after treaty ratification. Through the years, Native Americans became U.S. citizens by:


1. Treaty provision (as with the Mississippi Choctaw)

2. Registration and land allotment under the Dawes Act of February 8, 1887
Dawes Act
The Dawes Act, adopted by Congress in 1887, authorized the President of the United States to survey Indian tribal land and divide the land into allotments for individual Indians. The Act was named for its sponsor, Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts. The Dawes Act was amended in 1891 and again...



3. Issuance of Patent in Fee Simple

4. Adopting Habits of Civilized Life

5. Minor Children

6. Citizenship by Birth

7. Becoming Soldiers and Sailors in the U.S. Armed Forces

8. Marriage to a U.S. citizen

9. Special Act of Congress.


In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney
Roger B. Taney
Roger Brooke Taney was the fifth Chief Justice of the United States, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864. He was the first Roman Catholic to hold that office or sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. He was also the eleventh United States Attorney General. He is most...

 expressed that since Native Americans were "free and independent people" that they could become U.S. citizens. Taney asserted that Native Americans could be naturalized and join the "political community" of the United States.
After the American Civil War and Indian wars in the late 19th century, Native American boarding schools
Native American boarding schools
An Indian boarding school refers to one of many schools that were established in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to educate Native American children and youths according to Euro-American standards...

 were established, which were often run primarily by or affiliated with Christian missionaries. At this time American society thought that Native American children needed to be acculturated to the general society. The boarding school
Boarding school
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of "bed and board," i.e., lodging and meals...

 experience often proved traumatic to Native American children, who were forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and denied the right to practice their native religions, and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Native American identities and adopt European-American culture. There were documented cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse occurring at these schools.

20th century



On June 2, 1924 U.S. Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

 signed the Indian Citizenship Act
Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act, was proposed by Representative Homer P. Snyder of New York and granted full U.S. citizenship to America's indigenous peoples, called "Indians" in this Act...

, which made citizens of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 of all Native Americans, who were not already citizens, born in the United States and its territories. Prior to passage of the act, nearly two-thirds of Native Americans were already U.S. citizens.

American Indians today in the U.S. have all the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, can vote in elections, and run for political office. There has been controversy over how much the federal government has jurisdiction over tribal affairs, sovereignty, and cultural practices.

World War II


Some 44,000 Native Americans served in the United States military during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

: at the time, one-third of all able-bodied Indian men from 18 to 50 years of age. Described as the first large-scale exodus of indigenous peoples from the reservations
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

 since the removals of the 19th century, the men's service with the US military in the international conflict was a turning point in Native American history. The overwhelming majority of Native Americans welcomed the opportunity to serve; they had a voluntary enlistment rate that was 40% higher than those drafted. War Department officials said that if the entire population had enlisted in the same proportion as the Native Americans, the response would have rendered the draft unnecessary. Their fellow soldiers often held them in high esteem, in part since the legend of the tough Native American warrior had become a part of the fabric of American historical legend. White servicemen sometimes showed a lighthearted respect toward Native American comrades by calling them "chief."

The resulting increase in contact with the world outside of the reservation system brought profound changes to Native American culture. "The war," said the U.S. Indian Commissioner in 1945, "caused the greatest disruption of Native life since the beginning of the reservation era", affecting the habits, views, and economic well-being of tribal members. The most significant of these changes was the opportunity—as a result of wartime labor shortages—to find well-paying work in cities, and many people relocated to urban areas, particularly on the West Coast with the buildup of the defense industry.

There were also losses as a result of the war. For instance, a total of 1,200 Pueblo men served in World War II; only about half came home alive. In addition many more Navajo
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

 served as code talkers for the military in the Pacific. The code they made, although cryptologically very simple, was never cracked by the Japanese.

Self-determination


Military service and urban residency contributed to the rise of American Indian activism, particularly after the 1960s and the occupation of Alcatraz Island (1969-1971) by a student Indian group from San Francisco. In the same period, the American Indian Movement
American Indian Movement
The American Indian Movement is a Native American activist organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty...

 (AIM) was founded in Minneapolis, and chapters were established throughout the country, where American Indians combined spiritual and political activism. Political protests gained national media attention and the sympathy of the American public.

Through the mid-1970s, conflicts between governments and Native Americans occasionally erupted into violence. A notable late 20th-century event was the Wounded Knee incident
Wounded Knee Incident
The Wounded Knee incident began February 27, 1973 when about 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation...

 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

. Upset with tribal government and the failures of the federal government to enforce treaty rights, about 300 Oglala Lakota
Oglala Lakota
The Oglala Lakota or Oglala Sioux are one of the seven subtribes of the Lakota people; along with the Nakota and Dakota, they make up the Great Sioux Nation. A majority of the Oglala live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the eighth-largest Native American reservation in the...

 and American Indian Movement
American Indian Movement
The American Indian Movement is a Native American activist organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty...

 (AIM) activists took control of Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee, South Dakota
Wounded Knee is a census-designated place in Shannon County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 382 at the 2010 census....

 on February 27, 1973. Indian activists from around the country joined them at Pine Ridge, and the occupation became a symbol of rising American Indian identity and power. Federal law enforcement officials and the national guard cordoned off the town, and the two sides had a standoff for 71 days. During much gunfire, one United States Marshal was wounded and paralyzed. In late April a Cherokee and local Lakota man were killed by gunfire; the Lakota elders ended the occupation to ensure no more lives were lost. In June 1975, two FBI agents seeking to make an armed robbery arrest at Pine Ridge Reservation were wounded in a firefight, and killed at close range. The AIM activist Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement . In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine...

 was sentenced in 1976 to two consecutive terms of life in prison in the FBI deaths.

In 1975 the US Congress passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, marking the culmination of 15 years of policy changes. It resulted from American Indian activism, the Civil Rights Movement, and community development aspects of President Lyndon Johnson's social programs of the 1960s. The Act recognized the right and need of Native Americans for self-determination. It marked the U.S. government's turn away from the 1950s policy of termination of the relationship between tribes and the government. The U.S. government encouraged Native Americans' efforts at self government and determining their futures. Tribes have developed organizations to administer their own social, welfare and housing programs, for instance.

By this time, tribes had already started to establish community schools to replace the BIA boarding schools. Led by the Navajo Nation
Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory covering , occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico...

 in 1968, tribes started tribal colleges and universities
Tribal colleges and universities
Tribal colleges and universities are a category of higher education, minority-serving institutions in the United States. The educational institutions are distinguished by being controlled and operated by Native American tribes; they have become part of American Indians' institution-building in...

, to build their own models of education on reservations, preserve and revive their cultures, and develop educated workforces. In 1994 the US Congress passed legislation recognizing the tribal colleges as land-grant colleges, which provided opportunities for funding. Thirty-two tribal colleges in the US belong to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium
American Indian Higher Education Consortium
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium was established in 1972, in order to represent the interests of the newly developed tribal colleges, which are controlled and operated by American Indian nations...

. By the early 21st century, tribal nations had also established numerous language revival programs in their schools.

In addition, Native American activism has led major universities across the country to establish Native American studies
Native American Studies
Native American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that examines the history, culture, politics, issues and contemporary experience of Native peoples in North America, or, taking a hemispheric approach, the Americas...

 programs and departments, increasing awareness of the strengths of Indian cultures, providing opportunities for academics, and deepening research on history and cultures in the United States. Native Americans have entered academia; journalism and media; politics at local, state and federal levels; and public service, for instance, influencing medical research and policy to identify issues related to American Indians. In 1981, Tim Giago
Tim Giago
Tim Giago, also known as Nanwica Kciji , is an American Oglala Lakota journalist and publisher. In 1981, he founded the Lakota Times at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where he was born and grew up. It was the first independently owned Native American newspaper in the United States. In 1991...

 founded the Lakota Times, an independent Native American newspaper, located at the Pine Ridge Reservation but not controlled by tribal government. He later founded the Native American Journalists Association
Native American Journalists Association
The Native American Journalists Association, based in Norman, Oklahoma on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, is dedicated to supporting Native Americans in journalism, and focuses on improving communications among Native peoples, and between Native Americans and the general public...

. Other independent newspapers and media corporations have been developed, so that Native American journalists are contributing perspective on their own affairs and other policies and events.

In 2004, Senator Sam Brownback
Sam Brownback
Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback is the 46th and current Governor of Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1996 to 2011, and as a U.S. Representative for Kansas's 2nd congressional district from 1995 to 1996...

 (Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 of Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

) introduced a joint resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 37) to “offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States” for past “ill-conceived policies” by the US government regarding Indian Tribes. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 signed the historic apology into law in 2009, as section Section 8113 of the 2010 defense appropriations bill.
After years of investigation and independent work by Native American journalists, in 2003 the US government indicted suspects in the December 1975 murder of Anna Mae Aquash
Anna Mae Aquash
Anna Mae Aquash was a Mi'kmaq activist from Nova Scotia, Canada who became the highest-ranking woman in the American Indian Movement in the United States during the mid-1970s.Aquash...

 at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A Mi'qmaq, Aquash was the highest-ranking woman activist in the American Indian Movement
American Indian Movement
The American Indian Movement is a Native American activist organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty...

 (AIM) at the time. She was killed several months after two FBI agents had been killed at the reservation. Many Lakota believe that she was killed by AIM on suspicion of having been an FBI informant, but she never worked for the FBI. Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted in federal court in 2004. In 2007, the US extradited AIM activist John Graham from Canada to stand trial for her murder. He was also convicted and sentenced to life.

International indigenous rights


Activists around the world have been working on organizing for indigenous rights. On September 13, 2007 the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007....

, after nearly 25 years of discussion. Indigenous representatives from the United States, particularly from AIM, played a key role in the development of this Declaration, as did indigenous peoples from the Americas and other nations. It was passed with an overwhelming majority of 143 votes in favor; only Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States voted against it. Each of these four nations has indigenous populations that became outnumbered, disfranchised and historically oppressed by new immigrant groups. They expressed serious reservations about the final text of the Declaration as placed before the General Assembly. Australia and New Zealand have since then changed their vote in favor of the Declaration.

The U.S. mission issued a floor document, "Observations of the United States with respect to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", setting out its objections to the Declaration. The United States drew attention to the Declaration's failure to provide a clear definition of exactly whom the term "indigenous peoples" is intended to cover. A change in political administrations has resulted in US support for the document. In December 2010, President Obama declared that the United States would sign the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Current legal status



There are 562 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. These tribes possess the right to form their own governments, to enforce laws (both civil and criminal) within their lands, to tax, to establish requirements for membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone and to exclude persons from tribal territories. Limitations on tribal powers of self-government include the same limitations applicable to states; for example, neither tribes nor states have the power to make war, engage in foreign relations, or coin money (this includes paper currency).

Many Native Americans and advocates of Native American rights point out that the U.S. Federal government's claim to recognize the "sovereignty" of Native American peoples falls short, given that the U.S. wishes to govern Native American peoples and treat them as subject to U.S. law. Such advocates contend that full respect for Native American sovereignty would require the US government to deal with Native American peoples in the same manner as any other sovereign nation, handling matters related to relations with Native Americans through the Secretary of State, rather than the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

. The Bureau of Indian Affairs reports on its website that its "responsibility is the administration and management of 55700000 acres (225,410.1 km²) of land held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives." Many Native Americans and advocates of Native American rights believe that it is condescending for such lands to be considered "held in trust" and regulated in any fashion by other than their own tribes, whether the U.S. or Canadian governments, or any other non-Native American authority.

As of 2000, the largest tribes in the U.S. by population were Navajo
Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory covering , occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico...

, Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

, Chippewa, Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

, Blackfeet
Blackfeet
The Piegan Blackfeet are a tribe of Native Americans of the Algonquian language family based in Montana, having lived in this area since around 6,500 BC. Many members of the tribe live as part of the Blackfeet Nation in northwestern Montana, with population centered in Browning...

, Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

, and Pueblo. In 2000, eight of ten Americans with Native American ancestry were of mixed ancestry. It is estimated that by 2100 that figure will rise to nine out of ten.
In addition, there are a number of tribes that are recognized by individual states, but not by the federal government. The rights and benefits associated with state recognition vary from state to state.

Some tribal nations have been unable to document the cultural continuity required for federal recognition. The Muwekma Ohlone
Ohlone
The Ohlone people, also known as the Costanoan, are a Native American people of the central California coast. When Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley...

 of the San Francisco bay area are pursuing litigation in the federal court system to establish recognition. Many of the smaller eastern tribes, long considered remnants of extinct peoples, have been trying to gain official recognition of their tribal status. Several in Virginia and North Carolina have gained state recognition. Federal recognition confers some benefits, including the right to label arts and crafts as Native American and permission to apply for grants that are specifically reserved for Native Americans. But gaining federal recognition as a tribe is extremely difficult; to be established as a tribal group, members have to submit extensive genealogical
Genealogy
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

 proof of tribal descent and continuity of the tribe as a culture.
In July 2000 the Washington Republican Party adopted a resolution recommending that the federal and legislative branches of the U.S. government terminate tribal governments. In 2007 a group of Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 congressmen and congresswomen introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 to "terminate" the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century, and includes people descended from members of the old Cherokee Nation who relocated voluntarily from the Southeast to Indian Territory and Cherokees who...

. This was related to their voting to exclude Cherokee Freedmen as members of the tribe unless they had a Cherokee ancestor on the Dawes Rolls, although all Cherokee Freedmen and their descendants had been members since 1866.

As of 2004, various Native Americans are wary of attempts by others to gain control of their reservation lands for natural resources, such as coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 and uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 in the West.

In the state of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, Native Americans face a unique problem. Virginia has no federally recognized tribes but the state has recognized eight. This is related historically to the greater impact of disease and warfare on the Virginia Indian populations, as well as their intermarriage with Europeans and Africans. Some people confused the ancestry with culture, but groups of Virginia Indians maintained their cultural continuity. Most of their early reservations were ended under the pressure of early European settlement.

Some historians also note the problems of Virginia Indians in establishing documented continuity of identity, due to the work of Walter Ashby Plecker
Walter Ashby Plecker
Walter Ashby Plecker was a physician and public health advocate who was the first registrar of Virginia's Bureau of Vital Statistics, serving from 1912-1946. He was a leader of the Anglo-Saxon Clubs of America, a white supremacist organization founded in Richmond, Virginia in 1822...

 (1912–1946). As registrar of the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics, he applied his own interpretation of the one-drop rule
One-drop rule
The one-drop rule is a historical colloquial term in the United States for the social classification as black of individuals with any African ancestry; meaning any person with "one drop of black blood" was considered black...

, enacted in law in 1924 as the state's Racial Integrity Act. It recognized only two races: "white" and "colored".

Plecker, a segregationist
Racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation or hypersegregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines...

, believed that the state's Native Americans had been "mongrelized" by intermarriage with African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s; to him, ancestry determined identity, rather than culture. He thought that some people of partial black ancestry were trying to "pass
Passing (racial identity)
Racial passing refers to a person classified as a member of one racial group attempting to be accepted as a member of a different racial group...

" as Native Americans. Plecker thought that anyone with any African heritage had to be classified as colored, regardless of appearance, amount of European or Native American ancestry, and cultural/community identification. Plecker pressured local governments into reclassifying all Native Americans in the state as "colored", and gave them lists of family surnames to examine for reclassification based on his interpretation of data and the law. This led to the state's destruction of accurate records related to families and communities who identified as Native American (as in church records and daily life). By his actions, sometimes different members of the same family were split by being classified as "white" or "colored". He did not allow people to enter their primary identification as Native American in state records. In 2009, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition to tribes in Virginia.

To achieve federal recognition and its benefits, tribes must prove continuous existence since 1900. The federal government has maintained this requirement, in part because through participation on councils and committees, federally recognized tribes have been adamant about groups' satisfying the same requirements as they did.

Contemporary issues


According to 2003 United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

 estimates, a little over one third of the 2,786,652 Native Americans in the United States live in three states: California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 at 413,382, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 at 294,137 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 at 279,559.

Native American struggles amid poverty to maintain life on the reservation or in larger society have resulted in a variety of health issues, some related to nutrition and health practices. The community suffers a vulnerability to and disproportionately high rate of alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

. Numerous tribal governments have long prohibited the sale of alcohol on reservations, but generally it is readily for sale in nearby border towns. In addition to increasing numbers of American Indians entering the fields of community health and medicine, agencies working with Native American communities have sought partnerships, representatives of policy and program boards, and other ways to learn and respect their traditions and integrate the benefits of Western medicine within their own cultural practices.

In the early 21st century, Native American communities have exhibited continuing growth and revival, playing a larger role in the American economy, and in the lives of Native Americans. Communities have consistently formed governments that administer services such as firefighting, natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

 management, social programs, housing and law enforcement
Law enforcement agency
In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

. Most Native American communities have established court
Court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

 systems to adjudicate matters related to local ordinances, and most also look to various forms of moral and social authority, such as forms of restorative justice
Restorative justice
Restorative justice is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of victims, offenders, as well as the involved community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender...

, vested in the traditional culture of the tribal nation. To address the housing needs of Native Americans, Congress passed the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) in 1996. This legislation replaced public housing built by the BIA, and other 1937 Housing Act programs directed towards Indian Housing Authorities, with a block-grant program providing funds to be administered by the Tribes to develop their own housing.

Societal discrimination and racism


Perhaps because many Native Americans live on reservations relatively isolated from major population centers, universities have conducted relatively little public opinion research on attitudes toward them among the general public. In 2007 the non-partisan Public Agenda organization conducted a focus group study. Most non-Native Americans admitted they rarely encountered Native Americans in their daily lives. While sympathetic toward Native Americans and expressing regret over the past, most people had only a vague understanding of the problems facing Native Americans today. For their part, Native Americans told researchers that they believed they continued to face prejudice and mistreatment in the broader society.
Journalists have covered issues of discrimination.

Native American mascots in sports



American Indian activists in the US and Canada have criticized the use of Native American mascots in sports, as perpetuating stereotypes. European Americans have had a history of "playing Indian" that dates back to at least the 18th century. While supporters of the mascots say they embody the heroism of Native American warriors, AIM particularly has criticized the use of mascot
Mascot
The term mascot – defined as a term for any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck – colloquially includes anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name...

s as offensive and demeaning. While many universities and professional sports teams (for example, the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

, who had a Chief Wahoo
Chief Wahoo
Chief Wahoo is a trademarked logo for the Cleveland Indians baseball team. The illustration is a Native American cartoon caricature.Although the club had adopted the name "Indians" starting with the 1915 season, there was no acknowledgment of this nickname on their uniforms until 1928...

) no longer use such images without consultation and approval by the respective nation, some lower-level schools continue to do so. On the other hand, in the Bay Area of California, Tomales Bay High and Sequoia High have retired their Indian mascots.
In August 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

 (NCAA) banned the use of "hostile and abusive" Native American mascots in postseason tournaments. An exception was made to allow the use of tribal names if approved by that tribe (such as the Seminole Tribe of Florida
Seminole Tribe of Florida
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Florida. Together with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, it is one of three federally recognized Seminole entities...

's approving use of their name for the team of Florida State University
Florida State University
The Florida State University is a space-grant and sea-grant public university located in Tallahassee, Florida, United States. It is a comprehensive doctoral research university with medical programs and significant research activity as determined by the Carnegie Foundation...

.)

Historical depictions in art


Native Americans have been depicted by American artists in various ways at different historical periods. During the 16th century, the artist John White
John White (surveyor)
John White was an English artist, and an early pioneer of English efforts to settle the New World. He was among those who sailed with Richard Grenville to North Carolina in 1585, acting as artist and mapmaker to the expedition. During his time at Roanoke Island he made a number of watercolor...

 made watercolors and engravings of the people native to the southeastern states. John White’s images were, for the most part, faithful likenesses of the people he observed.

The artist Theodore de Bry used White’s original watercolors to make a book of engravings entitled, A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia. In his book, de Bry often altered the poses and features of White’s figures to make them appear more European. During the period when White and de Bry were working, when Europeans were first coming into contact with native Americans, Europeans were greatly interested in native American cultures. Their curiosity created demand for a book like de Bry’s.

A number of 19th and 20th-century United States and Canadian painters, often motivated by a desire to document and preserve Native culture, specialized in Native American subjects. Among the most prominent of these were Elbridge Ayer Burbank
Elbridge Ayer Burbank
Elbridge Ayer Burbank was an American artist who sketched and painted more than 1200 portraits of Native Americans from 125 tribes. He studied art in Chicago and in his 30s traveled to Munich, Germany for additional studies with notable German artists...

, George Catlin
George Catlin
George Catlin was an American painter, author and traveler who specialized in portraits of Native Americans in the Old West.-Early years:...

, Seth Eastman
Seth and Mary Eastman
Seth Eastman and his second wife Mary Henderson Eastman were instrumental in recording Native American life. Eastman was an artist and West Point graduate who served in the US Army, first as a mapmaker and illustrator. He had two tours at Fort Snelling, Minnesota Territory; during the second,...

, Paul Kane
Paul Kane
Paul Kane was an Irish-born Canadian painter, famous for his paintings of First Nations peoples in the Canadian West and other Native Americans in the Oregon Country....

, W. Langdon Kihn
W. Langdon Kihn
Wilfred Langdon Kihn was a portrait painter and illustrator specializing in portraits of American Indians.He was born in Brooklyn, New York, son of Alfred Charles Kihn and Carrie Lowe Kihn...

, Charles Bird King
Charles Bird King
Charles Bird King is a United States artist who is best known for his portraiture. In particular, the artist is notable for the portraits he painted of Native American delegates coming to Washington D.C., which were commissioned by government's Bureau of Indian Affairs.-Biography:Charles Bird King...

, Joseph Henry Sharp
Joseph Henry Sharp
Joseph Henry Sharp was an American painter and a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists, of which he is considered the "Spiritual Father". Sharp was one of the earliest European-American artists to visit Taos, New Mexico, which he saw in 1893 with John Hauser when he visited in 1893...

, and John Mix Stanley
John Mix Stanley
John Mix Stanley was an artist-explorer, an American painter of landscapes, and Native American portraits and tribal life. Born in the Finger Lakes region of New York, he started painting signs and portraits as a young man, but in 1842 traveled to the American West to paint Native American life...

.

During the construction of the Capitol building
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

 in the early 19th century, the U.S. government commissioned a series of four relief panels to crown the doorway of the Rotunda
United States Capitol Rotunda
The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Located below the Capitol dome, it is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart."...

. The reliefs encapsulate a vision of European—Native American relations that had assumed mythic historical proportions by the 19th century. The four panels depict: The Preservation of Captain Smith by Pocahontas (1825) by Antonio Capellano, The Landing of the Pilgrims (1825) and The Conflict of Daniel Boone and the Indians (1826–27) by Enrico Causici, and William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians (1827) by Nicholas Gevelot. The reliefs by European sculptors present versions of the Europeans and the Native Americans, in which the Europeans appear refined and the natives appear ferocious. The Whig
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 representative of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, Henry A. Wise
Henry A. Wise
Henry Alexander Wise was an American politician and governor of Virginia, as well as a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

, wrote about how Native Americans might think of the reliefs: “We give you corn, you cheat us of our lands: we save your life, you take ours.” While many 19th-century images of native Americans conveyed similarly negative messages, artists such as Charles Bird King
Charles Bird King
Charles Bird King is a United States artist who is best known for his portraiture. In particular, the artist is notable for the portraits he painted of Native American delegates coming to Washington D.C., which were commissioned by government's Bureau of Indian Affairs.-Biography:Charles Bird King...

 sought to express a more balanced image of Native Americans.

During this time, some fiction writers were informed about and sympathetic to Native American culture. Marah Ellis Ryan
Marah Ellis Ryan
Marah Ellis Ryan was born either February 27, 1860 or 1866. As Ellis Martin, she married Samuel Erwin Ryan , an Irish actor and comedian, in 1883. She died July 11, 1934....

 conveyed the culture with sympathy.

In the 20th century, early portrayals of Native Americans in movies and television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 roles were first performed by European Americans dressed in mock traditional attire. Examples included The Last of the Mohicans (1920), Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1957), and F Troop
F Troop
F Troop is a satirical American television sitcom that originally aired for two seasons on ABC-TV. It debuted in the United States on September 14, 1965 and concluded its run on April 6, 1967 with a total of 65 episodes. The first season of 34 episodes was filmed in black-and-white, but the show...

(1965–67). In later decades, Native American actors such as Jay Silverheels
Jay Silverheels
Jay Silverheels was a Canadian Mohawk First Nations actor. He was well known for his role as Tonto, the faithful American Indian companion of the Lone Ranger in a long-running American television series. -Early life:...

 in The Lone Ranger television series (1949–57) came to prominence. Roles of Native Americans were limited and not reflective of Native American culture. By the 1970s some Native American film roles began to show more complexity, such as those in Little Big Man
Little Big Man
Little Big Man is a 1970 American Western film directed by Arthur Penn and based on the 1964 comic novel by Thomas Berger. It is a picaresque comedy about a Caucasian boy raised by the Cheyenne nation during the 19th century...

(1970), Billy Jack
Billy Jack
Billy Jack is a 1971 action film. It is the second, and highest grossing, in a series of motion pictures centering on a character of the same name, played by Tom Laughlin who also directed and co-wrote the script. Filming began in Prescott, Arizona, in fall 1969, but the movie was not completed...

(1971), and The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Outlaw Josey Wales
The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 American revisionist Western film set during and after the end of the American Civil War. It was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood , with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Sam Bottoms, and Geraldine Keams.The film was adapted by Sonia Chernus and Philip Kaufman...

(1976), which depicted Native Americans in minor supporting roles.

For years, Native people on U.S. television were relegated to secondary, subordinate roles. During the years of the series Bonanza
Bonanza
Bonanza is an American western television series that both ran on and was a production of NBC from September 12, 1959 to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series and still continues to air in syndication. It centers on the...

(1959–1973), no major or secondary Native characters appeared on a consistent basis. The series The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked Texas Ranger who, with his Native American companion Tonto, fights injustice in the American Old West. The character has become an enduring icon of American culture....

(1949–1957), Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

(1957–1963), and Law of the Plainsman
Law of the Plainsman
Law of The Plainsman is a Western television series starring Michael Ansara that aired on the NBC television network from October 1, 1959, until May 5, 1960. The character of Native American U.S...

(1959–1963) had Native characters who were essentially aides to the central white characters. This continued in such series as How the West Was Won
How the West Was Won (TV series)
How the West Was Won is an American western television series that featured an all star cast that included: James Arness, Eva Marie Saint, Fionnula Flanagan, Bruce Boxleitner, G. W. Bailey, Trisha Noble, William Shatner, Jack Elam, Woody Strode, Anthony Zerbe, Richard Kiley, Lloyd Bridges,...

. These programs resembled the “sympathetic” yet contradictory film Dances With Wolves
Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 epic western film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells the story of a Union Army Lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a...

of 1990, in which, according to Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, the narrative choice was to relate the Lakota story as told through a Euro-American voice, for wider impact among a general audience.
Like the 1992 remake of The Last of the Mohicans
The Last of the Mohicans (1992 film)
The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 during the French and Indian War and produced by Morgan Creek Pictures. It was directed by Michael Mann and based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same name, although it owes more to George B. Seitz's 1936 film adaptation...

and Geronimo: An American Legend
Geronimo: An American Legend
Geronimo: An American Legend is a 1993 film, starring Wes Studi as Geronimo, Jason Patric as 1st Lt. Charles B. Gatewood, Gene Hackman as Brig. Gen. George Crook, Robert Duvall as Chief of Scouts Al Sieber, and Matt Damon as 2nd Lt. Britton Davis. The film was directed by Walter Hill from a...

(1993), Dances with Wolves employed a number of Native American actors, and made an effort to portray Indigenous languages.

In 2004, Co-Producer Guy Perrotta presented the film Mystic Voices: The Story of the Pequot War (2004), a television documentary on the first major war between colonists and Native peoples in the Americas. Perrotta and Charles Clemmons intended to increase public understanding of the significance of this early event. They believed it had significance not only for northeastern Native Peoples and descendants of English and Dutch colonists, but for all Americans today. Wanting to make the film historically accurate and unbiased, the producers invited a broadly based Advisory Board, and used scholars, Native Americans, and descendants of the colonists to help tell the story. They elicited personal and often passionate viewpoints from contemporary Americans. The production portrayed the conflict as a struggle between different value systems, which included not only the Pequot, but a number of other Native American tribes, most of which allied with the English. It presents facts and seeks to help viewers better understand the several peoples who fought the War.

In 2009, We Shall Remain
We Shall Remain (documentary)
We Shall Remain is a five-part, 7.5 hour documentary series about the history of Native Americans spanning the 1600s to the 1900s. It was a collaborative effort with several different directors, writers and producers working on each episode, including directors Chris Eyre, Ric Burns and Stanley...

(2009), a television documentary by Ric Burns
Ric Burns
Ric Burns is an American documentary filmmaker and writer. He has written, directed and produced historical documentaries for nearly 20 years, beginning with his collaboration on the celebrated PBS series The Civil War , which he produced with his older brother Ken Burns and wrote with Geoffrey C...

 and part of the American Experience
American Experience
American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history...

 series, presented a five-episode series "from a Native American perspective." It represented "an unprecedented collaboration between Native and non-Native filmmakers and involves Native advisors and scholars at all levels of the project." The five episodes explore the impact of King Philip's War
King Philip's War
King Philip's War, sometimes called Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–76. The war is named after the main leader of the...

 on the northeastern tribes, the "Native American confederacy" of Tecumseh's War
Tecumseh's War
Tecumseh's War or Tecumseh's Rebellion are terms sometimes used to describe a conflict in the Old Northwest between the United States and an American Indian confederacy led by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh...

, the US-forced relocation of Southeastern tribes known as the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830...

, the pursuit and capture of Geronimo
Geronimo
Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. Allegedly, "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a Mexican incident...

 and the Apache Wars
Apache Wars
The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States and Apaches fought in the Southwest from 1849 to 1886, though other minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924. The Confederate Army participated in the wars during the early 1860s, for instance in Texas, before being...

, and concludes with the Wounded Knee incident
Wounded Knee Incident
The Wounded Knee incident began February 27, 1973 when about 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation...

, participation by the American Indian Movement
American Indian Movement
The American Indian Movement is a Native American activist organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty...

, and the increasing resurgence of modern Native cultures since.

Common usage in the United States



Native Americans are more commonly known as Indians or American Indians, and have been known as Aboriginal Americans, Amerindians, Amerinds, Colored, First Americans, Native Indians, Indigenous, Original Americans, Red Indians, Redskins or Red Men.
The term Native American was introduced in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 by academics in preference to the older term Indian to distinguish the indigenous peoples of the Americas
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 from the people of India, and to avoid negative stereotypes associated with the term Indian. Some academics believe that Indians should be considered as outdated or offensive. Many indigenous Americans, however, prefer the term American Indian. Others point out that anyone born in the United States is, technically, native to America. In this sense, native was substituted for indigenous. Today, people from India (and their descendants) who are citizens of the United States are called Indian American
Indian American
Indian Americans are Americans whose ancestral roots lie in India. The U.S. Census Bureau popularized the term Asian Indian to avoid confusion with Indigenous peoples of the Americas who are commonly referred to as American Indians.-The term: Indian:...

s
or Asian Indians.

Criticism of the neologism Native American, comes from diverse sources. Russell Means
Russell Means
Russell Charles Means is an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement after joining the organisation in 1968, and helped organize notable events that attracted national and international media coverage...

, an American Indian activist, opposes the term Native American because he believes it was imposed by the government without the consent of American Indians. He has also argued that the use of the word Indian derives not from a confusion with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 but from a Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 expression En Dio, meaning "in God". Furthermore, some American Indians question the term Native American because, they argue, it serves to ease the conscience of "white America" with regard to past injustices done to American Indians by effectively eliminating "Indians" from the present. Still others (both Indians and non-Indians) argue that Native American is problematic because "native of" literally means "born in," so any person born in the Americas could be considered "native". The compound "Native American" is generally capitalized
Capitalization
Capitalization is writing a word with its first letter as a majuscule and the remaining letters in minuscules . This of course only applies to those writing systems which have a case distinction...

 to differentiate the reference to the indigenous peoples.

A 1995 U.S. Census Bureau survey found that more Native Americans in the United States preferred American Indian to Native American. Most American Indians are comfortable with Indian, American Indian, and Native American, and the terms are often used interchangeably. The traditional term is reflected in the name chosen for the National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is a museum operated under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution that is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the native Americans of the Western Hemisphere...

, which opened in 2004 on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

.

Recently, the U.S. Census Bureau has introduced the "Asian-Indian" category to avoid ambiguity for descendants of people from India.

Gambling industry




Gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 has become a leading industry. Casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

s operated by many Native American governments in the United States are creating a stream of gambling revenue that some communities are beginning to use as leverage to build diversified economies. Native American communities have waged and prevailed in legal battles to assure recognition of rights to self-determination and to use of natural resources. Some of those rights, known as treaty rights, are enumerated in early treaties signed with the young United States government. Tribal sovereignty has become a cornerstone of American jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

, and at least on the surface, in national legislative policies. Although many Native American tribes have casinos, the impact of Native American gaming is widely debated. Some tribes, such as the Winnemem Wintu
Winnemem Wintu
The Winnemem Wintu are a band of the Native American Wintu tribe originally located along the lower McCloud River, above Shasta Dam near Redding, California.-History:...

 of Redding, California
Redding, California
Redding is a city in far-Northern California. It is the county seat of Shasta County, California, USA. With a population of 89,861, according to the 2010 Census...

, feel that casinos and their proceeds destroy culture from the inside out. These tribes refuse to participate in the gambling industry.

Ethno-linguistic classification


Far from forming a single ethnic group, Native Americans were divided into several hundred ethno-linguistic groups, most of them grouped into the Na-Dené (Athabaskan
Athabaskan languages
Athabaskan or Athabascan is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family...

), Algic (including Algonquian
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

), Uto-Aztecan, Iroquoian
Iroquoian languages
The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.-Family division:*Ruttenber, Edward Manning. 1992 [1872]. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River. Hope Farm Press....

, Siouan–Catawban, Yok-Utian
Yok-Utian languages
Yok-Utian is a hypothetical language family of California. It consists of the Yokutsan and Utian families.The name Yok-Utian was coined by Geoffrey Gamble. Catherine Callaghan is one of the major investigators of this hypothesis. Callaghan and Gamble's research on this family started in 1991...

, Salishan
Salishan languages
The Salishan languages are a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest...

 and Yuman phyla, besides many smaller groups and several language isolate
Language isolate
A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with other languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single...

s. Demonstrating genetic relationships has proved difficult due to the great linguistic diversity present in North America.

The indigenous peoples of North America can be classified as belonging to a number of large cultural areas:
  • Alaska Natives
    Alaska Natives
    Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

    • Arctic: Eskimo–Aleut
    • Subarctic: Northern Athabaskan
      Northern Athabaskan languages
      Northern Athabaskan is a geographic sub-grouping of the Athabaskan language family spoken in the northern part of North America, particularly in Alaska and the Yukon...

  • Western United States
    Western United States
    .The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

    • Californian tribes (Northern): Yok-Utian, Pacific Coast Athabaskan
      Pacific Coast Athabaskan languages
      Pacific Coast Athabaskan is a geographical and possibly genealogical grouping of the Athabaskan language family.-California Athabaskan:Pacific Coast Athabaskan is a geographical and possibly genealogical grouping of the Athabaskan language family....

      , Coast Miwok
      Coast Miwok
      The Coast Miwok were the second largest group of Miwok Native American people. The Coast Miwok inhabited the general area of modern Marin County and southern Sonoma County in Northern California, from the Golden Gate north to Duncans Point and eastward to Sonoma Creek...

      , Yurok
      Yurok language
      Yurok is a moribund Algic language. It is the traditional language of the Yurok tribe of Del Norte County and Humboldt County on the far North Coast of California, U.S., most of whom now speak English...

      , Palaihnihan
      Palaihnihan languages
      -Family division:Palaihnihan is said to comprise:# Atsugewi # Achumawi -Genetic relations:The basis of this Palaihnihan grouping is weakened by poor quality of data...

      , Chumashan
      Chumashan languages
      Chumashan is a family of languages that were spoken on the southern California coast by Native American Chumash people.From the Coastal plains and valleys of San Luis Obispo to Malibu), neighboring inland and Transverse Ranges valleys and canyons east to bordering the San Joaquin Valley; and on...

      , Uto-Aztecan
      Uto-Aztecan languages
      Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found from the Great Basin of the Western United States , through western, central and southern Mexico Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family...

    • Plateau tribes: Interior Salish
      Interior Salish
      The Interior Salish languages are one of the two main subgroups of the Salishan language family, the other being Coast Salish. It can be further subdivided into Northern and Southern Interior Salish...

      , Plateau Penutian
      Plateau Penutian languages
      -History:Plateau Penutian as originally proposed was one branch of the hypothetical Penutian phylum as proposed by Edward Sapir. The original proposal also included Cayuse ; however, this language has little documentation and that which is documented is inadequately recorded...

    • Great Basin tribes
      Great Basin tribes
      The Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin are the Native American peoples of the Great Basin inhabited a cultural region between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, in what is now Nevada, and parts of Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. There is very little precipitation in the...

      : Uto-Aztecan
      Uto-Aztecan languages
      Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found from the Great Basin of the Western United States , through western, central and southern Mexico Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family...

    • Pacific Northwest Coast
      Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast
      The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, their descendants, and many ethnic groups who identify with those historical peoples. They are now situated within the Canadian Province of British Columbia and the U.S...

      : Pacific Coast Athabaskan
      Pacific Coast Athabaskan languages
      Pacific Coast Athabaskan is a geographical and possibly genealogical grouping of the Athabaskan language family.-California Athabaskan:Pacific Coast Athabaskan is a geographical and possibly genealogical grouping of the Athabaskan language family....

      , Coast Salish
      Coast Salish
      Coast Salish languages are a subgroup of the Salishan language family. These languages are spoken by First Nations or Native American peoples inhabiting the territory that is now the southwest coast of British Columbia around the Strait of Georgia and Washington state around Puget Sound...

    • Southwestern tribes: Uto-Aztecan
      Uto-Aztecan languages
      Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found from the Great Basin of the Western United States , through western, central and southern Mexico Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a Native American language family...

      , Yuman, Southern Athabaskan
      Southern Athabaskan languages
      Southern Athabaskan is a subfamily of Athabaskan languages spoken primarily in the North American Southwest with two outliers in Oklahoma and Texas...

  • Central United States
    Central United States
    The Central United States is sometimes conceived as between the Eastern United States and Western United States as part of a three-region model, roughly coincident with the Midwestern United States plus the western and central portions of the Southern United States; the term is also sometimes used...

    • Plains Indians
      Plains Indians
      The Plains Indians are the Indigenous peoples who live on the plains and rolling hills of the Great Plains of North America. Their colorful equestrian culture and resistance to White domination have made the Plains Indians an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.Plains...

      : Siouan
      Siouan languages
      The Western Siouan languages, also called Siouan proper or simply Siouan, are a Native American language family of North America, and the second largest indigenous language family in North America, after Algonquian...

      , Plains Algonquian
      Plains Algonquian languages
      The Plains Algonquian languages are commonly grouped together as a subgroup of the larger Algonquian family, itself a member of the Algic family. Though this grouping is often encountered in the literature, it is an areal grouping rather than a genetic one...

      , Southern Athabaskan
      Southern Athabaskan languages
      Southern Athabaskan is a subfamily of Athabaskan languages spoken primarily in the North American Southwest with two outliers in Oklahoma and Texas...

  • Eastern United States
    Eastern United States
    The Eastern United States, the American East, or simply the East is traditionally defined as the states east of the Mississippi River. The first two tiers of states west of the Mississippi have traditionally been considered part of the West, but can be included in the East today; usually in...

    • Northeastern Woodlands tribes: Iroquoian
      Iroquoian languages
      The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.-Family division:*Ruttenber, Edward Manning. 1992 [1872]. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River. Hope Farm Press....

      , Central Algonquian
      Central Algonquian languages
      The Central Algonquian languages are commonly grouped together as a subgroup of the larger Algonquian family, itself a member of the Algic family. Though this grouping is often encountered in the literature, it is an areal grouping rather than a genetic one...

      , Eastern Algonquian
      Eastern Algonquian languages
      The Eastern Algonquian languages constitute a subgroup of the Algonquian languages. Prior to European contact, Eastern Algonquian consisted of at least seventeen languages collectively occupying the Atlantic coast of North America and adjacent inland areas, from the Canadian Maritime provinces to...

    • Southeastern tribes
      Southeastern tribes
      Southeastern Woodlands peoples or Southeastern cultures are an ethnographic classification for Indigenous peoples that have traditionally inhabited the Southeastern United States and the northeastern border of Mexico, that share common cultural traits....

      : Muskogean
      Muskogean languages
      Muskogean is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean...

      , Siouan
      Siouan languages
      The Western Siouan languages, also called Siouan proper or simply Siouan, are a Native American language family of North America, and the second largest indigenous language family in North America, after Algonquian...

      , Catawban
      Catawban languages
      The Catawban, or Eastern Siouan, languages form a small language family in east North America. The Catawban family is a branch of the larger Siouan Siouan–Catawban family.-Family division:The Catawban family consists of two languages:...

      , Iroquoian
      Iroquoian languages
      The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.-Family division:*Ruttenber, Edward Manning. 1992 [1872]. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River. Hope Farm Press....



Of the surviving languages, Uto-Aztecan has the most speakers (1.95 million) if the languages in Mexico are considered (mostly due to 1.5 million speakers of Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

); Nadene comes in second with approximately 180,200 speakers (148,500 of these are speakers of Navajo
Navajo language
Navajo or Navaho is an Athabaskan language spoken in the southwestern United States. It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages .Navajo has more speakers than any other Native American language north of the...

). Na-Dené and Algic have the widest geographic distributions: Algic currently spans from northeastern Canada across much of the continent down to northeastern Mexico (due to later migrations of the Kickapoo) with two outliers in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 (Yurok
Yurok language
Yurok is a moribund Algic language. It is the traditional language of the Yurok tribe of Del Norte County and Humboldt County on the far North Coast of California, U.S., most of whom now speak English...

 and Wiyot
Wiyot language
Wiyot is an extinct Algic language, formerly spoken by the Wiyot people of Humboldt Bay, California. The language's last native speaker, Della Prince, died in 1962...

); Na-Dené spans from Alaska and western Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 through Washington, Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, and California to the U.S. Southwest
Southwestern United States
The Southwestern United States is a region defined in different ways by different sources. Broad definitions include nearly a quarter of the United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah...

 and northern Mexico (with one outlier in the Plains).
Another area of considerable diversity appears to have been the Southeast
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

; however, many of these languages became extinct from European contact and as a result they are, for the most part, absent from the historical record.

Cultural aspects



Though cultural features, language, clothing, and customs vary enormously from one tribe to another, there are certain elements which are encountered frequently and shared by many tribes.

Early hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 tribes made stone weapons from around 10,000 years ago; as the age of metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

 dawned, newer technologies were used and more efficient weapons produced. Prior to contact with Europeans, most tribes used similar weaponry. The most common implements were the bow and arrow, the war club, and the spear. Quality, material, and design varied widely. Native American use of fire
Native American use of fire
In addition to simple cooking, Pre-Columbian Native Americans used fire in many and significant ways, ranging from protecting an area from fire to landscape-altering clearing of prairie.-Human-shaped landscape:...

 both helped provide and prepare for food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 and altered the landscape of the continent
Pre-Columbian savannas of North America
Pre-Columbian savannas once existed across North America. These were created and maintained in a fire ecology by Native Americans until the 16th century death of most natives. Surviving natives continued using fire to clear savanna until European colonists began colonizing the eastern seaboard...

 to help the human population flourish.

Large mammals like mammoth
Mammoth
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus. These proboscideans are members of Elephantidae, the family of elephants and mammoths, and close relatives of modern elephants. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair...

s and mastodon
Mastodon
Mastodons were large tusked mammal species of the extinct genus Mammut which inhabited Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Central America from the Oligocene through Pleistocene, 33.9 mya to 11,000 years ago. The American mastodon is the most recent and best known species of the group...

s were largely extinct by around 8000 BCE. Native Americans switched to hunting other large game, such as bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

. The Great Plains tribes were still hunting the bison when they first encountered the Europeans. The Spanish reintroduction of the horse to North America in the 17th century and Native Americans' learning to use them greatly altered the natives' culture, including changing the way in which they hunted large game. (Evidence of pre-historic horses prior to the arrival of the Spanish has been found in the La Brea Tar Pits
La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits are a cluster of tar pits around which Hancock Park was formed, in the urban heart of Los Angeles. Asphaltum or tar has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years. The tar is often covered with water...

 in Los Angeles, CA.) In addition, horses became such a valuable, central element of Native lives that they were counted as a measure of wealth.

Organization



Gens structure


Early European American scholars described the Native Americans as having a society dominated by clans or gentes
Gens
In ancient Rome, a gens , plural gentes, referred to a family, consisting of all those individuals who shared the same nomen and claimed descent from a common ancestor. A branch of a gens was called a stirps . The gens was an important social structure at Rome and throughout Italy during the...

 (in the Roman model) before tribes were formed. There were some common characteristics:
  • The right to elect its sachem
    Sachem
    A sachem[p] or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms from different Eastern Algonquian languages...

     and chiefs.
  • The right to depose its sachem and chiefs.
  • The obligation not to marry in the gens.
  • Mutual rights of inheritance of the property of deceased members.
  • Reciprocal obligations of help, defense, and redress of injuries.
  • The right to bestow names on its members.
  • The right to adopt strangers into the gens.
  • Common religious rights, query.
  • A common burial place.
  • A council of the gens.

Tribal structure


Subdivision and differentiation took place between various groups. Upwards of forty stock languages developed in North America, with each independent tribe speaking a dialect of one of those languages. Some functions and attributes of tribes are:
  • The possession of the gentes.
  • The right to depose these sachems and chiefs.
  • The possession of a religious faith and worship.
  • A supreme government consisting of a council of chiefs.
  • A head-chief of the tribe in some instances.

Society and art



The Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

, living around the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 and extending east and north, used strings or belts called wampum
Wampum
Wampum are traditional, sacred shell beads of the Eastern Woodlands tribes of the indigenous people of North America. Wampum include the white shell beads fashioned from the North Atlantic channeled whelk shell; and the white and purple beads made from the quahog, or Western North Atlantic...

that served a dual function: the knots and beaded designs mnemonically chronicled tribal stories and legends, and further served as a medium of exchange and a unit of measure. The keepers of the articles were seen as tribal dignitaries.

Pueblo peoples crafted impressive items associated with their religious ceremonies. Kachina
Kachina
A kachina is a spirit being in western Pueblo cosmology and religious practices. The western Pueblo, Native American cultures located in the southwestern United States, include Hopi, Zuni, Tewa Village , Acoma Pueblo, and Laguna Pueblo. The kachina cult has spread to more eastern Pueblos, e.g....

dancers wore elaborately painted and decorated masks as they ritually impersonated various ancestral spirits. Sculpture was not highly developed, but carved stone and wood fetishes were made for religious use. Superior weaving, embroidered decorations, and rich dyes characterized the textile arts. Both turquoise and shell jewelry were created, as were high-quality pottery and formalized pictorial arts.

Navajo
Navajo people
The Navajo of the Southwestern United States are the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America. The Navajo Nation has 300,048 enrolled tribal members. The Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the...

 spirituality focused on the maintenance of a harmonious relationship with the spirit world, often achieved by ceremonial acts, usually incorporating sandpainting
Sandpainting
Sandpainting is the art of pouring colored sands, powdered pigments from minerals or crystals, and pigments from other natural or synthetic sources onto a surface to make a fixed, or unfixed sand painting...

. The colors—made from sand, charcoal, cornmeal, and pollen—depicted specific spirits. These vivid, intricate, and colorful sand creations were erased at the end of the ceremony.

Agriculture



An early crop the Native Americans grew was squash. Others early crops included cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, sunflower
Sunflower
Sunflower is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence . The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads...

, pumpkins, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, goosefoot, knotgrass, and sump weed.

Agriculture in the southwest started around 4,000 years ago when traders brought cultigens from Mexico. Due to the varying climate, some ingenuity was needed for agriculture to be successful. The climate in the southwest ranged from cool, moist mountains regions, to dry, sandy soil in the desert. Some innovations of the time included irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 to bring water into the dry regions and the selection of seed based on the traits of the growing plants that bore them. In the southwest, they grew beans that were self-supported, much like the way they are grown today.

In the east, however, they were planted right by corn in order for the vines to be able to "climb" the cornstalks. The most important crop the Native Americans raised was maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

. It was first started in Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 and spread north. About 2,000 years ago it reached eastern America. This crop was important to the Native Americans because it was part of their everyday diet; it could be stored in underground pits during the winter, and no part of it was wasted. The husk was made into art crafts, and the cob was used as fuel for fires. By 800 CE the Native Americans had established three main crops — beans, squash, and corn — called the three sisters
Three Sisters (agriculture)
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans ....

.

The agriculture gender roles of the Native Americans varied from region to region. In the southwest area, men prepared the soil with hoes
Hoe (tool)
A hoe is an ancient and versatile agricultural tool used to move small amounts of soil. Common goals include weed control by agitating the surface of the soil around plants, piling soil around the base of plants , creating narrow furrows and shallow trenches for planting seeds and bulbs, to chop...

. The women were in charge of planting, weeding, and harvesting the crops. In most other regions, the women were in charge of doing everything, including clearing the land. Clearing the land was an immense chore since the Native Americans rotated fields frequently. There is a tradition that Squanto
Squanto
Tisquantum was a Patuxet. He was the Native American who assisted the Pilgrims after their first winter in the New World and was integral to their survival. The Patuxet tribe was a tributary of the Wampanoag Confederacy.-Biography:Squanto's exact date of birth is unknown but many historians...

 showed the Pilgrims in New England how to put fish in fields to act like a fertilizer, but the truth of this story is debated. Native Americans did plant beans next to corn; the beans would replace the nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 which the corn took from the ground, as well as using corn stalks for support for climbing. Native Americans used controlled fires to burn weeds and clear fields; this would put nutrients back into the ground. If this did not work, they would simply abandon the field to let it be fallow, and find a new spot for cultivation.

Europeans in the eastern part of the continent observed that Natives cleared large areas for cropland. Their fields in New England sometimes covered hundreds of acres. Colonists in Virginia noted thousands of acres under cultivation by Native Americans.

Native Americans commonly used tools such as the hoe
Hoe (tool)
A hoe is an ancient and versatile agricultural tool used to move small amounts of soil. Common goals include weed control by agitating the surface of the soil around plants, piling soil around the base of plants , creating narrow furrows and shallow trenches for planting seeds and bulbs, to chop...

, maul
Sledgehammer
A sledgehammer is a tool consisting of a large, flat head attached to a lever . The head is typically made of metal. The sledgehammer can apply more impulse than other hammers, due to its large size. Along with the mallet, it shares the ability to distribute force over a wide area...

, and dibber
Dibber
A dibber or dibble is a pointed wooden stick for making holes in the ground so that seeds, seedlings or small bulbs can be planted. Dibbers come in a variety of designs including the straight dibber, T-handled dibber, trowel dibber, and L-shaped dibber....

. The hoe was the main tool used to till the land and prepare it for planting; then it was used for weeding. The first versions were made out of wood and stone. When the settlers brought iron, Native Americans switched to iron hoes and hatchets. The dibber was a digging stick, used to plant the seed. Once the plants were harvested, women prepared the produce for eating. They used the maul to grind the corn into mash. It was cooked and eaten that way or baked as corn bread.

Religion


Traditional Native American ceremonies are still practiced by many tribes and bands, and the older theological belief systems are still held by many of the "traditional" people. These spiritualities
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 may accompany adherence to another faith, or can represent a person's primary religious identity. While much Native American spiritualism exists in a tribal-cultural continuum, and as such cannot be easily separated from tribal identity itself, certain other more clearly defined movements have arisen among "traditional" Native American practitioners, these being identifiable as "religions" in the clinical sense. Traditional practices of some tribes include the use of sacred herbs such as tobacco, sweetgrass or sage
Leucophyllum
Leucophyllum is a genus of evergreen shrubs in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae, native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is sometimes placed in the family Myoporaceae...

. Many Plains tribes have sweatlodge ceremonies, though the specifics of the ceremony vary among tribes. Fasting, singing and prayer in the ancient languages of their people, and sometimes drumming
Native American music
American Indian music is the music that is used, created or performed by Native North Americans, specifically traditional tribal music. In addition to the traditional music of the Native American groups, there now exist pan-tribal and inter-tribal genres as well as distinct Indian subgenres of...

 are also common.

The Midewiwin Lodge is a traditional medicine society inspired by the oral traditions and prophesies of the Ojibwa
Ojibwa
The Ojibwe or Chippewa are among the largest groups of Native Americans–First Nations north of Mexico. They are divided between Canada and the United States. In Canada, they are the third-largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by Cree and Inuit...

 (Chippewa) and related tribes.

Another significant religious body among Native peoples is known as the Native American Church
Native American Church
Native American Church, a religious denomination which practices Peyotism or the Peyote religion, originated in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and is the most widespread indigenous religion among Native Americans in the United States...

. It is a syncretistic
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 church incorporating elements of Native spiritual practice from a number of different tribes as well as symbolic elements from Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. Its main rite is the peyote
Peyote
Lophophora williamsii , better known by its common name Peyote , is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline.It is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico...

 ceremony. Prior to 1890, traditional religious beliefs included Wakan Tanka
Wakan Tanka
In the Sioux way of life, Wakan Tanka is the term for "the sacred" or "the divine". This is usually translated as "The Great Spirit"...

. In the American Southwest, especially New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, a syncretism between the Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 brought by Spanish missionaries and the native religion is common; the religious drums, chants, and dances of the Pueblo people
Pueblo people
The Pueblo people are a Native American people in the Southwestern United States. Their traditional economy is based on agriculture and trade. When first encountered by the Spanish in the 16th century, they were living in villages that the Spanish called pueblos, meaning "towns". Of the 21...

 are regularly part of Masses
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 at Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and is the seat of . Santa Fe had a population of 67,947 in the 2010 census...

's Saint Francis Cathedral. Native American-Catholic syncretism is also found elsewhere in the United States. (e.g., the National Kateri Tekakwitha
Kateri Tekakwitha
Kateri Tekakwitha or Catherine Tekakwitha was a Mohawk-Algonquian woman from New York and an early convert to Catholicism, who has been beatified in the Roman Catholic Church.-Her life:...

 Shrine in Fonda, New York
Fonda, New York
Fonda is a village in Montgomery County, New York, United States. The population was 810 at the 2000 census. Fonda is the county seat of Montgomery County...

 and the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs
National Shrine of the North American Martyrs
The National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, also dedicated as the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, is a Roman Catholic shrine in Auriesville, New York dedicated to the Jesuit missionaries who were martyred at the Mohawk Indian village of Ossernenon between 1642 and 1646. St. Rene Goupil, a...

 in Auriesville, New York
Auriesville, New York
Auriesville is a hamlet in the northeastern part of the town of Glen in Montgomery County, New York, United States, along the south bank of the Mohawk River. It lies about forty miles west of Albany, the state capital. A Jesuit cemetery is located there....

).

The eagle feather law
Eagle feather law
The eagle feather law provides many exceptions to federal wildlife laws regarding eagles and other migratory birds to enable Native Americans to continue their traditional practices....

 (Title 50 Part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations) stipulates that only individuals of certifiable Native American ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally authorized to obtain eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

 feathers for religious or spiritual use. The law does not allow Native Americans to give eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

 feathers to non-Native Americans.

Gender roles


Gender roles were differentiated in most Native American tribes, and both had power in decisionmaking within the tribe. Many tribes, such as the Haudenosaunee Five Nations, had matrilineal
Matrilineality
Matrilineality is a system in which descent is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. Matrilineality is also a societal system in which one belongs to one's matriline or mother's lineage, which can involve the inheritance of property and/or titles.A matriline is a line of descent from a...

 systems, in which property and hereditary leadership were controlled by and passed through the maternal lines. Others were matriarchal
Matriarchy
A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership and moral authority. It is also sometimes called a gynocratic or gynocentric society....

, although several different systems were in use. In Cherokee and other matrilineal cultures, wives owned the family property. When young women married, their husbands joined them in their mother's household. This enabled the young women to have assistance for childbirth and rearing; it also protected her in case of conflicts between the couple. If they separated or the man was killed at war, the woman had her family to assist her. In addition, in matrilineal culture, the mother's brother was the leading male figure in a male child's life, as he mentored the child within the mother's clan. The husband had no standing in the clan, as he belonged to his own mother's clan. Hereditary clan chief positions passed through the mother's line, not the father's. Chiefs were selected on recommendation of women elders, who also could disapprove of a chief. There were sometimes peace chiefs and war chiefs. Men usually had the roles of hunting, waging war, and negotiating with other tribes, including the Europeans after their arrival.

Men hunted, traded and made war. The women had primary responsibility for the survival and welfare of the families (and future of the tribe); they gathered and cultivated plants, used plants and herbs to treat illnesses, cared for the young and the elderly, made all the clothing and instruments, and processed and cured meat and skins from the game. They tanned hides to make clothing as well as bags, saddle cloths, and tepee covers. Mothers used cradleboard
Cradleboard
Cradleboards are traditional protective baby-carriers used by many indigenous cultures in North America. There are a variety of styles of cradleboard, reflecting the diverse artisan practises of indigenous cultures...

s to carry an infant while working or traveling. In some (but not all) tribes, two-spirit
Two-Spirit
Two-Spirit People , is an English term that emerged in 1990 out of the third annual inter-tribal Native American/First Nations gay/lesbian American conference in Winnipeg. It describes Indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native...

 individuals served mixed, or third gender
Third gender
The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are categorized as neither man nor woman, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders...

, roles, sometimes with spiritual aspects

At least several dozen tribes allowed polygyny
Polygyny
Polygyny is a form of marriage in which a man has two or more wives at the same time. In countries where the practice is illegal, the man is referred to as a bigamist or a polygamist...

 to sisters, with procedural and economic limits.

Apart from making homes, women had many additional tasks that were also essential for the survival of the tribes. They made weapons and tools, took care of the roofs of their homes and often helped their men hunt bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

.
In some of the Plains Indian tribes, medicine women gathered herbs and cured the ill.

The Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

 girls were encouraged to learn to ride, hunt and fight. Though fighting was mostly left to the boys and men, occasionally women fought with them, especially if the tribe was severely threatened.

Sports


Native American leisure time led to competitive individual and team sports. Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe
Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe * Gerasimo and Whiteley. pg. 28 * americaslibrary.gov, accessed April 23, 2007. was an American athlete of mixed ancestry...

, Notah Begay III
Notah Begay III
Notah Ryan Begay III is an American professional golfer. He is the only full-blooded American Indian golfer on the PGA Tour. He is currently an analyst with the Golf Channel.-Amateur career:...

, Jacoby Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jacoby McCabe Ellsbury ; born September 11, 1983) is an American professional baseball center fielder with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball....

, and Billy Mills
Billy Mills
William Mervin Mills or "Billy" Mills, also known as Makata Taka Hela , is the second Native American to win an Olympic gold medal....

 are well known professional athletes.

Team based


Native American ball sports, sometimes referred to as lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

, stickball, or baggataway, was often used to settle disputes rather than going to war which was a civil way to settle potential conflict. The Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 called it ISITOBOLI ("Little Brother of War"); the Onondaga
Onondaga language
Onondaga Nation Language is the language of the Onondaga First Nation, one of the original five constituent tribes of the League of the Iroquois ....

 name was DEHUNTSHIGWA'ES ("men hit a rounded object"). There are three basic versions classifed as Great Lakes, Iroquoian, and Southern. The game is played with one or two rackets/sticks and one ball. The object of the game is to land the ball on the opposing team's goal (either a single post or net) to score and prevent the opposing team from scoring on your goal. The game involves as few as twenty or as many as 300 players with no height or weight restrictions and no protective gear. The goals could be from a few hundred feet apart to a few miles; in Lacrosse the field is 110 yards. A Jesuit priest referenced stickball in 1729, and George Catlin painted the subject.

Individual based


Chunkey
Chunkey
Chunkey is a game of Native American origin. It was played by rolling disc shaped stones across the ground and throwing spears at them in an attempt to place the spear as close to the stopped stone as possible...

 was a game that consisted of a stone shaped disk that was about 1–2 inches in diameter. The disk was thrown down a 200 feet (61 m) corridor so that it could roll past the players at great speed. The disk would roll down the corridor, and players would throw wooden shafts at the moving disk. The object of the game was to strike the disk or prevent your opponents from hitting it.

U.S. Olympics




Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe
Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe * Gerasimo and Whiteley. pg. 28 * americaslibrary.gov, accessed April 23, 2007. was an American athlete of mixed ancestry...

, a Sauk and Fox Native American, was an all-round athlete playing football and baseball in the early 20th century. Future President Dwight Eisenhower injured his knee while trying to tackle the young Thorpe. In a 1961 speech, Eisenhower recalled Thorpe: "Here and there, there are some people who are supremely endowed. My memory goes back to Jim Thorpe. He never practiced in his life, and he could do anything better than any other football player I ever saw."

In the 1912 Olympics, Thorpe could run the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, the 220 in 21.8 seconds, the 440 in 51.8 seconds, the 880 in 1:57, the mile in 4:35, the 120-yard high hurdles in 15 seconds, and the 220-yard low hurdles in 24 seconds. He could long jump 23 ft 6 in and high-jump 6 ft 5 in. He could pole vault
Pole vault
Pole vaulting is a track and field event in which a person uses a long, flexible pole as an aid to leap over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the ancient Greeks, as well as the Cretans and Celts...

 11 feet (3.4 m), put the shot
Shot put
The shot put is a track and field event involving "putting" a heavy metal ball—the shot—as far as possible. It is common to use the term "shot put" to refer to both the shot itself and to the putting action....

 47 in 9 in (14.55 m), throw the javelin
Javelin throw
The javelin throw is a track and field athletics throwing event where the object to be thrown is the javelin, a spear approximately 2.5 metres in length. Javelin is an event of both the men's decathlon and the women's heptathlon...

 163 feet (49.7 m), and throw the discus
Discus throw
The discus throw is an event in track and field athletics competition, in which an athlete throws a heavy disc—called a discus—in an attempt to mark a farther distance than his or her competitors. It is an ancient sport, as evidenced by the 5th century BC Myron statue, Discobolus...

 136 feet (41.5 m). Thorpe entered the U.S. Olympic trials for both the pentathlon and the decathlon.

Billy Mills
Billy Mills
William Mervin Mills or "Billy" Mills, also known as Makata Taka Hela , is the second Native American to win an Olympic gold medal....

, a Lakota and USMC
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 officer, won the gold medal in the 10,000 meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics
1964 Summer Olympics
The 1964 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Tokyo, Japan in 1964. Tokyo had been awarded with the organization of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but this honor was subsequently passed to Helsinki because of Japan's...

. He was the only American ever to win the Olympic gold in this event. An unknown prior to the Olympics, Mills finished second in the U.S. Olympic trials.

Billy Kidd
Billy Kidd
William Winston "Billy" Kidd is a former alpine ski racer, a member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1962-70 and a pro racer from 1970-72...

, part Abenaki from Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

, became the first American male to medal in alpine skiing
Alpine skiing
Alpine skiing is the sport of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. Alpine skiing can be contrasted with skiing using free-heel bindings: Ski mountaineering and nordic skiing – such as cross-country; ski jumping; and Telemark. In competitive alpine skiing races four...

 in the Olympics, taking silver at age 20 in the slalom
Slalom skiing
Slalom is an alpine skiing discipline, involving skiing between poles spaced much closer together than in Giant Slalom, Super-G or Downhill, thereby causing quicker and shorter turns.- Origins :...

 in the 1964 Winter Olympics
Alpine skiing at the 1964 Winter Olympics
Alpine skiing at the 1964 Winter Olympics consisted of six events, held near Innsbruck, Austria, from January 30 to February 7, 1964.The men's downhill was held on Patscherkofel , the other five events at Axamer Lizum....

 at Innsbruck, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.
Six years later at the 1970 World Championships, Kidd won the gold medal in the combined
Alpine skiing combined
Combined is an alpine skiing event. Although not technically a discipline of its own, it is sometimes referred to as a fifth alpine discipline, along with downhill, super G, giant slalom, and slalom.-Traditional & Super-Combined:...

 event and took the bronze medal in the slalom.

Music and art


Traditional Native American music
Native American music
American Indian music is the music that is used, created or performed by Native North Americans, specifically traditional tribal music. In addition to the traditional music of the Native American groups, there now exist pan-tribal and inter-tribal genres as well as distinct Indian subgenres of...

 is almost entirely monophonic
Texture (music)
In music, texture is the way the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic materials are combined in a composition , thus determining the overall quality of sound of a piece...

, but there are notable exceptions. Native American music often includes drum
Drum
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments, which is technically classified as the membranophones. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a...

ming and/or the playing of rattles or other percussion instruments but little other instrumentation. Flutes
Native American flute
The Native American flute has achieved some measure of fame for its distinctive sound, used in a variety of New Age and world music recordings. The instrument was originally very personal; its music was played without accompaniment in courtship, healing, meditation, and spiritual rituals. Now it...

 and whistles made of wood, cane, or bone are also played, generally by individuals, but in former times also by large ensembles (as noted by Spanish conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 de Soto
Hernando de Soto (explorer)
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River....

). The tuning of these flutes is not precise and depends on the length of the wood used and the hand span of the intended player, but the finger holes are most often around a whole step apart and, at least in Northern California, a flute was not used if it turned out to have an interval close to a half step.

Performers with Native American parentage have occasionally appeared in American popular music, such as Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson, OC; is a Canadian singer-songwriter, and guitarist. He is best known for his membership as the guitarist and primary songwriter within The Band. He was ranked 59th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time...

 (The Band), Rita Coolidge
Rita Coolidge
Rita Coolidge is a multiple Grammy Award-winning American vocalist. During the 1970s and 1980s, she charted hits on Billboard's Pop, Country, Adult Contemporary and Jazz charts.-Career:...

, Wayne Newton
Wayne Newton
Wayne Newton is an American singer and entertainer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He performed over 30,000 solo shows in Las Vegas over a period of over 40 years, earning him the nicknames The Midnight Idol, Mr. Las Vegas and Mr. Entertainment...

, Gene Clark
Gene Clark
Gene Clark, born Harold Eugene Clark was an American singer-songwriter, and one of the founding members of the folk-rock group The Byrds....

, Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie, OC is a Canadian Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire includes...

, Blackfoot
Blackfoot (band)
Blackfoot is a Southern rock musical ensemble from Jacksonville, Florida organized during 1970. Though they are primarily a Southern rock band, they were known also as a hard rock act....

, Tori Amos
Tori Amos
Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument...

, Redbone
Redbone (band)
Redbone is a Native American rock group that was most active in the 1970s. They reached the Top 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974 with the million-selling gold-certified single, "Come and Get Your Love".-History:...

, and CocoRosie
CocoRosie
CocoRosie is a musical group formed in 2003 by sisters Bianca "Coco" and Sierra "Rosie" Casady. The sisters were born and raised in the United States, but formed the band in Paris after meeting for the first time in years...

. Some, such as John Trudell
John Trudell
John Trudell is a Native American-Mexican author, poet, actor, musician, and former political activist. He was the spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes' takeover of Alcatraz beginning in 1969, broadcasting as Radio Free Alcatraz...

, have used music to comment on life in Native America, and others, such as R. Carlos Nakai
R. Carlos Nakai
Raymond Carlos “R.” Nakai is a Native American flautist of Navajo/Ute heritage.-Biography:Born Ray Carlos Nakai, in Flagstaff, Arizona, he released his first album, Changes, in 1983...

 integrate traditional sounds with modern sounds in instrumental recordings. A variety of small and medium-sized recording companies offer an abundance of recent music by Native American performers young and old, ranging from pow-wow drum music to hard-driving rock-and-roll and rap.

The most widely practiced public musical form among Native Americans in the United States is that of the pow-wow. At pow-wow
Pow-wow
A pow-wow is a gathering of North America's Native people. The word derives from the Narragansett word powwaw, meaning "spiritual leader". A modern pow-wow is a specific type of event where both Native American and non-Native American people meet to dance, sing, socialize, and honor American...

s, such as the annual Gathering of Nations
Gathering of Nations
The Gathering of Nations is one of the largest Pow-wows in the United States. It is held annually the fourth weekend in April, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over 500 tribes from around the United States and Canada travel to Albuquerque to participate...

 in Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, members of drum groups sit in a circle around a large drum. Drum groups play in unison while they sing in a native language and dancers in colorful regalia dance clockwise around the drum groups in the center. Familiar pow-wow songs include honor songs, intertribal songs, crow-hops, sneak-up songs, grass-dances, two-steps, welcome songs, going-home songs, and war songs. Most indigenous communities in the United States also maintain traditional songs and ceremonies, some of which are shared and practiced exclusively within the community.

Native American art comprises a major category in the world art collection. Native American contributions include pottery
Native American pottery
Native American pottery is an art form with at least a 7500-year history in the Americas. Pottery is fired ceramics with clay as a component. Ceramics are used for utilitarian cooking vessels, serving and storage vessels, pipes, funerary urns, censers, musical instruments, ceremonial items, masks,...

, painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

s, jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

, weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

s, sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, basketry, and carvings
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

. Franklin Gritts
Franklin Gritts
Franklin Gritts, also known as Oau Nah Jusah, or They Have Returned, was a Cherokee artist best known for his contributions to the "Golden Era" of Native American art, both as a teacher and an artist....

 was a Cherokee artist who taught students from many tribes at Haskell Institute (now Haskell Indian Nations University
Haskell Indian Nations University
Haskell Indian Nations University is a tribal university located in Lawrence, Kansas, for members of federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States...

) in the 1940s, the Golden Age of Native American painters. The integrity of certain Native American artworks is protected by an act of Congress that prohibits representation of art as Native American when it is not the product of an enrolled Native American artist.

Economy


The Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

, or Eskimo
Eskimo
Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

, prepared and buried large amounts of dried meat and fish. Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 tribes crafted seafaring dugouts 40–50 feet long for fishing. Farmers in the Eastern Woodlands tended fields of maize with hoes and digging sticks, while their neighbors in the Southeast grew tobacco as well as food crops. On the Plains, some tribes engaged in agriculture but also planned buffalo hunts in which herds were driven over bluffs. Dwellers of the Southwest deserts hunted small animals and gathered acorns to grind into flour with which they baked wafer-thin bread on top of heated stones. Some groups on the region's mesas developed irrigation techniques, and filled storehouses with grain as protection against the area's frequent droughts.

In the early years, as these native peoples encountered European explorers and settlers and engaged in trade, they exchanged food, crafts, and furs for blankets, iron and steel implements, horses, trinkets, firearms, and alcoholic beverages.

Barriers to economic development



Today, other than tribes successfully running casinos, many tribes struggle, as they are often located on reservations isolated from the main economic centers of the country. The estimated 2.1 million Native Americans are the most impoverished of all ethnic groups. According to the 2000 Census, an estimated 400,000 Native Americans reside on reservation land. While some tribes have had success with gaming, only 40% of the 562 federally recognized tribes operate casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

s. According to a 2007 survey by the U.S. Small Business Administration, only 1% of Native Americans own and operate a business. Native Americans rank at the bottom of nearly every social statistic: highest teen suicide rate of all minorities at 18.5 per 100,000, highest rate of teen pregnancy, highest high school drop-out rate at 54%, lowest per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

, and unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 rates between 50% to 90%. Many Native Americans have become urbanized to survive, moving to urban centers in the states where their reservations are, or out of state. Others have entered academic and political fields that take them away from the reservations.

The barriers to economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

 on Native American reservations have been identified by Joseph Kalt and Stephen Cornell of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development was founded in 1987 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University...

 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, in their report: What Can Tribes Do? Strategies and Institutions in American Indian Economic Development (2008), are summarized as follows:
  • Lack of access to capital.
  • Lack of human capital (education, skills, technical expertise) and the means to develop it.
  • Reservations lack effective planning.
  • Reservations are poor in natural resources.
  • Reservations have natural resources, but lack sufficient control over them.
  • Reservations are disadvantaged by their distance from markets and the high costs of transportation.
  • Tribes cannot persuade investors to locate on reservations because of intense competition from non-Native American communities.
  • The Bureau of Indian Affairs
    Bureau of Indian Affairs
    The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

     is inept, corrupt, and/or uninterested in reservation development.
  • Tribal politicians and bureaucrats are inept or corrupt.
  • On-reservation factionalism destroys stability in tribal decisions.
  • The instability of tribal government keeps outsiders from investing. (Many tribes adopted constitutions by the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act
    Indian Reorganization Act
    The Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 the Indian New Deal, was U.S. federal legislation that secured certain rights to Native Americans, including Alaska Natives...

     model, with two-year terms for elected positions of chief and council members deemed too short by the authors for getting things done)
  • Entrepreneurial skills and experience are scarce.
  • Tribal cultures get in the way.


A major barrier to development is the lack of entrepreneurial knowledge and experience within Indian reservations. “A general lack of education and experience about business is a significant challenge to prospective entrepreneurs,” was the report on Native American entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur, which can be defined as "one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods". This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response...

 by the Northwest Area Foundation in 2004. “Native American communities that lack entrepreneurial traditions and recent experiences typically do not provide the support that entrepreneurs need to thrive. Consequently, experiential entrepreneurship education needs to be embedded into school curricula and after-school and other community activities. This would allow students to learn the essential elements of entrepreneurship from a young age and encourage them to apply these elements throughout life.”. Rez Biz
Rez Biz
Rez Biz is the title of an American monthly magazine initially distributed in Arizona and New Mexico. The magazine is targeted to Native Americans who are interested in running their own businesses and seeking success stories. Its goal is to improve the economic living conditions of Native Americans...

magazine addresses these issues.

Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans


Interracial relations between Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans is a complex issue that has been mostly neglected with "few in-depth studies on interracial relationships". Some of the first documented cases of European/Native American intermarriage and contact were recorded in Post-Columbian Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. One case is that of Gonzalo Guerrero
Gonzalo Guerrero
Gonzalo Guerrero was a sailor from Palos, in Spain who shipwrecked along the Yucatán Peninsula and was taken as a slave by the local Maya. Earning his freedom, Guerrero became a respected warrior under a Maya Lord and raised three of the first mestizo children in Mexico...

, a European from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, who was shipwrecked along the Yucatan Peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel...

, and fathered three Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 children with a Mayan noblewoman. Another is the case of Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 and his mistress La Malinche
La Malinche
La Malinche , known also as Malintzin, Malinalli or Doña Marina, was a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, who played a role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico, acting as interpreter, advisor, lover and intermediary for Hernán Cortés...

, who gave birth to another of the first multi-racial people in the Americas.

Native Americans and assimilation acceptance with Europeans


European impact was immediate, widespread, and profound—more than any other race that had contact with Native Americans during the early years of colonization and nationhood. Europeans living among Native Americans were often called "white indians". They "lived in native communities for years, learned native languages fluently, attended native councils, and often fought alongside their native companions."

Early contact was often charged with tension and emotion, but also had moments of friendship, cooperation, and intimacy. Marriages took place in English, Spanish, and French colonies between Native Americans and Europeans. Given the preponderance of men among the colonists in the early years, generally European men married American Indian women. The higher-ranking classes chose women of equivalent class, to create alliances with influential Indian families. In 1528, Isabel de Moctezuma, an heir of Moctezuma II
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

, was married to Alonso de Grado, a Spanish Conquistador. After his death, the widow married Juan Cano de Saavedra
Juan Cano de Saavedra
Don Juan Cano de Saavedra was a Spanish conquistador from Cáceres in Extremadura.At age 18, Cano travelled to the New World and took part in Pánfilo de Narváez's expedition against Hernán Cortés...

. Together they had five children. Many heirs of Emperor Moctezuma II
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

 were acknowledged by the Spanish crown, who granted them many titles including Duke of Moctezuma de Tultengo
Duke of Moctezuma de Tultengo
Duke of Moctezuma de Tultengo is a hereditary title in the Spanish nobility held by a line of descendants of Emperor Moctezuma II, the ninth Tlatoani, or ruler, of Tenochtitlan. Since 1766 the title has been attached to a Grandeza de España, or a place in the Spanish peerage — the highest honor...

.

On April 5, 1614, Pocahontas
Pocahontas
Pocahontas was a Virginia Indian notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. She was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, the head of a network of tributary tribal nations in Tidewater Virginia...

 married the Englishman John Rolfe
John Rolfe
John Rolfe was one of the early English settlers of North America. He is credited with the first successful cultivation of tobacco as an export crop in the Colony of Virginia and is known as the husband of Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Confederacy.In 1961, the Jamestown...

. They had a child called Thomas Rolfe
Thomas Rolfe
Thomas Rolfe was the only child of Pocahontas by her English husband, John Rolfe. His maternal grandfather was Wahunsunacock, the chief of Powhatan tribe in Virginia.-Early Life:Thomas Rolfe was born in Virginia...

. Intimate relations among Native American and Europeans were widespread, beginning with the French and Spanish explorers and trappers. For instance, in the early 19th century, the Native American woman Sacagawea
Sacagawea
Sacagawea ; was a Lemhi Shoshone woman, who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition, acting as an interpreter and guide, in their exploration of the Western United States...

, who would help translate for the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Lewis and Clark Expedition, or ″Corps of Discovery Expedition" was the first transcontinental expedition to the Pacific Coast by the United States. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson and led by two Virginia-born veterans of Indian wars in the Ohio Valley, Meriwether Lewis and William...

, was married to the French-Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau
Toussaint Charbonneau
Toussaint Charbonneau was a French-Canadian explorer and trader, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He is also known as the husband of Sacagawea.-Early years:...

. They had a son named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau was an American explorer and guide, fur trapper and trader, military scout during the Mexican-American War, alcalde of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, and a gold prospector and hotel operator in California. He spoke French and English, and learned German and Spanish...

. This was the most typical pattern among the traders and trappers.
There was fear on both sides, as the different peoples realized how different their societies were. The whites regarded the Indians as "savage" because they were not Christian. They were suspicious of cultures which they did not understand. The Native American author, Andrew J. Blackbird, wrote in his History of the Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 and Chippewa Indians of Michigan,
(1897), that white settlers introduced some immoralities into Native American tribes. Many Indians suffered because the Europeans introduced alcohol and the whiskey trade resulted in alcoholism among the people, who were alcohol-intolerant.

Blackbird wrote:

"The Ottawas and Chippewas were quite virtuous in their primitive state, as there were no illegitimate children reported in our old traditions. But very lately this evil came to exist among the Ottawas-so lately that the second case among the Ottawas of 'Arbor Croche' is yet living in 1897. And from that time this evil came to be quite frequent, for immorality has been introduced among these people by evil white persons who bring their vices into the tribes."


The U. S. government had two purposes when making land agreements with Native Americans: to open it up more land for white settlement. and to ease tensions between whites and Native Americans by forcing Natives to use the land in the same way as did the whites - for subsistence farms. The government used a variety of strategies to achieve these goals; many treaties required Native Americans to become farmers in order to keep their land. Government officials often did not translate the documents which Native Americans were forced to sign, and native chiefs often had little or no idea what they were signing.

For a Native American man to marry a white woman, he had to get consent of the parents, as long as "he can prove to support her as a white woman in a good home". In the early 19th century, the Shawnee
Shawnee
The Shawnee, Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, are an Algonquian-speaking people native to North America. Historically they inhabited the areas of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania...

 Tecumseh and blonde hair & blued eyed Rebbecca Galloway had a inter-racial affair. In the late 19th century, three European-American middle-class women teachers at Hampton Institute married Native American men whom they had met as students.
As European-American women started working independently at missions and Indian schools in the western states, there were more opportunities for their meeting and developing relationships with Native American men. For instance, Charles Eastman
Charles Eastman
Charles Alexander Eastman was a Native American physician, writer, national lecturer, and reformer. He was of Santee Sioux and Anglo-American ancestry...

, a man of European and Lakota descent whose father sent both his sons to Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

, got his medical degree at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

 and returned to the West to practice. He married Elaine Goodale
Elaine Goodale
Elaine Goodale Eastman and Dora Read Goodale were American poets and sisters, who published their first poetry as children still living at home, and were included in Edmund Clarence Stedman's classic An American Anthology .Elaine Goodale taught at the Indian Department of Hampton Institute,...

, whom he met in South Dakota. He was the grandson of Seth Eastman, a military officer from Maine, and a chief's daughter. Goodale was a young European-American teacher from Massachusetts and a reformer, who was appointed as the US superintendent of Native American education for the reservations in the Dakota Territory. They had six children together.

Native American and African relations


African and Native Americans have interacted for centuries. The earliest record of Native American and African contact occurred in April 1502, when Spanish colonists transported the first Africans to Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 to serve as slaves.

Sometimes Native Americans resented the presence of African Americans. The "Catawaba tribe in 1752 showed great anger and bitter resentment when an African American came among them as a trader." The Cherokee had the strongest color prejudice of all Native Americans to gain favor with Europeans. He contends that because of European fears of a unified revolt of Native Americans and African Americans, the colonists encouraged hostility between the ethnic groups: "Whites sought to convince Native Americans that African Americans worked against their best interests." In 1751, South Carolina law stated:

"The carrying of Negroes among the Indians has all along been thought detrimental, as an intimacy ought to be avoided."
In addition, in 1758 the governor of South Carolina James Glen wrote:
it has always been the policy of this government to create an aversion in them Indians to Negroes.
Europeans considered both races inferior and made efforts to make both Native Americans and Africans enemies. Native Americans were rewarded if they returned escaped slaves, and African Americans were rewarded for fighting in the late nineteenth-century Indian Wars
Indian Wars
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America before and after the American Revolutionary War. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who...

.

"Native Americans, during the transitional period of Africans becoming the primary race enslaved, were enslaved at the same time and shared a common experience of enslavement. They worked together, lived together in communal quarters, produced collective recipes for food, shared herbal remedies, myths and legends, and in the end they intermarried." Because of a shortage of men due to warfare, many tribes encouraged marriage between the two groups, to create stronger, healthier children from the unions.

In the 18th century, many Native American women married freed or runaway
Runaway Slave
Runaway Slave is the debut album from Hip Hop duo Showbiz and A.G., members of legendary New York crew D.I.T.C..-Album information:The effort was a highly praised underground release, but didn't sell strong numbers...

 African men due to a decrease in the population of men in Native American villages. Records show that many Native American women bought African men but, unknown to the European sellers, the women freed and married the men into their tribe. When African men married or had children by a Native American woman, their children were born free, because the mother was free (according to the principle of partus sequitur ventrum, which the colonists incorporated into law.)

European colonists often required the return of runaway slaves to be included as a provision in treaties with American Indians. In 1726, the British Governor of New York exacted a promise from the Iroquois to return all runaway slaves who had joined up with them. In the mid 1760s, the government requested the Huron and Delaware to return runaway slaves, but there was no record of slaves having been returned. Colonists placed ads about runaway slaves.

While numerous tribes used captive enemies as servants and slaves, they also often adopted younger captives into their tribes to replace members who had died. In the Southeast, a few Native American tribes began to adopt a slavery system similar to that of the American colonists, buying African American slaves, especially the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, and Creek. Though less than 3% of Native Americans owned slaves, divisions grew among the Native Americans over slavery. Among the Cherokee, records show that slave holders in the tribe were largely the children of European men that had showed their children the economics of slavery. As European colonists took slaves into frontier areas, there were more opportunities for relationships between African and Native American peoples.

Based on the work of geneticists, a PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 series on African Americans explained that while most African Americans are racially mixed, it is relatively rare that they have Native American ancestry. According to the PBS series, the most common "non-black" mix is English and Scots-Irish. However, the Y-chromosome and mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) testing processes for direct-line male and female ancestors can fail to pick up the heritage of many ancestors. (Some critics thought the PBS series did not sufficiently explain the limitations of DNA testing for assessment of heritage.) Another study suggests that relatively few Native Americans have African-American heritage. A study reported in The American Journal of Human Genetics stated, "We analyzed the European genetic contribution to 10 populations of African descent in the United States (Maywood, Illinois; Detroit; New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans; and Houston) ... mtDNA haplogroups analysis shows no evidence of a significant maternal Amerindian contribution to any of the 10 populations." A few writers persist in the myth that most African Americans have Native American heritage.

DNA testing has limitations and should not be depended on by individuals to answer all their questions about heritage. So far, such testing cannot distinguish among the many distinct Native American tribes. No tribes accept DNA testing to satisfy their differing qualifications for membership, usually based on documented blood quantum or descent from ancestor(s) listed on the Dawes Rolls
Dawes Rolls
The Dawes Rolls were created by the Dawes Commission. The Commission, authorized by United States Congress in 1893, was required to negotiate with the Five Civilized Tribes to convince them to agree to an allotment plan and dissolution of the reservation system...

.

Blood Quantum



Intertribal mixing was common among Native American tribes, so individuals often had ancestry from more than one tribe, particularly after tribes lost so many members from disease. Bands or entire tribes occasionally split or merged to form more viable groups in reaction to the pressures of climate, disease and warfare. A number of tribes traditionally adopted captives into their group to replace members who had been captured or killed in battle. These captives were from rival tribes and later from European settlements. Some tribes also sheltered or adopted white traders and runaway slaves, and others owned slaves of their own. Tribes with long trading histories with Europeans show a higher rate of European admixture, reflecting years of intermarriage between European men and Native American women. A number of paths to genetic and ethnic diversity among Native Americans existed.

In recent years, genetic genealogists have been able to determine the proportion of Native American ancestry carried by the African-American population. The literary and history scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., is an American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. He was the first African American to receive the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for his teaching, research, and...

 had experts on his TV programs about African-American ancestry. They stated that 5% of African Americans have at least 12.5% Native American ancestry. A greater percentage could have a smaller proportion of Indian ancestry, but their conclusions show that popular estimates of admixture may have been too high.

DNA testing is not sufficient to qualify a person for specific tribal membership as it cannot distinguish among Native American groups.

Native American identity has historically been based on culture, not just biology, as many American Indian peoples adopted captives from their enemies and assimilated them into their tribes. The Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism (IPCB) notes that:
"Native American markers" are not found solely among Native Americans. While they occur more frequently among Native Americans, they are also found in people in other parts of the world.

Geneticists state:
Not all Native Americans have been tested; especially with the large number of deaths due to disease such as small pox, it is unlikely that Native Americans only have the genetic markers they have identified, even when their maternal or paternal bloodline does not include a non-Native American.


To receive tribal services, a Native American must belong to, and be certified by, a recognized tribal organization. Each tribal government makes its own rules for eligibility of citizens or tribal members. The federal government has standards related to services available to certified Native Americans. For instance, federal scholarships for Native Americans require the student to be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe and have at least one-quarter Native American descent (equivalent to one grandparent), attested to by a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood
Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood
A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or Certificate of Degree of Alaska Native Blood is an official U.S. document that certifies an individual possesses a specific degree of Native American blood of a federally recognized Indian tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community...

 (CDIB) card. Among tribes, qualification may be based upon a required percentage of Native American "blood" (or the "blood quantum") of an individual seeking recognition, or documented descent from an ancestor on the Dawes Rolls
Dawes Rolls
The Dawes Rolls were created by the Dawes Commission. The Commission, authorized by United States Congress in 1893, was required to negotiate with the Five Civilized Tribes to convince them to agree to an allotment plan and dissolution of the reservation system...

 or other registers.

Some tribes have begun requiring genealogical DNA test
Genealogical DNA test
A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a person's DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. The test results are not meant to have any informative medical value and do not determine specific genetic diseases or disorders ; they are intended only to give genealogical...

ing, but this is usually related to an individual's proving parentage or direct descent from a certified member. Requirements for tribal membership vary widely by tribe. The Cherokee require documented genealogical descent from a Native American listed on the early 1906 Dawes Rolls
Dawes Rolls
The Dawes Rolls were created by the Dawes Commission. The Commission, authorized by United States Congress in 1893, was required to negotiate with the Five Civilized Tribes to convince them to agree to an allotment plan and dissolution of the reservation system...

. Tribal rules regarding recognition of members who have heritage from multiple tribes are equally diverse and complex.

Tribal membership conflicts have led to a number of legal disputes, court cases, and the formation of activist groups. One example of this are the Cherokee Freedmen. Today, they include descendants of African Americans once enslaved by the Cherokees, who were granted, by federal treaty, citizenship in the historic Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation (19th century)
The Cherokee Nation of the 19th century —an historic entity —was a legal, autonomous, tribal government in North America existing from 1794–1906. Often referred to simply as The Nation by its inhabitants, it should not be confused with what is known today as the "modern" Cherokee Nation...

 as freedmen after the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The modern Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the United States. It was established in the 20th century, and includes people descended from members of the old Cherokee Nation who relocated voluntarily from the Southeast to Indian Territory and Cherokees who...

, in the early 1980s, excluded them from citizenship, unless individuals can prove descent from a Cherokee Native American (not Cherokee Freedmen) listed on the Dawes Rolls.

Since the 20th century, an increasing number of European-Americans seem interested in claiming descent from Native Americans. Many people have claimed descent from the Cherokee.




Population


In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about 0.8% of the U.S. population was of American Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 or Alaska Native descent. This population is unevenly distributed across the country. Below, all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are listed by the proportion of residents citing American Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 or Alaska Native ancestry, based on 2006 estimates:
In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about less than 1.0% of the U.S. population was of Native Hawaiian
Native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.According to the U.S...

 or Pacific Islander
Pacific Islander American
Pacific Islander Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, are residents of the United States with original ancestry from Oceania. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United States population...

 descent. This population is unevenly distributed across 26 states. Below, are the 26 states that had at least 0.1%. They are listed by the proportion of residents citing Native Hawaiian
Native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.According to the U.S...

 or Pacific Islander
Pacific Islander American
Pacific Islander Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, are residents of the United States with original ancestry from Oceania. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United States population...

 ancestry, based on 2006 estimates:

Population distribution


by Selected Tribal Grouping:2000
Tribal grouping American and Alaska Native alone American and Alaska Native alone American Indian and Alaska Native in combination with one or more races American Indian and Alaska Native in combination with one or more races American Indian and Alaska Native tribal grouping alone or in any combination
Tribal grouping One tribal grouping reported More than one tribal grouping reported One tribal grouping reported More than one tribal grouping reported
Total 2,423,531 52,425 1,585,396 57,949 4,119,301
Apache 57,060 7,917 24,947 6,909 96,833
Blackfeet 27,104 4,358 41,389 12,899 85,750
Cherokee 281,069 18,793 390,902 38,769 729,533
Cheyenne 11,191 1,365 4,655 993 18,204
Chickasaw 20,887 3,014 12,025 2,425 38,351
Chippewa 105,907 2,730 38,635 2,397 149,669
Choctaw 87,349 9,552 50,123 11,750 158,774
Colville 7,833 193 1,308 59 9,393
Comanche 10,120 1,568 6,120 1,568 19,376
Cree 2,488 724 3,577 945 7,734
Creek 40,223 5,495 21,652 3,940 71,310
Crow 9,117 574 2,812 891 13,394
Delaware 8,304 602 6,866 569 16,341
Houma 6,798 79 1,794 42 8,713
Iroquois 45,212 2,318 29,763 3,529 80,822
Kiowa 8,559 1,130 2,119 434 12,242
Latin American Indian 104,354 1,850 73,042 1,694 180,940
Lumbee 51,913 642 4,934 379 57,868
Menominee 7,883 258 1,551 148 9,840
Navajo 269,202 6,789 19,491 2,715 298,197
Osage 7,658 1,354 5,491 1,394 15,897
Ottawa 6,432 623 3,174 448 10,677
Paiute 9,705 1,163 2,315 349 13,532
Pima 8,519 999 1,741 234 11,493
Potawatomi 15,817 592 8,602 584 25,595
Pueblo 59,533 3,527 9,943 1,082 74,085
Puget Sound Salish 11,034 226 3,212 159 14,631
Seminole 12,431 2,982 9,505 2,513 27,431
Shoshone 7,739 714 3,039 534 12,026
Sioux 108,272 4,794 35,179 5,115 153,360
Tohono O’odham 17,466 714 1,748 159 20,087
Ute 7,309 715 1,944 417 10,385
Yakama 8,481 561 1,619 190 10,851
Yaqui 15,224 1,245 5,184 759 22,412
Yuman 7,295 526 1,051 104 8,976
Other specified American Indian tribes 240,521 9,468 100,346 7,323 357,658
American Indian tribe, not specified2 109,644 57 86,173 28 195,902
Alaska Athabascan 14,520 815 3,218 285 18,838
Aleut 11,941 832 3,850 355 16,978
Eskimo 45,919 1,418 6,919 505 54,761
Tlingit-Haida 14,825 1,059 6,047 434 22,365
Other specified Alaska Native tribes 2,552 435 841 145 3,973
Alaska Native ribe, not specified2 6,161 370 2,053 118 8,702
American Indian or Alaska Native tribes, not specified3 511,960 (X) 544,497 (X) 1,056,457

Genetics



Genetic history of indigenous peoples of the Americas primarily focus on Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups
Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups
In human genetics, a Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in the non-recombining portions of DNA from the Y chromosome ....

 and Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups
Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups
In human genetics, a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in human mitochondrial DNA. Haplogroups are used to represent the major branch points on the mitochondrial phylogenetic tree...

. "Y-DNA" is passed solely along the patrilineal line, from father to son, while "mtDNA" is passed down the matrilineal line, from mother to offspring of both sexes. Neither recombines
Genetic recombination
Genetic recombination is a process by which a molecule of nucleic acid is broken and then joined to a different one. Recombination can occur between similar molecules of DNA, as in homologous recombination, or dissimilar molecules, as in non-homologous end joining. Recombination is a common method...

, and thus Y-DNA and mtDNA change only by chance mutation at each generation with no intermixture between parents' genetic material. Autosomal
Autosome
An autosome is a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome, or allosome; that is to say, there is an equal number of copies of the chromosome in males and females. For example, in humans, there are 22 pairs of autosomes. In addition to autosomes, there are sex chromosomes, to be specific: X and Y...

 "atDNA" markers are also used, but differ from mtDNA or Y-DNA in that they overlap significantly. AtDNA is generally used to measure the average continent-of-ancestry genetic admixture
Genetic admixture
Genetic admixture occurs when individuals from two or more previously separated populations begin interbreeding. Admixture results in the introduction of new genetic lineages into a population. It has been known to slow local adaptation by introducing foreign, unadapted genotypes...

 in the entire human genome
Human genome
The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is stored on 23 chromosome pairs plus the small mitochondrial DNA. 22 of the 23 chromosomes are autosomal chromosome pairs, while the remaining pair is sex-determining...

 and related isolated populations
Population bottleneck
A population bottleneck is an evolutionary event in which a significant percentage of a population or species is killed or otherwise prevented from reproducing....

.

The genetic pattern indicates Indigenous Americans experienced two very distinctive genetic episodes; first with the initial-peopling of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, and secondly with European colonization of the Americas
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

. The former is the determinant factor for the number of gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

 lineages, zygosity
Zygosity
Zygosity refers to the similarity of alleles for a trait in an organism. If both alleles are the same, the organism is homozygous for the trait. If both alleles are different, the organism is heterozygous for that trait...

 mutations and founding haplotype
Haplotype
A haplotype in genetics is a combination of alleles at adjacent locations on the chromosome that are transmitted together...

s present in today's Indigenous Amerindian populations
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

.

Human settlement of the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 occurred in stages from the Bering sea coast line
Bering Sea
The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

, with an initial 15, 000 to 20,000-year layover on Beringia for the small founding population
Founder effect
In population genetics, the founder effect is the loss of genetic variation that occurs when a new population is established by a very small number of individuals from a larger population. It was first fully outlined by Ernst Mayr in 1942, using existing theoretical work by those such as Sewall...

. The micro-satellite diversity and distributions of the Y lineage specific to South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 indicates that certain Amerindian populations have been isolated since the initial colonization of the region. The Na-Dené, Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and Indigenous Alaskan
Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

 populations exhibit haplogroup Q (Y-DNA)
Haplogroup Q (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup Q is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup Q is one of the two branches of haplogroup P . Haplogroup Q is believed to have arisen in Central Asia approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. It has had multiple origins proposed...

 mutations, however, that are distinct from other indigenous Amerindians, and that have various mtDNA and atDNA mutations. This suggests that the paleo-Indian migrants into the northern extremes of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 were descended from a later, independent migrant population.

See also



  • Aboriginal peoples in Canada
    Aboriginal peoples in Canada
    Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

  • Alaska natives
    Alaska Natives
    Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

  • American Indian College Fund
    American Indian College Fund
    The American Indian College Fund is an nonprofit organization that helps Native American students, providing them with support through scholarships and funding toward higher education...

  • American Indian elder
    American Indian elder
    In American Indian education, within each tribe elders, "are repositories of cultural and philosophical knowledge and are the transmitters of such information," including, "basic beliefs and teachings, encouraging...faith in the Great Spirit, the Creator"...

  • Native Americans in children's literature
    Native Americans in children's literature
    Native Americans have been featured in numerous volumes of children's literature. Some have been authored by non-indigenous writers, while others have been written or contributed to by native authors.-Children’s literature about American Indians:...

  • Native Americans in popular culture
    Native Americans in popular culture
    The portrayal of Native Americans in popular culture has traditionally oscillated between the fascination with the noble savage who lives in harmony with nature and their depiction as uncivilized "bad guys" in the traditional Western genre....

  • Portrayal of Native Americans in Film
    Portrayal of Native Americans in film
    The portrayal of Native Americans in film has been contentious, raising allegations of racism. Traditionally, the Native American archetype has been that of a violent, uncivilized villain, juxtaposed next to the archetypal hero: the virtuous, white Anglo-Saxon settler...

  • List of company and product names derived from indigenous peoples
  • Indian Campaign Medal
    Indian Campaign Medal
    The Indian Campaign Medal is a decoration established by War Department General Orders 12, 1907. The medal was retroactively awarded to any soldier of the U.S...

  • Indian Claims Commission
    Indian claims commission
    The Indian Claims Commission was a judicial panel for relations between the United States Federal Government and Native American tribes. It was established in 1946 by the United States Congress to hear claims of Indian tribes against the United States...

  • Indian massacre
  • Indian old field
    Indian old field
    Indian Old Field, or simply Old Field, was a common term used in Colonial American times and up until the early 19th century United States, by white explorers, surveyors, cartographers and settlers, in reference to land formerly cleared and utilized by Indians for farming or occupation...

  • Indian Reorganization Act
    Indian Reorganization Act
    The Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 the Indian New Deal, was U.S. federal legislation that secured certain rights to Native Americans, including Alaska Natives...

  • Indian Territory
    Indian Territory
    The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

  • Inter-Tribal Environmental Council
    Inter-Tribal Environmental Council
    The Inter-Tribal Environmental Council was set up in 1992 to protect the health of Native Americans, their natural resources and environment. To accomplish this ITEC provides technical support, training and environmental services in a variety of disciplines. Currently, there are over forty ITEC...

     (ITEC)
  • List of English words from indigenous languages of the Americas
  • List of Indian reservations in the United States
  • List of Native Americans of the United States
  • List of pre-Columbian civilizations
  • List of sports team names and mascots derived from indigenous peoples
  • List of unrecognized tribes in the United States
  • State recognized tribes in the United States
  • List of writers from peoples indigenous to the Americas
  • Modern social statistics of Native Americans
    Modern social statistics of Native Americans
    Modern social statistics of Native Americans serve as defining characteristics of Native American life, and can be compared to the average United States citizens’ social statistics. Areas from their demographics and economy to health standards, drug and alcohol use, and land use and ownership all...

  • Native American civil rights
  • Native American mythology
    Native American mythology
    Native American mythology is the body of traditional narratives associated with Native American religion from a mythographical perspective. Native American belief systems include many sacred narratives. Such spiritual stories are deeply based in Nature and are rich with the symbolism of seasons,...

  • Native American pottery
    Native American pottery
    Native American pottery is an art form with at least a 7500-year history in the Americas. Pottery is fired ceramics with clay as a component. Ceramics are used for utilitarian cooking vessels, serving and storage vessels, pipes, funerary urns, censers, musical instruments, ceremonial items, masks,...

  • Native American tribes in Nebraska
    Native American tribes in Nebraska
    Native American tribes in the U.S. state of Nebraska have been Plains Indians, who have a history of varying cultures occupying the area for thousands of years. More than 15 tribes have been identified as having lived in, hunted in, or otherwise occupied territory within the current state boundaries...

  • Outline of United States federal indian law and policy
    Outline of United States federal Indian law and policy
    Law and U.S. public policy related to Native Americans has evolved continuously since the founding of the United States. This outline lists notable people, organizations, events, legislation, treaties, court cases and literature related to United States Federal Indian Law and Policy.-U.S. Supreme...

  • Population history of American indigenous peoples
    Population history of American indigenous peoples
    The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

  • Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations
    Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations
    Title 25 is the portion of the Code of Federal Regulations that governs Government-to-Government relations with Native American tribes within the United States. It is available in digital or printed form.-External links:*...

  • Title 25 of the United States Code
    Title 25 of the United States Code
    Title 25 of the United States Code outlines the role of Indians in the United States Code.—Bureau of Indian Affairs—Officers of Indian Affairs—Indian Claims Commission—Agreements With Indians—Performance by United States of Obligations to Indians—Protection of Indians—Government of Indian Country...

  • Treaties of the United States 


Further reading


  • Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience 1875–1928, University Press of Kansas, 1975. ISBN 0-7006-0735-8 (hbk); ISBN 0-7006-0838-9 (pbk).
  • Bierhorst, John. A Cry from the Earth: Music of North American Indians. ISBN 0-941270-53-X.
  • Deloria, Vine
    Vine Deloria, Jr.
    Vine Deloria, Jr. was an American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist. He was widely known for his book Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto , which helped generate national attention to Native American issues in the same year as the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement...

    . 1969. Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
    Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
    Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, is a 1969, non-fiction book by the lawyer, professor and writer Vine Deloria, Jr. The book was noteworthy for its relevance to the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement and other activist organizations, such as the American Indian Movement, which was beginning...

    .
    New York: Macmillan.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR), Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries Part 22-Eagle permits
  • Hirschfelder, Arlene B.; Byler, Mary G.; & Dorris, Michael. Guide to research on North American Indians. American Library Association (1983). ISBN 0-8389-0353-3.
  • Johnston, Eric F. The Life of the Native American, Atlanta, GA: Tradewinds Press (2003).
  • Johnston, Eric. The Life Of the Native. Philadelphia, PA: E.C. Biddle, etc. 1836–44. University of Georgia Library.
  • Jones, Peter N. Respect for the Ancestors: American Indian Cultural Affiliation in the American West. Boulder, CO: Bauu Press (2005). ISBN 0-9721349-2-1.
  • Nichols, Roger L. Indians in the United States & Canada, A Comparative History. University of Nebraska Press (1998). ISBN 0-8032-8377-6.
  • Krech, Shepard. The Ecological Indian: Myth and History, New York: W.W. Norton, 1999. 352 p. ISBN 0-393-04755-5
  • Sletcher, Michael, "North American Indians", in Will Kaufman and Heidi Macpherson, eds., Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, 2 vols.
  • Sturtevant, William C. (Ed.). Handbook of North American Indians
    Handbook of North American Indians
    The Handbook of North American Indians is a monographic series of edited scholarly and reference volumes in Americanist studies, published by the Smithsonian Institution beginning in 1978. To date, fifteen volumes have been published...

    (Vol. 1–20). Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution. (Vols. 1–3, 16, 18–20 not yet published), (1978–present).
  • Tiller, Veronica E. (Ed.). Discover Indian Reservations USA: A Visitors' Welcome Guide. Foreword by Ben Nighthorse Campbell
    Ben Nighthorse Campbell
    Benjamin Nighthorse Campbell is an American politician. He was a U.S. Senator from Colorado from 1993 until 2005 and was during his tenure the only American Indian serving in the U.S. Congress. Campbell was a three term U.S. Representative from 1987 to 1993, when he was sworn into office as a...

    . Denver, CO: Council Publications, 1992. ISBN 0-9632580-0-1.


External links