Native American

The term Native American is generally considered a catch-all phrase for the indigenous peoples of the Americas, though depending on the context it may simply mean those that lived on the land of the current United States of America. The leading theory on how the Native Americans came to live on this land is that they migrated across the Bering Strait on a temporary land bridge called Beringia. The exact time frame of this exodus is not certain, but a range from 15,000 to 9,000 years ago can be generally agreed upon by experts.

These newly arrived peoples came following herds of bison; they were hunter-gatherers who primarily fed on the meat of these great beasts. Their culture was the foundation of most of the future indigenous civilizations of the Americas, some of whom continued to nomadically follow buffalo across the Great Plains, while others settled down and developed agricultural and aqua cultural methods of life. The nomadic tribes of Native Americans were vital in spreading culture, technology, and languages between different peoples.

The arrival of Europeans caused the greatest changes in Native American life in the long history of these peoples. First contact caused the spread of new diseases like smallpox that wiped out huge percentages of whole populations, which in some cases, such as the Aztecs, caused weakness that allowed European explorers to become conquerors. The introduction of horses changed many Native American cultures for the better, but this came with more and more settlers who needed additional land to grow. Eventually most Native American land was confined to government endowed reservations, though most indigenous tribes became so integrated with European settlers that, while they do maintain some of their traditions, they have become another part of the Melting Pot that is the United States.

American Indian Topics

Native American Indians

American Indian Art

Southwestern Resources

Indians Misc.

American Indians