Questions tagged [native-americans]

The native peoples of North America, sometimes referred to as American Indians or First Nations.

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1 answer
223 views

How might I use a number written over portrait image to help identify the person or tribe, if Indigenous Indian?

I have just concluded having my mother's extensive family photo collection digitized for use in our family tree and for the family's general use. Our mother passed away in 1989, so we waited too long ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Why was Hannah Ocuish believed to have been mentally disabled?

Hannah Ocuish was a 12 year old Native American girl who had the dubious honor in 1786 of being the youngest female to be legally executed in the United States, allegedly for murdering another girl ...
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In the US Constitution, did the Three-Fifths Compromise apply to Native Americans?

In the U.S. Constitution, the Three-Fifths Compromise is part of Article 1, Section 2, clause 3. It says: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be ...
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Do the Federalist papers ever mention the Native Americans in any substantative way?

The Federalist Papers were written by Madison, Jay and Hamilton to support the then proposed constitution of the USA starting in October 1787 in response to articles critical of the constitution. A ...
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During the Indian removal were native Americans fed rotten food and taken through diseased areas?

In 1993 Stannard wrote a book called American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World. In it, Stannard mentions (page 124) the Indian marches where they ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Was "leather" really a technology introduced by Europeans to the Plains Indians?

I was watching a university lecture about the Comanche called "Nomads in the Tribal Zone: Conflict and Compromise in 18th Century New Mexico". The lecturer said that leather was one of the ...
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What was so good about the 19th Century Osage police?

I was recently directed to an article written by Historian Art Burton for a police publication about policing in late 19th Century Indian Territory. I got interested in this due to a family story ...
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9 votes
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What was the first instance of native Americans using gunpowder weapons in battle and did they ever make their own powder?

I am afraid to ask this question too broadly but I would be very happy to get answers that included conflicts not just in the Americas. For example, India had superior rockets to those of the British ...
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4 votes
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When and why was the 55th parallel established as an administrative boundary in Quebec?

I was looking at Canadian election maps, and noticed the Manicouagan riding had weird exclaves formed between the 55th parallel and the Quebec-Labrador provincial border. When extended to Hudson Bay, ...
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How did the Indian Appropriation Act of March 3, 1871 pass into law?

Many histories (including the Wikipedia article) state that Congress passed the Indian Appropriation Act of March 3, 1871. Did President Grant ever sign this law? I'm trying to figure out how it ...
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Is the Native American relationship with colonists described in 'In the Days of Poor Richard' historically accurate?

I was reading In the Days of Poor Richard by Irving Bacheller (the full book can be viewed here). At the beginning of the book, there is a long paragraph describing the main character that goes like ...
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What's the origin of the legend that this rock formation in America had a 12th century Welsh Origin?

There is a Welsh legend/myth that America was discovered by a Welshman named Madoc the Great, in the 12th century. His Wikipedia page reads the same but also that there isn't any conclusive evidence ...
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What would have been the signal that Pontiac would have given to attack in Fort Detroit?

In the Siege of Detroit, Pontiac had 300 warriors but did not give the "signal" to attack (07 MAY 1763 before the actual siege started). I have found references that a wampum belt was ...
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Was the Native American population already decimated before settlers and conquistadors arrived in America?

My understanding (which I am stating in case you find it errant) is that while there were no domesticable animals in the Americas, the East had a history of many plagues received from livestock ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Did any native US-Canadian tribes have written language before the advent of the Europeans?

I know some peoples in more southern parts of the Americas had forms of written language, however, I was unsure as to whether this is something that had also developed among groups living in modern ...
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Who were the 'Water People of North America' and what do we know about them?

I stumbled upon a website showing fascinating water structures in North America. Unfortunately it does not say much about the culture which built these and only speculates about the potential usages ...
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What systems of opression did colonial South America utilized to acculturate indigenous peoples, compared to the ones used in North America? [closed]

After reading and writing about boarding schools (and prisons) of acculturation here in North America, where Indigenous peoples were forced into Western ways, I am left wondering: Did these systems ...
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What does "Quivira" refer to? [closed]

I've found this term "Quivira", both here and in an old journal by some explorer published in the 1500s. What I'm confused about if is "Quivira" is a term that was applied to the ...
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What events led to the Aztecs and Mayans adopting cocoa beans as a currency?

I read how the Aztec Empire and the Mayans used cocoa beans as a currency but bartered before hand. I know records for these civilizations are rare, but do we have any record of certain historical ...
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1 answer
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Why is the term "Ancestral Puebloans" used and not simply "Puebloans"?

I have seen various history textbooks use the term "Ancestral Puebloans" in referring to the a group who lived in the American Southwest prior to circa 1500. Most books say hese people dispersed and ...
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What made California Indian baskets so good?

"California Indians were among the world's most sophisticated basket makers", according to Steven Hackel in Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis. Descriptions of the baskets emphasize the ...
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Why did the United States Army force Nez Perce to give up their own land?

I'm wondering why United States Army coerced the Nez Perce to give up their own land which had violated the 1855 Treaty of Walla Walla. What I wanted to know is the reason why this had happened, ...
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1 answer
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Where was the Ixcanha Maya community located during the Caste War of the Yucatán?

There is mention of a Mayan community of about a thousand people during the Caste War of the Yucatán who refused to break with the Catholic Church. I am trying to figure out where their community was ...
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Why have population maps indicated a stark divide in population density of the United States on either side ot the 100th Meridian? [closed]

Every time I look at a map of the United States coloured by something proportional to population density, I see a stark vertical line going from northeast North Dakota, through SD, NE, KS, OK, and ...
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What is the name of this song about taking Cherokee land?

I am teaching a lesson about the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears and I have seen many articles about these events quote this excerpt from a song that Georgian settlers sung: All I ask in this ...
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Is there any first-hand evidence of intentional spreading of disease among natives in the Pacific Northwest?

I was working as an interpreter at a city park, and was giving a guided tour of the coast. Because the north end of the city is where an old Native wintering village was, and the outline of it was ...
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Where are the Native American primary source documents?

I am currently looking into Crow Mythology and every website I've seen says essentially "The Native Americans thought of the crow as X". But "NATIVE AMERICANS" is too broad a category! Where are they ...
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Any truth to this story of Native American journeying to England?

In "A New Voyage to Carolina", John Lawson, British Surveyor-General of North Carolina, asserts that some natives once attempted to journey themselves all the way to England as an attempt to cut out ...
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Are there any hypotheses on how the Dorset people disappeared?

I read an article about how anthropologists have discovered artifacts from an ancient Arctic culture known as the Dorset that disappeared centuries ago and were the precursors to the Inuit in the ...
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1 answer
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What were the main centres of population in South America in 1500 AD?

I'm especially interested in the areas outside the Andes, but a general overview of known sites of urbanisation in the continent in that era would be great. Edit for clarification: Various articles ...
3 votes
4 answers
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Were there any Native American tribes that had more than a strategic alliance with the Confederates?

Background I have been trying to read more on Native American history in the United States. While it seems to be a lot more multidimensional that I initially thought, the general trend of "the ...
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When did Europeans realize Native Americans had weaker immunity to Old World diseases?

The question is fairly simple: when did Europeans come to a general knowledge that the Native Americans had weak immunity specifically to Old World diseases? I'm looking for the first person to ...
14 votes
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Who was Chief Poking Fire?

Is there any information about who was Chief Poking Fire? He was the chief of Kahnawake reservation close to Montreal (Canada). On all the pictures he looks like a person with European descent. Is ...
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1 answer
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Is there a population density map of pre-Columbian South America?

I have found such maps for North America, e.g. this one: But never for the southern continent. The goal is a broad overview. How many Lokono were there, compared to the Mapuche (and the Cree for that ...
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1 answer
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What are the occurences of total war in the Native Americans?

In this article from Wikipedia, a war between the Pawnees on one side, and the Sioux and Cheyennes on the other side, is represented. It is claimed this war was a total war because the "non fighters" ...
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10 votes
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What is the brown doll on Nicolás de Ovando's desk?

Nicolás de Ovando (1460-1511) was Spanish governor of the Indies (Hispaniola) before the age of the viceroyalties. In this anonymous portrait from Wikipedia, work materials are artfully arranged ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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What did indigenous North Americans trade amongst themselves before Europeans arrived?

Once the colonial era began around 1500 or 1600, Europeans and Native Americans started trading. As far as I'm aware, the principal trade was beaver pelts in exchange for iron axes. But I'm ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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When did the Ciboney arrive on Cuba and displace the Guanahatabey?

Finding the answer to this question the conventional way is stumping my Google fu, as many sources describe Guanahatabey and Ciboney as synonymous. I am referring to the hunter-gatherer Guanahatabey, ...
6 votes
2 answers
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When did Mesoamericans stop using their native weapons?

Indigenous warriors of today's Mexico used atlatl spear-throwers and obsidian-bladed hand weapons such as tepoztopilli and macuahuitl. According to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, these arms were formidable ...
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Did pre-Columbian Americans know the spherical shape of the Earth?

The Maya are known for their astronomy and mathematics, most notably their famous calculation of the length of a year. I was surprised to learn that they supported a flat Earth model, though to be ...
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Why did Europeans call Native Americans Indians in the 18th Century AD, After they had found out they were in the wrong continent?

Why did European people continue to call Native Americans as Indians even after they found out they were not Indians? Question was inspired by Louis Ck's stand up bit. Based on what I know: ...
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What major Native American tribes were around Santa Fe during the late 1850s?

This question is rather basic and self-explanatory, yet I can't find answers to it when I look it up. I would appreciate if someone could give me at least 2-3 tribes which were around the Santa Fe ...
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Are there any histories of indigenous Americans who were taken to Europe?

I have read brief accounts of indigenous Americans who were taken to Europe in the wake of Columbus's arrival, including a family of Inuit who were taken to meet Elizabeth I but died shortly after ...
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How far did climate affect civilisation development in the Americas?

The shapes and orientations of Eurasia and Africa result in the former having larger regions of similar climate. This video discusses the hypothesis that: regions of similar climate can more readily ...
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Did Woodland period Native Americans seek/value gold prior to European Colonization?

Did Native Americans actively or passively seek out and/or value gold prior to the arrival of Europeans? Presumably they were not actively mining for gold. But did they seek it out (perhaps in river ...
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Why is the name "Tecumseh" used for US Navy ships?

It is common practice to name warships after historical heroes of a nation. The US Navy had four vessel named USS Tecumseh Two of them were tugboats, but the other two were a then-cutting-edge ...
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5 votes
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What were the native North American concepts of property rights and market exchange?

I just saw a documentary about the colonial time in North America and how the Lenape people sold the Delaware valley to Europeans. In this program a current Lenape "chieftain" claimed that ...
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In epic migrations, why keep going?

Over time human cultures tend to naturally migrate, influenced by various push and pull factors. According to the gravity model of migration and specifically the concept of distance decay, very few of ...
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Has there ever been a major migration from the New World to the Old World? If not, why?

Considerable research has been done on the ancient migration of humans from Northeast Asia to the Americas. Between that and Columbus, there were a few smaller migration events from elsewhere in the ...
2 votes
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Were Iroquois mourning rituals unique?

A section of the Wikipedia article discussing the culture of the Iroquois states the following: ...Since it was believed that the death of a family member also weakened the spiritual strength of ...
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