Questions tagged [native-americans]

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

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18
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1answer
2k views

What were the indigenous populations of California before American settlement began to peak?

When studying Native American history, California's indigenous peoples are always noted as being far more diverse than the rest of the nation. While the number of distinct languages is generally given,...
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1answer
520 views

Do we have any authentic Native American flute music from the 18th century or earlier?

Just wondering if any actual music from Native Americans was recorded (written record, transcribed to some kind of sheet music) by Europeans, in the 18th century or earlier. I'm especially interested ...
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Were Arctic communities aware how different daylight cycles were elsewhere?

At extreme latitudes, what we would think of as the typical day/night cycle becomes very different. The sun remains continuously visible for one day during the summer solstice at the polar circle, ...
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3answers
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Why did Native Americans originally migrate to the Americas?

Native Americans migrated to America around 13000 or 15000 years ago just around the last ice age. I read that during the first wave of migration, they used the Beringia strait to travel across from ...
5
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2answers
335 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
292 views

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 ...
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7answers
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To what extent did Native American cultures develop metalworking for tools and weapons?

When Europeans started showing up in the New World, the native cultures were technologically far behind. Many still used stone tools: North American tribes used flint, while some Mesoamerican cultures ...
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4answers
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Is there a genetic link between North America and Vikings?

Is there any evidence of Viking genetics in the North East American Indian population? There is a blue eye trait in some East Coast tribes, especially the Iroquoian tribe of the Cherokee.
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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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4answers
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Did any Native Americans make tomahawks from metal?

I'm curious about the evolution of the tomahawk among (North American) Native American peoples like the Algonquin. I assume early versions of the tomahawk had the head made from stone (please correct ...
4
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1answer
361 views

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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4answers
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Why were North American indigenous peoples underdeveloped?

During the Pre-Columbian period of the New World the Incas, Aztecs, Mayans, and many more civilizations roamed the land of south North America and all of South America. They were far more advanced and ...
5
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1answer
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What was the estimated population of the Mississippi Valley before contact with Europeans?

According to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel (p. 211), the Mississippi Valley used to contain populous Indian societies: When we in the United States think of the most populous New World ...
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2answers
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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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0answers
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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 ...
3
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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 ...
11
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1answer
427 views

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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9answers
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Why did Native Americans die from European diseases while Europeans didn't catch serious diseases from the New World?

Why did Native Americans die of European diseases while Europeans didn't have serious diseases from the New World? I read that most Native American victims of colonization in the new world died of ...
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1answer
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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 ...
7
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2answers
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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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4answers
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Is this accusation in the Declaration of Independence factual?

In the Declaration of Independence, one of the "Wrongs of King George" is: He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the ...
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Why were Navajo code talkers used during WW2?

In history class, we are covering WW2. On the topic of code-talking, Native American language usage was mentioned, but nothing was said about cryptography. An online search did not come up with any ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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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 ...
4
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1answer
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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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2answers
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Did the US gov't pay the Cherokee for their lands in Georgia?

According to the Treaty of New Echota, ratified by the US Senate in 1836, the US government was supposed to pay the Cherokee Nation $5 million for their lands in and around Georgia. In exchange, the ...
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3answers
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How did people dress at the Jesuit missions to the Hurons?

The Jesuits established a number of missions among the Huron people of what is today Ontario during the 1600s. Unlike many other proselytizing groups of that era, the Jesuits were known for ...
9
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1answer
458 views

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 ...
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2answers
226 views

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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2answers
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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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3answers
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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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0answers
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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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8answers
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Did Native Americans ever fight the indigenous people living in Mexico before Europeans arrived?

From elementary school, my history teacher used to talk about the fighting between native American tribes. Then, later in the semester, we would briefly discuss the rise of Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, etc....
20
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3answers
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Why did the Native American city of Cahokia die out?

From AD 600-1400, the Mississippian native Americans had a massive city near the present site of St. Louis, MO. It was one of the world's largest cities at the time, and was the largest pre-Columbian ...
3
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4answers
388 views

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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1answer
137 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
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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 ...
13
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1answer
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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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3answers
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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 ...
10
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1answer
242 views

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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2answers
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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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2answers
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How did Americans know to use smallpox infected blankets, before germ theory?

How did Americans know that Native Americans would be infected with smallpox, from smallpox infected blankets, hundreds of years before germ theory?
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0answers
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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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1answer
306 views

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, ...
12
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2answers
354 views

Did the Tlingits benefit from resisting the Russians more than other Alaskan tribes?

The Russian-American Company had ongoing problems with the Tlingit (Kolosh) people living near its colonial headquarters. In other words, the Tlingits resisted incursion more effectively than other ...
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2answers
335 views

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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2answers
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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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10answers
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Why does Latin America have a higher number of surviving Native Americans than North America?

Despite having the same disease susceptibility and technological inferiority against the Europeans, it seems that Native Americans have much more surviving descendants in Latin America compared to ...