Questions tagged [native-americans]

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

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102
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7answers
39k views

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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5answers
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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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Why is Christopher Columbus credited for “discovering” America?

Even if we ignore the millions of native Americans who lived in the continent before Columbus "discovered" it, even if we ignore other civilizations (eg: Polynesians, Phoenicians, Chinese, Arabs, etc.)...
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What are the factors that caused the new world civilizations to be less technologically advanced than the old world?

Assuming they started at the same point (maybe the split of the continents or the migration of what became the first "Native Americans" to the American continent), why did the Old World end up ...
32
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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 ...
32
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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....
32
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7answers
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What describes the average pre-colonial NA Native American lifestyle (across several tribes)?

Late last night I found myself in a remarkable argument with my partner - she, growing up in Idaho, had been taught that Native Americans, regardless of tribe, generally lived short, brutish, savage ...
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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 ...
28
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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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2answers
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Was there a European response to the trail of tears?

This question is pretty straightforward. While looking into Victorian British beliefs about Americans and American history I began to wonder about European attitudes toward American Indians; and more ...
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Was the concept of religious freedom in the early United States applied to native American faiths?

When the nascent United States was drafting and adopting its supreme laws, several references to religion were made. For example, in the Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an ...
23
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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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Before the Land Bridge Theory, how was human presence in the Americas explained?

The Land Bridge Theory argues that humans crossed over to Alaska from Siberia, via a land bridge created by glaciation. The theory developed in the 1930s and became the popularly accepted explanation ...
19
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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 ...
18
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1answer
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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
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What did Native Americans know, or speculate, about the Old world?

When Columbus "discovered" the New World, the Old World had little to no knowledge of it. What little was known was perhaps Greenland, and - based on accurate knowledge of the size of the world - a ...
17
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1answer
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Why did civilisation/city states never take root in Australia and North America?

I recently read that the Australian Aborigines numbered close to a million during the time of Botany Bay and comprised of ~250 tribes/nations. The Native Americans of North America also boasted ...
17
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1answer
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What historical evidence do we have regarding the Lost Colony of Roanoke?

In grade school, Americans are told a very basic story of Roanoke colony. A group of colonists arrive in the New World and establish the colony. The first American of English descent is born there: ...
16
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How densely populated were the Americas prior to European colonization?

I had a conversation with an individual recently about how unusual it was that there were so few individuals who appeared to be Native American in North America today. (I say appear since no doubt ...
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895 views

New World Sickness

When Europeans came to the Americas, they brought with them "Old World diseases" that decimated the Native American population. There's a big list of them here. Were there any "New World" diseases ...
16
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1answer
419 views

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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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 ...
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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" ...
14
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1answer
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Was there any genuine debate in the pre-1860 United States regarding Native American sovereignty?

The United States treated Native American tribes as sovereign states. Relations with various tribes were governed by a series of (often broken) treaties. At the same time, however, general ...
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1answer
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Did Native Americans sabotage telegraph lines running through their territory?

In the 1800s in the Western US, there were a number of telegraph lines running through territory mostly inhabited by Indians. Did they ever sabotage the lines?
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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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1answer
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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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How many acres per person were needed for the early American settlers vs. the native Americans?

Clearly the lifestyle of the native peoples of North America was less intensive than that of the European settlers and thus required more land per person. However, theirs was not exclusively a hunter-...
12
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2answers
316 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 ...
12
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1answer
177 views

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 ...
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2answers
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How is it that King Philips War devastated the colonists so much, but the Colonists were not driven out?

King Philips War, or Metacom's War if you will, was pretty devastating to the Northeast Colonies in the pre-United States - yet even after this the tribes that could have realized that the English and ...
11
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2answers
396 views

Why were bows referred to as “Indian Artillery”?

So, I recently asked a question about dueling with bows. The top answer for that included an account in The Scottish Journal which described bows and arrows as "Indian Artillery", which is a ...
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3answers
768 views

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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3answers
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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 ...
9
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1answer
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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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1answer
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Did the US government officially apologize for Indian Removal Act and Native American Indian genocide?

Have the US government officially apologized for Indian Removal Act and Native American Indian genocide? If yes, could you provide more information when did it happen and who (which president or ...
9
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1answer
445 views

Who were the Deer Touchers?

About 20 years ago I read an article in a periodical (can't remember which periodical) about a tribe of natives (I believe they were North American) who had a tradition of touching live deer. They ...
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4answers
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Did native Mexicans prefer Spanish rulers to the Aztecs?

In his letter to Charles V, Hernan Cortes states that "it was only necessary to threaten to return them [the natives] to their native masters in order to make them serve the Spaniards very willingly." ...
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2answers
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Pre-columbus, what tools did Native Americans use to shave their heads and faces?

I have read that before Columbus, the Native Americans only had stone axes to cut down trees. The Europeans traded them metal axes in exchange for beaver furs. The metal axes cut down trees much ...
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2answers
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Why did Ancient Pueblo peoples build their homes in cliffs?

The Ancient Pueblo peoples are known for their cliff dwellings found throughout the American Southwest, in places like Mesa Verde, Bandelier, Montezuma Castle, and the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Why did ...
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2answers
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How did Europeans really conquer the Americas? [closed]

In school we (US centric students) were taught that the european settlers won over the Native Americans due to our superior technology (aka guns) and the native american's susceptibility to our ...
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5answers
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Why were North Native Americans less urban than Central or South?

I was taught that the Native Americans (both North, then South) primarily came down from Canada from what is now Russia. Whether or not that is true, why did the Native American civilizations from the ...
8
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1answer
209 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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0answers
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How much did Native Americans steal from the Pilgrims? [closed]

In Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford mentions one instance of Native Americans stealing Pilgrims' tools while they were eating dinner. The tools were later returned after negotiating with ...
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2answers
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Did any Native Americans adopt a script from Europe (before being assimilated)?

As far as I know, no Native Americans developed their own written language. (Correct me if I'm wrong. There may have been some numeral systems, but that's all I'm aware of.) So now I'm wondering if ...
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3answers
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Did Native-Americans Have Horses? [closed]

So I was reading my history text, and it states that horses were likely hunted to extinction in North America. However, many movies and books display Native-Americans as in-tune-with-nature horse-...
7
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5answers
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Why didn't Native Americans have big sailing ships?

Many European and East Asian powers had very large sailing ships: clippers, junks and the like. Polynesians had sailing capacity, although theirs ships weren't as large. Why didn't Native Americans ...
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2answers
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Did non-Indians go into Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)?

From 1854 to 1907 there was a territory reserved for American Indians (aptly named "Indian Territory") in what is now the state of Oklahoma. How exclusive was this territory? Did non-Indians go ...
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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 ...
7
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2answers
428 views

Why Californian Indian leader Estanislao was named after Polish martyr?

Researching for Polish people dealing with Indians during 19th century, I've found out about Estanislao, one of Yokuts' leaders, who led different groups of Californian Indian rebels against Mexican ...