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Native Americans

Culture and Overview
Timeline of Native American History
Agriculture and Food
Native American Art
American Indian homes and Dwellings
Homes: The Teepee, Longhouse, and Pueblo
Native American Clothing
Entertainment
Religion
Mythology and Legends
Glossary and Terms

Tribes
Tribes and Regions
Apache Tribe
Cherokee Tribe
Chickasaw
Inuit
Iroquois Indians
Navajo Nation
Pueblo
Seminole
Sioux Nation

People
Famous Native Americans
Chief Joseph
Pocahontas
Sacagawea
Sitting Bull
Maria Tallchief
Tecumseh
Jim Thorpe

Back to History for Kids

People lived in the United States long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the Europeans. These people and cultures are called Native Americans. This page is an overview of Native Americans who lived in the United States. More details can be found in the links at the bottom of the page.

Blackfeet Plains Indians on horseback


Indigenous Peoples

The first people to live in a land are called indigenous peoples. This means they were the original settlers. The Native Americans are the indigenous peoples and cultures of the United States.

American Indians

Sometimes these peoples are referred to as Indians or American Indians. This is because when Columbus had first landed in America, he thought he had sailed all the way to to the country of India. He called the locals Indians and the name stuck for some time.

Where did they live?

Native Americans lived throughout North and South America. In the United States there were Native Americans in Alaska, Hawaii, and the mainland of the United States. Different tribes and cultures lived in different areas. In the middle of the country lived the Plains Indians, including tribes such as the Comanche and Arapaho. In the Southeast area of the country lived tribes such as the Cherokee and the Seminole.

Tribes

The Native Americans were grouped into tribes or nations usually based on the area they lived in and their culture such as their religion, customs, and language. Sometimes smaller tribes were part of a bigger tribe or nation. As best as historians can tell, these tribes were fairly peaceful prior to the arrival of Columbus and the Europeans.

There were hundreds of tribes throughout the United States when Columbus first arrived. Many of them are well known such as the Cherokee, Apache, and the Navajo. To learn more about these tribes, check out the links at the bottom of this page.

How do we know about their history?

The Native Americans did not write down or record their history, so we have to find out about their history in other ways. Today archeologists are able to learn a lot about past cultures by digging up artifacts such as tools and weapons. Much of what we know comes from the recordings of the first Europeans to arrive. We can also learn from traditions and stories that have been passed down within the tribes from generation to generation.

Native Americans Today

Today, some of the descendants of the original American Indians live on reservations. These are areas of land set aside specifically for Native Americans. This helps to protect their heritage and culture. However, only around 30% live on reservations. The rest live outside the reservations just like anyone else.

Recommended books and references:

  • If You Lived with the Iroquois by Ellen Levine. 1998.
  • Apache: American Indian Art and Culture by Heather Kissock and Jordan McGill. 2011.
  • The Cherokee by Petra Press. 2002.
  • Indians of the Great Plains: Traditions, History, Legends, and Life by Lisa Sita. 1997.
  • Native Homes by Bobby Kalman. 2001.
  • The Navajo Nation by Sandra M. Pasqua. 2000.


  • Take a ten question quiz at the Native American questions page.

    For more Native American history:

    Culture and Overview
    Timeline of Native American History
    Agriculture and Food
    Native American Art
    American Indian homes and Dwellings
    Homes: The Teepee, Longhouse, and Pueblo
    Native American Clothing
    Entertainment
    Religion
    Mythology and Legends
    Glossary and Terms

    Tribes
    Tribes and Regions
    Apache Tribe
    Cherokee Tribe
    Chickasaw
    Inuit
    Iroquois Indians
    Navajo Nation
    Pueblo
    Seminole
    Sioux Nation

    People
    Famous Native Americans
    Chief Joseph
    Pocahontas
    Sacagawea
    Sitting Bull
    Maria Tallchief
    Tecumseh
    Jim Thorpe
    Go here to test your knowledge with a Native Americans crossword puzzle or word search.

    Back to History for Kids








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