Nearly every region of the United States was settled by Native American civilizations before the European colonists arrived to the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries. These tribes taught the European settlers new methods of agriculture and were instrumental in assisting colonists adjust to the New World. In the modern day, tourists can visit reservations and Native American museums, such as the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
The Navajo tribe is one of the largest Native American tribes in the United States with over 250,000 members living in its reservation area. The Navajo reservation is approximately 27,000 square miles and extends into four states. During World War II, Navajo soldiers developed the Navajo Code for the U.S. campaign in Iwo Jima.
Another of the original Native American tribes in the Southwest United States is the Hopi, who live on three mesas -- natural plateau structure -- in northern Arizona. The oldest continually habited Hopi village is Old Oraibi, which dates back to A.D. 1050. The Hopi's spiritual life revolves around kachina, or the spiritual life forces of the Hopi.
The Inuit Native American tribe dwells in the Arctic region of Alaska. This tribe is also referred to as "Eskimos," which means "eater of raw meat." Traditionally, members of the Inuit tribe would live in ice huts called igloos; however, many modern Inuit people live in wooden huts. Inuit people also wear thick fur coats due to the region's harsh winters.
Native to northern Idaho and eastern Washington, the Schitsu'umsh people came into contact with French fur trappers in the 18th and 19th centuries. The French name for this tribe is the Coeur d'Alene tribe. The primary dwelling places for the Schitsu'umsh were the Spokane River and Lake Pend Oreille.
The Sioux tribes, or the Dakota tribes, lived in the Midwest and Great Plains region of the United States. During the 17th century, the Sioux came into contact with European settlers. The United States and the Sioux were at war for much of the 19th century, until Sioux Chief Sitting Bull surrendered in the 1890s.
One of the most widespread Native American tribes is the Cherokee nation. The highest concentration of Cherokees are in Oklahoma. This tribe originated from the Blue Ridge Mountain area in North Carolina and Georgia. However, the Cherokees were forced to relocate to Oklahoma in the 1830s, a movement known as the Trail of Tears.
The Seminole Native American tribe is from northern Florida and initially came into contact with European settlers in the 16th century. The United States and Seminoles were at war in the early part of the 19th century. Although the U.S. forces eventually won, many "hit and run" military tactics of the Seminoles are currently taught at U.S. military schools.
The Iroquois League is a collection of tribes native to the Northeast United States. During their early history, the Iroquois controlled much of modern-day New York and New England. However, the American colonists forced the Iroquois to move to Ontario and Quebec, Canada. The Iroquois League includes the Onondaga and Mohawk tribes.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
- Seminole Tribe of Florida: Indian Resistance and Removal
- Wild Horse: Iroquois
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Bureau of Indian Affairs: Tribal Directory
- USA.gov: Tribal Governments
- UCLA American Indian Studies Center: Useful Web Sites
- National Museum of the American Indian
- News from Native California: Current Issue
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