|Native Americans in the United StatesFrom
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native Americans in the United States
are the indigenous peoples from the regions of North America now encompassed
by the continental United States, including parts of Alaska. They comprise
a large number of distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which
survive as intact political communities. There has been a wide range of
terms used to describe them and no consensus has been reached among indigenous
members as to what they prefer to be called collectively. They have been
known as American Indians, Amerindians, Amerinds, Aboriginal, Indians,
Indigenous, Original Americans, Red Indians, or Red Men.
European colonization of the Americas
was a period of conflict between Old and New World cultures. Most of the
written historical record about Native Americans began with European contact.
Ideologies clashed, old world diseases decimated, religious institutions
challenged, and technologies were exchanged in what would be one of the
greatest and most devastating meetings of cultures in the history of the
world. Native Americans lived in hunter/farmer subsistence societies with
much fewer societal constraints and institutional structures, and much
less focus on material goods and market transactions, than the rigid, institutionalized,
market-based, materialistic, and tyrannical societies of Western Europe.
The differences between the two societies were vast enough to make for
significant misunderstandings and create long-lasting cultural conflicts.
As the colonies revolted against
England and established the United States of America, the ideology of Manifest
destiny was ingrained into the American psyche. The idea of civilizing
Native Americans (as conceived by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,
and Henry Knox) and assimilation (whether voluntary as with the Choctaw,
or forced) were a consistent policy through American administrations. Major
resistance, or “Indian Wars,” to American expansion were nearly a constant
issue up until the 1890s.
Native Americans today have a special
relationship with the United States of America. They can be found as nations,
tribes, or bands of Native Americans who have sovereignty or independence
from the government of the United States, and whose society and culture
still flourish amidst a larger immigrated American (such as European, African,
Asian, Middle Eastern) populace. Native Americans who were not already
U.S. citizens as granted by other provisions such as with a treaty term
were granted citizenship in 1924 by the Congress of the United States.
For more history about Native Americans
before European contact, see Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
According to the still-debated
New World migration model, a migration of humans from Eurasia to the Americas
took place via Beringia, a land bridge which formerly connected the two
continents across what is now the Bering Strait. The minimum time depth
by which this migration had taken place is confirmed at c. 12,000 years
ago, with the upper bound (or earliest period) remaining a matter of some
unresolved contention. These early Paleoamericans soon spread throughout
the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations
and tribes. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples
of the Americas, they have been living there since their genesis, described
by a wide range of traditional creation accounts.
After 1492 European exploration
of the Americas revolutionized how the Old and New Worlds perceived themselves.
One of the first major contacts, in what would be called the American Deep
South, occurred when conquistador Juan Ponce de León landed in La
Florida in April of 1513. Ponce de León was later followed by other
Spanish explorers like Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528 and Hernando
de Soto in 1539.
The European exploration and subsequent
colonization obliterated some Native Americans populations and cultures.
Other re-organized to form new cultural groups. From the 16th through the
19th centuries, the population of Native Americans declined in the following
ways: epidemic diseases brought from Europe along with violence at the
hands of European explorers and colonists; displacement from their lands;
internal warfare, enslavement; and a high rate of intermarriage. Most mainstream
scholars believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic
disease was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American
natives because of their lack of immunity to new diseases brought from
European explorers and settlers
brought infectious diseases to North America against which the Native Americans
had no natural immunity. Chicken pox and measles, though common and rarely
fatal among Europeans, often proved deadly to Native Americans. Smallpox
proved particularly deadly to Native American populations. Epidemics often
immediately followed European exploration and sometimes destroyed entire
village populations. While precise figures are difficult to determine,
some historians estimate that up to 80% of some Native populations died
due to European diseases after first contact.
In 1618–1619, smallpox wiped out
90% of the Massachusetts Bay Native Americans. Historians believe Mohawk
Native Americans were infected after contact with children of Dutch traders
in Albany in 1634. The disease swept through Mohawk villages, reaching
Native Americans at Lake Ontario in 1636, and the lands of the Iroquois
by 1679, as it was carried by Mohawks and other Native Americans who traveled
the trading routes. The high rate of fatalities caused breakdowns in Native
American societies and disrupted generational exchanges of culture.
Similarly, after initial direct
contact with European explorers in the 1770s, smallpox rapidly killed at
least 30% of Northwest Coast Native Americans. For the next 80 to 100 years,
smallpox and other diseases devastated native populations in the region.
Puget Sound area populations once as high as 37,000 were reduced to only
9,000 survivors by the time settlers arrived en masse in the mid-19th century.
Smallpox epidemics in 1780–1782
and 1837–1838 brought devastation and drastic depopulation among the Plains
Indians. By 1832, the federal government established a smallpox vaccination
program for Native Americans (The Indian Vaccination Act of 1832). It was
the first program created to address a health problem of American Indians.
In the sixteenth century Spaniards
and other Europeans brought horses to the Americas. The reintroduction
of horses resulted in benefits to Native Americans. As they adopted the
animals, they began to change their cultures in substantial ways, especially
by extending their ranges. Some of the horses escaped and began to breed
and increase their numbers in the wild. Horses had originated naturally
in North America and migrated westward via the Bering Land Bridge to Asia.
The early American horse was game for the earliest humans and was hunted
to extinction about 7,000 BC, just after the end of the last glacial period.
The re-introduction of the horse
to North America had a profound impact on Native American culture of the
Great Plains. The tribes trained and used the horses to ride and to carry
packs or pull travois, to expand their territories markedly, more easily
exchange goods with neighboring tribes, and more easily hunt game. They
fully incorporated the use of horses into their societies, including using
the horses to conduct warring raids.
Foundations for freedom
Native American societies reminded
Europeans of a golden age only known to them in folk history. The idea
of freedom and democratic ideals was born in the Americas because "it was
only in America" that Europeans from 1500 to 1776 knew of societies that
were "truly free."
“ Natural freedom is the only
object of the polity of the [Native Americans]; with this freedom do nature
and climate rule alone amongst them ... [Native Americans] maintain their
freedom and find abundant nourishment . . . [and are] people who live without
laws, without police, without religion.” —- Jean Jacques
Rousseau, Jesuit and Savage in New France
The Iroquois nations' political
confederacy and democratic government has been credited as one of the influences
on the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution. However,
there is heated debate among historians about the importance of their contribution.
Although Native American governmental influence is debated, it is a historical
fact that several founding fathers had contact with the Iroquois, and prominent
figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were involved with
their stronger and larger native neighbor-- the Iroquois.
During the American Revolution,
the newly proclaimed United States competed with the British for the allegiance
of Native American nations east of the Mississippi River. Most Native Americans
who joined the struggle sided with the British, hoping to use the American
Revolutionary War to halt further colonial expansion onto Native American
land. Many native communities were divided over which side to support in
the war. The first native community to sign a treaty with the new United
States Government was the Lenape. For the Iroquois Confederacy, the American
Revolution resulted in civil war. Cherokees split into a neutral (or pro-American)
faction and the anti-American Chickamaugas, led by Dragging Canoe.
Frontier warfare during the American
Revolution was particularly brutal, and numerous atrocities were committed
by settlers and native tribes alike. Noncombatants suffered greatly during
the war. Military expeditions on each side destroyed villages and food
supplies to reduce the ability of people to fight, as in frequent raids
in the Mohawk Valley and western New York. The largest of these expeditions
was the Sullivan Expedition of 1779, in which American troops destroyed
more than 40 Iroquois villages to neutralize Iroquois raids in upstate
New York. The expedition failed to have the desired effect: Native American
activity became even more determined.
“American Indians have played
a central role in shaping the history of the nation, and they are deeply
woven into the social fabric of much of American life ... During the last
three decades of the twentieth century, scholars of ethnohistory, of the
"new Indian history," and of Native American studies forcefully demonstrated
that to understand American history and the American experience, one must
include American Indians.” —- Robbie Ethridge, Creek Country.
The British made peace with the
Americans in the Treaty of Paris (1783), through which they ceded vast
Native American territories to the United States without informing the
Native Americans. The United States initially treated the Native Americans
who had fought with the British as a conquered people who had lost their
lands. Although many of the Iroquois tribes went to Canada with the Loyalists,
others tried to stay in New York and western territories and tried to maintain
their lands. Nonetheless, the state of New York made a separate treaty
with Iroquois and put up for sale 5,000,000 acres (20,000 km2) of land
that had previously been their territory. The state established a reservation
near Syracuse for the Onondagas who had been allies of the colonists.
The United States was eager to expand,
to develop farming and settlements in new areas, and to satisfy land hunger
of settlers from New England and new immigrants. The national government
initially sought to purchase Native American land by treaties. The states
and settlers were frequently at odds with this policy.
Transmuted Native America
European nations often sent Native
Americans, often against their will and others went willingly, to the Old
World as objects of curiosity. They often entertained royalty and were
sometimes prey to commercial purposes. Christianization of Native Americans
was a charted purpose for some European colonies.
American policy toward Native Americans
had continued to evolve after the American Revolution. George Washington
and Henry Knox believed that Native Americans were equals but that their
society was inferior. He formulated a policy to encourage the "civilizing"
process. Washington had a six-point plan for civilization which included,
justice toward Native Americans
buying of Native American lands
of experiments to civilize or improve Native American society
authority to give presents
those who violated Native American rights.
Robert Remini, a historian, wrote
that "once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built
homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these
Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans." The United
States appointed agents, like Benjamin Hawkins, to live among the Native
Americans and to teach them how to live like whites.
“How different would be the sensation
of a philosophic mind to reflect that instead of exterminating a part of
the human race by our modes of population that we had persevered through
all difficulties and at last had imparted our Knowledge of cultivating
and the arts, to the Aboriginals of the Country by which the source of
future life and happiness had been preserved and extended. But it has been
conceived to be impracticable to civilize the Indians of North America
- This opinion is probably more convenient than just.” —-Henry
Knox to George Washington, 1790s.
In the late eighteenth century,
reformers starting with Washington and Knox, in efforts to "civilize" or
otherwise assimilate Native Americans (as opposed to relegating them to
reservations), adopted the practice of educating native children. The Civilization
Fund Act of 1819 promoted this civilization policy by providing funding
to societies (mostly religious) who worked on Native American improvement.
Native American Boarding Schools, which were run primarily by Christian
missionaries, often proved traumatic to Native American children, who were
forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity and denied
the right to practice their native religions, and in numerous other ways
forced to abandon their Native American identities and adopt European-American
culture. There were many documented cases of sexual, physical and mental
abuse occurring at these schools.
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
granted U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans. Prior to the passage
of the act, nearly two-thirds of Native Americans were already U.S. citizens.
The earliest recorded date of Native Americans becoming U.S. citizens was
in 1831 when the Mississippi Choctaw became citizens after the United States
Legislature ratified the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Under article
XIV of that treaty, any Choctaw, who elected not to move to Native American
Territory, could become an American citizen when he registers and if he
stays on designated lands for five years after treaty ratification. Citizenship
could also be obtained by:
1. Treaty Provision
(as with the Mississippi Choctaw)
under the Act of February 8, 1887
of Patent in Fee Simple
Habits of Civilized Life
5. Minor Children
Soldiers and Sailors in the U.S. Armed Forces
9. Special Act
“Be it enacted by the Senate
and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress
assembled, That all noncitizen Native Americans born within the territorial
limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens
of the United States: Provided, That the granting of such citizenship shall
not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Native American
to tribal or other property.”
— - Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
American expansion justification
Manifest Destiny had serious consequences
for Native Americans since continental expansion implicitly meant the occupation
of Native American land. Manifest Destiny was an explanation or justification
for expansion and westward movement, or, in some interpretations, an ideology
or doctrine which helped to promote the process of civilization. Advocates
of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only good, but that
it was obvious and certain. The term was first used primarily by Jacksonian
Democrats in the 1840s to promote the annexation of much of what is now
the Western United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation,
and the Mexican Cession).
“What a prodigious growth this
English race, especially the American branch of it, is having! How soon
will it subdue and occupy all the wild parts of this continent and of the
islands adjacent. No prophecy, however seemingly extravagant, as to future
achievements in this way [is] likely to equal the reality.” —-Rutherford
Birchard Hayes, U.S. President, January 1, 1857, Personal Diary.
The age of Manifest Destiny, which
came to be known as "Indian Removal", gained ground. Although some humanitarian
advocates of removal believed that Native Americans would be better off
moving away from whites, an increasing number of Americans regarded the
natives as nothing more than "savages" who stood in the way of American
expansion. Thomas Jefferson believed that while Native Americans were the
intellectual equals of whites, they had to live like the whites or inevitably
be pushed aside by them. Jefferson's belief, rooted in Enlightenment thinking,
that whites and Native Americans would merge to create a single nation
did not last, and he began to believe that the natives should emigrate
across the Mississippi River and maintain a separate society.
Conflicts generally known as "Indian
Wars" broke out between colonial/American government and Native American
societies. U.S. government authorities entered into numerous treaties during
this period but later abrogated many for various reasons; however, many
treaties are considered "living" documents. Major conflicts east of the
Mississippi River include the Pequot War, Creek War, and Seminole Wars.
Native American Nations west of the Mississippi were numerous and wer the
last to submit to U.S. authority. Notably, a multi-tribal army led by Tecumseh,
Shawnee chief, fought a number of engagements during the period 1811-12,
known as Tecumseh's War. In the latter stages, Tecumseh's group allied
with the British forces in the War of 1812 and was instrumental in the
conquest of Detroit. Other military engagements included Native American
victories at the Battle of the Wabash in 1791, the Seminole Wars, and the
Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Defeats included the Creek War of 1813-14,
the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 and the Wounded Knee in 1890. These conflicts
were catalysts to the decline of dominate Native American culture.
“The Indian (was thought) as
less than human and worthy only of extermination. We did shoot down defenseless
men, and women and children at places like Camp Grant, Sand Creek, and
Wounded Knee. We did feed strychnine to red warriors. We did set whole
villages of people out naked to freeze in the iron cold of Montana winters.
And we did confine thousands in what amounted to concentration camps.”
— Wellman- The Indian Wars of the West, 1934
Removals and reservations
In the nineteenth century, the
incessant westward expansion of the United States incrementally compelled
large numbers of Native Americans to resettle further west, often by force,
almost always reluctantly, long held to be an illegal practice, given the
status of the Hopewell Treaty of 1785. Under President Andrew Jackson,
United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized
the President to conduct treaties to exchange Native American land east
of the Mississippi River for lands west of the river. As many as 100,000
Native Americans eventually relocated in the West as a result of this Indian
Removal policy. In theory, relocation was supposed to be voluntary and
many Native Americans did remain in the East. In practice, great pressure
was put on Native American leaders to sign removal treaties.
The most egregious violation of
the stated intention of the removal policy took place under the Treaty
of New Echota, which was signed by a dissident faction of Cherokees but
not the elected leadership. President Jackson rigidly enforced the treaty,
which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 Cherokees on the Trail
of Tears. About 17,000 Cherokees – along with approximately 2,000 black
slaves held by Cherokees – were removed from their homes.
Native American Removal forced or
coerced the relocation of major Native American groups in the Eastern United
States, resulting directly and indirectly in the deaths of tens of thousands.
Tribes were generally located to reservations on which they could more
easily be separated from traditional life and pushed into European-American
society. Some southern states additionally enacted laws in the 19th century
forbidding non-Native American settlement on Native American lands, with
the intention to prevent sympathetic white missionaries from aiding the
scattered Native American resistance.
World War II
Some 44,000 Native Americans served
in the United States military during World War II. Described as the first
large-scale exodus of indigenous peoples from the reservations since the
removals of the 1800s, the international conflict was a turning point in
American Indian history. Men of native descent were drafted into the military
like other American males. Their fellow soldiers often held them in high
esteem, in part since the legend of the tough Indian warrior had become
a part of the fabric of American historical legend. White servicemen sometimes
showed a lighthearted respect toward American Indian comrades by calling
The resulting increase in contact
with the world outside of the reservation system brought profound changes
to American Indian culture. "The war," said the U.S. Indian commissioner
in 1945, "caused the greatest disruption of Indian life since the beginning
of the reservation era", affecting the habits, views, and economic well-being
of tribal members. The most significant of these changes was the opportunity—as
a result of wartime labor shortages—to find well-paying work. Yet there
were losses to contend with as well. Altogether, 1,200 Pueblo Indians served
in World War II; only about half came home alive. in addition many more
Navajo served as code talkers for the military in the pacific. the code
they made was never cracked by the Japanese.
There are 561 federally recognized
tribal governments in the United States. These tribes possess the right
to form their own government, to enforce laws (both civil and criminal),
to tax, to establish requirements for membership, to license and regulate
activities, to zone and to exclude persons from tribal territories. Limitations
on tribal powers of self-government include the same limitations applicable
to states; for example, neither tribes nor states have the power to make
war, engage in foreign relations, or coin money (this includes paper currency).
Many Native Americans and advocates
of Native American rights point out that the US Federal government's claim
to recognize the "sovereignty" of Native American peoples falls short,
given that the US still wishes to govern Native American peoples and treat
them as subject to US law. True respect for Native American sovereignty,
according to such advocates, would require the United States federal government
to deal with Native American peoples in the same manner as any other sovereign
nation, handling matters related to relations with Native Americans through
the Secretary of State, rather than the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bureau
of Indian Affairs reports on its website that its "responsibility is the
administration and management of 55,700,000 acres (225,000 km2) of land
held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Indian tribes,
and Alaska Natives." Many Native Americans and advocates of Native American
rights believe that it is condescending for such lands to be considered
"held in trust" and regulated in any fashion by a foreign power, whether
the US Federal Government, Canada, or any other non-Native American authority.
According to 2003 United States
Census Bureau estimates, a little over one third of the 2,786,652 Native
Americans in the United States live in three states: California at 413,382,
Arizona at 294,137 and Oklahoma at 279,559.
As of 2000, the largest tribes in
the U.S. by population were Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Sioux, Chippewa,
Apache, Blackfeet, Iroquois, and Pueblo. In 2000, eight of ten Americans
with Native American ancestry were of mixed blood. It is estimated that
by 2100 that figure will rise to nine out of ten. In addition, there are
a number of tribes that are recognized by individual states, but not by
the federal government. The rights and benefits associated with state recognition
vary from state to state.
Some tribal nations have been unable
to establish their heritage and obtain federal recognition. The Muwekma
Ohlone of the San Francisco bay area are pursuing litigation in the federal
court system to establish recognition. Many of the smaller eastern tribes
have been trying to gain official recognition of their tribal status. The
recognition confers some benefits, including the right to label arts and
crafts as Native American and permission to apply for grants that are specifically
reserved for Native Americans. But gaining recognition as a tribe is extremely
difficult; to be established as a tribal group, members have to submit
extensive genealogical proof of tribal descent.
Military defeat, cultural pressure,
confinement on reservations, forced cultural assimilation, outlawing of
native languages and culture, termination policies of the 1950s and 1960s
and earlier, slavery and poverty, have had deleterious effects on Native
Americans' mental and physical health. Contemporary health problems suffered
disproportionately include alcoholism, heart disease, diabetes, and suicide.
As recently as the 1970s, the Bureau
of Indian Affairs was still actively pursuing a policy of "assimilation",
dating at least to the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. The goal of assimilation—plainly
stated early on—was to eliminate the reservations and steer Native Americans
into mainstream U.S. culture. In July 2000 the Washington state Republican
Party adopted a resolution of termination for tribal governments. As of
2004, there are still claims of theft of Native American land for the coal
and uranium it contains.
In the state of Virginia, Native
Americans face a unique problem. Virginia has no federally recognized tribes,
largely due to Walter Ashby Plecker. In 1912, Plecker became the first
registrar of the state's Bureau of Vital Statistics, serving until 1946.
Plecker believed that the state's Native Americans had been "mongrelized"
with its African American population. A law passed by the state's General
Assembly recognized only two races, "white" and "colored". Plecker pressured
local governments into reclassifying all Native Americans in the state
as "colored", leading to the destruction of records on the state's Native
American community. Maryland also has a non-recognized tribal nation—the
Piscataway Indian Nation.
In order to receive federal recognition
and the benefits it confers, tribes must prove their continuous existence
since 1900. The federal government has so far refused to bend on this bureaucratic
requirement. A bill currently before U.S. Congress to ease this requirement
has been favorably reported out of a key Senate committee, being supported
by both of Virginia's senators, George Allen and John Warner, but faces
opposition in the House from Representative Virgil Goode, who has expressed
concerns that federal recognition could open the door to gambling in the
In the early 21st century, Native
American communities remain an enduring fixture on the United States landscape,
in the American economy, and in the lives of Native Americans. Communities
have consistently formed governments that administer services like firefighting,
natural resource management, and law enforcement. Most Native American
communities have established court systems to adjudicate matters related
to local ordinances, and most also look to various forms of moral and social
authority vested in traditional affiliations within the community. To address
the housing needs of Native Americans, Congress passed the Native American
Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) in 1996. This legislation
replaced public housing, and other 1937 Housing Act programs directed towards
Indian Housing Authorities, with a block grant program directed towards
On May 19, 2005, the Massachusetts
legislature finally repealed a disused 330 year-old law that barred Native
Americans from entering Boston.
Gambling has become a leading industry.
Casinos operated by many Native American governments in the United States
are creating a stream of gambling revenue that some communities are beginning
to use as leverage to build diversified economies. Native American communities
have waged and prevailed in legal battles to assure recognition of rights
to self-determination and to use of natural resources. Some of those rights,
known as treaty rights, are enumerated in early treaties signed with the
young United States government. Tribal sovereignty has become a cornerstone
of American jurisprudence, and at least on the surface, in national legislative
policies. Although many Native American tribes have casinos, they are a
source of conflict. Most tribes, especially small ones such as the Winnemem
Wintu of Redding, California, feel that casinos and their proceeds destroy
culture from the inside out. These tribes refuse to participate in the
Societal discrimination and conflicts
Despite the ongoing political and
social issues surrounding Native Americans' position in the United States,
there has been relatively little public opinion research on attitudes toward
them among the general public. In a 2007 focus group study by the nonpartisan
Public Agenda organization, most non-Indians admitted they rarely encounter
Native Americans in their daily lives. While sympathetic toward Native
Americans and expressing regret over the past, most people had only a vague
understanding of the problems facing Native Americans today. For their
part, Native Americans told researchers that they believed they continued
to face prejudice and mistreatment in the broader society.
“LeCompte also endured taunting
on the battlefield. "They ridiculed him and called him a 'drunken Indian.'
They said, 'Hey, dude, you look just like a haji--you'd better run.' They
call the Arabs 'haji.' I mean, it's one thing to worry for your life, but
then to have to worry about friendly fire because you don't know who in
the hell will shoot you?” — Tammie LeCompte, May 25, 2007,
Soldier highlights problems in U.S. Army
Conflicts between the federal government
and native Americans occasionally erupt into violence. Perhaps one of the
more noteworthy incidents in recent history is the Wounded Knee incident
in small town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. On February 27, 1973, the
town was surrounded by federal law enforcement officials and the United
States military. The town itself was under the control of members of the
American Indian Movement which was protesting a variety of issues important
to the organization. Two members of AIM were killed and one United States
Marshal was paralyzed as a result of gunshot wounds. In the aftermath of
the conflict, one man, Leonard Peltier was arrested and sentenced to life
in prison while another, John Graham, as late as 2007, was extradited to
the U.S. to stand trial for killing a Native American woman, months after
the standoff, that he believed to be an FBI informant.
“He is ignoble—base and treacherous,
and hateful in every way. Not even imminent death can startle him into
a spasm of virtue. The ruling trait of all savages is a greedy and consuming
selfishness, and in our Noble Red Man it is found in its amplest development.
His heart is a cesspool of falsehood, of treachery, and of low and devilish
instincts ... The scum of the earth!” — Mark Twain, 1870,
The Noble Red Man
Intertribal and interracial mixing
was common among Native American tribes making it difficult to clearly
identify which tribe an individual belonged to. Bands or entire tribes
occasionally split or merged to form more viable groups in reaction to
the pressures of climate, disease and warfare. A number of tribes practiced
the adoption of captives into their group to replace their members who
had been captured or killed in battle. These captives came from rival tribes
and later from European settlers. Some tribes also sheltered or adopted
white traders and runaway slaves and Native American-owned slaves. So a
number of paths to genetic mixing existed.
In later years, such mixing, however,
proved an obstacle to qualifying for recognition and assistance from the
U.S. federal government or for tribal money and services. To receive such
support, Native Americans must belong to and be certified by a recognized
tribal entity. This has taken a number of different forms as each tribal
government makes its own rules while the federal government has its own
set of standards. In many cases, qualification is based upon the percentage
of Native American blood, or the "blood quantum" of an individual seeking
recognition. To attain such certainty, some tribes have begun requiring
genetic genealogy (DNA testing). Requirements for tribal certification
vary widely by tribe. The Cherokee require only a descent from a Native
American listed on the early 20th century Dawes Rolls while federal scholarships
require enrollment in a federally recognized tribe as well as a Certificate
of Degree of Indian Blood card showing at least a one-quarter Native American
descent. Tribal rules regarding recognition of members with Native American
blood from multiple tribes are equally diverse and complex.
Tribal membership conflicts have
led to a number of activist groups, legal disputes and court cases. One
example are the Cherokee freedmen, who were descendants of slaves once
owned by the Cherokees. The Cherokees had allied with the Confederate States
of America in the American Civil War and, after the war, were forced by
the federal government, in an 1866 treaty, to free their slaves and make
them citizens. They were later disallowed as tribe members due to their
not having "Indian blood". However, in March 2006, the Judicial Appeals
Tribunal—the Cherokee Nation's highest court—ruled that Cherokee freedmen
are full citizens of the Cherokee Nation. The court declared that the Cherokee
freedmen retain citizenship, voting rights and other privileges despite
attempts to keep them off the tribal rolls for not having identifiable
"Indian" blood. In March 2007, however, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
passed a referendum requiring members to have descent from at least one
Native American ancestor on the Dawes Rolls. More than 1200 Freedmen lost
their tribal membership after more than 100 years of participation.
In the 20th century, people among
white ethnic groups began to claim descent from an "American Indian princess",
often a Cherokee. The prototypical "American Indian princess" was Pocahontas,
and, in fact, descent from her is a frequent claim. However,
the American Indian "princess" is a false concept, derived from the application
of European concepts to Native Americans, as also seen in the naming of
war chiefs as "kings".
Descent from "Indian braves" is
also sometimes claimed.
Descent from Native Americans became
fashionable not only among whites claiming prestigious colonial descent
but also among whites seeking to claim connection to groups with distinct
folkways that would differentiate them from the mass culture. Large influxes
of recent immigrants with unique social customs may have been partially
an object of envy. Among African Americans, the desire to be more than
black was sometimes expressed in claims of Native American descent. Those
passing as white might use the slightly more acceptable Native American
ancestry to explain inconvenient details of their heritage.
Depictions by Europeans and Americans
Native Americans have been depicted
by American artists in various ways at different historical periods. During
the period when America was first being colonized, in the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries, the artist John White made watercolors and engravings
of the people native to the southeastern states. John White’s images were,
for the most part, faithful likenesses of the people he observed. Later
the artist Theodore de Bry used White’s original watercolors to make a
book of engravings entitled, A briefe and true report of the new found
land of Virginia. In his book, de Bry often altered the poses and features
of White’s figures to make them appear more European, probably in order
to make his book more marketable to a European audience. During the period
that White and de Bry were working, when Europeans were first coming into
contact with native Americans, there was a large interest and curiosity
in native American cultures by Europeans, which would have created the
demand for a book like de Bry’s.
Several centuries later, during
the construction of the Capitol building in the early nineteenth century,
the U.S. government commissioned a series of four relief panels to crown
the doorway of the Rotunda. The reliefs encapsulate a vision of European—Native
American relations that had assumed mythicohistorical proportions by the
nineteenth century. The four panels depict: The Preservation of Captain
Smith by Pocahontas (1825) by Antonio Capellano, The Landing of the Pilgrims
(1825) and The Conflict of Daniel Boone and the Indians (1826–27) by Enrico
Causici, and William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians (1827) by Nicholas
Gevelot. The reliefs present idealized versions of the Europeans and the
native Americans, in which the Europeans appear refined and gentile, and
the natives appear ferocious and savage. The Whig representative of Virginia,
Henry A. Wise, voiced a particularly astute summary of how Native Americans
would read the messages contained in all four reliefs: “We give you corn,
you cheat us of our lands: we save your life, you take ours.” While many
nineteenth century images of native Americans conveyed similarly negative
messages, there were artists, such as Charles Bird King, who sought to
express a more realistic image of the native Americans.
Native Americans in television and
movies roles were first depicted by European-Americans dressed in mock
traditional attire. Such instances include the The Last of the Mohicans
(1920), Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1957), and F Troop (1965-67).
In later decades Native American actors such as Jay Silverheels in The
Lone Ranger television series (1949-57) and Iron Eyes Cody came to prominence;
however, roles were still diminutive and not reflective of Native American
culture. In the 1970s some Native Americans roles in movies had become
reality based. Little Big Man (1970), Billy Jack (1971), and The Outlaw
Josey Wales (1976) depicted Native Americans in minor supporting roles.
Dances with Wolves (1990), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), and Smoke Signals
(1998) employed Native American actors, culture, and languages so that
those features could portray a better sense of authenticity.
Native American mascots in sports
The use of Native American mascots
in sports has become a contentious issue in the United States and Canada.
Americans have had a history of "playing Indian" that dates back to at
least the 1700s. Many individuals admire the heroism and romanticism evoked
by the classic Native American image, but many too view the use of mascots
as both offensive and demeaning (especially amongst Native Americans).
Despite the concerns that have been raised, many Native American mascots
are still used in American sports from the elementary to the professional
“(Trudie Lamb Richmond doesn't)
know what to say when kids argue, 'I don't care what you say, we are honoring
you. We are keeping our Indian.' ... What if it were 'our black' or 'our
Hispanic'?” —- Amy D'orio quoting Trudie Lamb Richmond,
March 1996, Indian Chief Is Mascot No More
In August 2005, the National Collegiate
Athletic Association (NCAA) banned the use of "hostile and abusive" Native
American mascots from postseason tournaments. An exception was made to
allow the use of tribal names as long as approved by that tribe (such as
the Seminole Tribe of Florida approving the use of their name as the mascot
for Florida State University.) The use of Native American themed team names
in U.S. professional sports is widespread and often controversial, with
examples such as Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians and the Washington
“Could you imagine people mocking
African Americans in black face at a game?” he said. 'Yet go to a game
where there is a team with an Indian name and you will see fans with war
paint on their faces. Is this not the equivalent to black face?'” —-
Teaching Tolerance, May 9, 2001, Native American Mascots Big Issue in College
Common usage in the United
The term Native American was originally
introduced in the United States by anthropologists as a more accurate term
for the indigenous people of the Americas, as distinguished from the people
of India. Because of the widespread acceptance of this newer term in and
outside of academic circles, some people believe that Indians is outdated
or offensive. People from India (and their descendants) who are citizens
of the United States are known as Indian Americans or Asian Indians.
Criticism of the neologism Native
American, however, comes from diverse sources. Some American Indians have
misgivings about the term Native American. Russell Means, a famous American
Indian activist, opposes the term Native American because he believes it
was imposed by the government without the consent of American Indians.
He has also argued that this use of the word Indian derives not from a
confusion with India but from a Spanish expression En Dio, meaning "in
God". Furthermore, some American Indians question the term Native American
because, they argue, it serves to ease the conscience of "white America"
with regard to past injustices done to American Indians by effectively
eliminating "Indians" from the present. Still others (both Indians and
non-Indians) argue that Native American is problematic because "native
of" literally means "born in," so any person born in the Americas could
be considered "native". However, very often the compound "Native American"
will be capitalized in order to differentiate this intended meaning from
others. Likewise, "native" (small 'n') can be further qualified by formulations
such as "native-born" when the intended meaning is only to indicate place
of birth or origin.
A 1995 US Census Bureau survey found
that more American Indians in the United States preferred American Indian
to Native American. Nonetheless, most American Indians are comfortable
with Indian, American Indian, and Native American, and the terms are often
used interchangeably. The traditional term is reflected in the name chosen
for the National Museum of the American Indian, which opened in 2004 on
the Mall in Washington, D.C..
Recently, the U.S. Census Bureau
has introduced the "Asian-Indian" category to avoid ambiguity when sampling
the Indian-American population.
Society and culture
Though cultural features, language,
clothing, and customs vary enormously from one tribe to another, there
are certain elements which are encountered frequently and shared by many
Early hunter-gatherer tribes made
stone weapons from around 10,000 years ago; as the age of metallurgy dawned,
newer technologies were used and more efficient weapons produced. Prior
to contact with Europeans, most tribes used similar weaponry. The most
common implements were the bow and arrow, the war club, and the spear.
Quality, material, and design varied widely. Native American use of fire
both helped provide insects for food and altered the landscape of the continent
to help the human population flourish.
Large mammals like mammoths and
mastodons were largely extinct by around 8,000 B.C., primarily because
of being overhunted by the American Indians. Native Americans switched
to hunting other large game, such as bison. The Great Plains tribes were
still hunting the bison when they first encountered the Europeans. Acquiring
horses from the Spanish and learning to ride in the 17th century greatly
altered the natives' culture, changing the way in which they hunted large
game. In addition, horses became a central feature of Native lives and
a measure of wealth.
Before the formation of tribal structure,
a structure dominated by gentes existed.
* The right of
electing its sachem and chiefs.
* The right
of deposing its sachem and chiefs.
* The obligation
not to marry in the gens.
* Mutual rights
of inheritance of the property of deceased members.
obligations of help, defense, and redress of injuries.
* The right
of bestowing names upon its members.
* The right
of adopting strangers into the gens.
* Common religious
* A common burial
* A council
of the gens.
Subdivision and differentiation
took place between various groups. Upwards of forty stock languages developed
in North America, with each independent tribe speaking a dialect of one
of those languages. Some functions and attributes of tribes are:
* The possession
of the gentes.
* The right
to depose these sachems and chiefs.
* The possession
of a religious faith and worship.
* A supreme
government consisting of a council of chiefs.
* A head-chief
of the tribe in some instances.
Society and art
The Iroquois, living around the
Great Lakes and extending east and north, used strings or belts called
wampum that served a dual function: the knots and beaded designs mnemonically
chronicled tribal stories and legends, and further served as a medium of
exchange and a unit of measure. The keepers of the articles were seen as
Pueblo peoples crafted impressive
items associated with their religious ceremonies. Kachina dancers wore
elaborately painted and decorated masks as they ritually impersonated various
ancestral spirits. Sculpture was not highly developed, but carved stone
and wood fetishes were made for religious use. Superior weaving, embroidered
decorations, and rich dyes characterized the textile arts. Both turquoise
and shell jewelry were created, as were high-quality pottery and formalized
Navajo spirituality focused on the
maintenance of a harmonious relationship with the spirit world, often achieved
by ceremonial acts, usually incorporating sandpainting. The colors—made
from sand, charcoal, cornmeal, and pollen—depicted specific spirits. These
vivid, intricate, and colorful sand creations were erased at the end of
Native American Agriculture started
about 7,000 years ago in the area of present day Illinois. The first crop
the Native Americans grew was squash. This was the first of several crops
the Native Americans learned to domesticate. Others included cotton, sunflower,
pumpkins, watermelon, tobacco, goosefoot, and sump weed. The most important
crop the Native Americans raised was maize. It was first started in Mesoamerica
and spread north. About 2,000 years ago it reached eastern America. This
crop was important to the Native Americans because it was part of their
everyday diet, it could be stored in underground pits during the winter,
and no part of it was wasted. The husk was made into art crafts and the
cob was used as fuel for fires. By 800 A.D. the Native Americans had established
3 main crops which were beans, squash, and corn called the three sisters.
Agriculture in the southwest started around 4,000 years ago when traders
brought cultigens from Mexico. Due to the varying climate, some ingenuity
had to be done for agriculture to be successful. The climate in the southwest
ranged from cool, moist mountains regions, to dry, sandy soil in the desert.
Some innovations of the time included irrigation to bring water into the
dry regions, and the selection of seed based on their seed trait. In the
southwest, they grew beans that were self-supported, much of the way they
are grown today. In the east, however, they were planted right by corn
in order for the vein to be able to climb the stalk.
The gender role of the Native Americans,
when it came to agriculture, varied from region to region. In the southwest
area, men would prepare the soil with hoes. The women were in charge of
planting, weeding, and harvesting the crops. In most other regions, the
women were in charge of doing everything including clearing the land. Clearing
the land was an immense chore since the Native Americans rotated fields
frequently. There have been stories about how Squanto showed pilgrims to
put fish in fields and this would acts like a fertilizer, but this story
is not true. They did plant beans next to corn; the beans would replace
the nitrogen the corn took from the ground. They also had controlled fires
to burn weeds and this would put nutrients back into the ground. If this
did not work they would simply abandon the field and go find a new spot
for their field.
Some of the tools the Native Americans
used were the hoe, the maul, and the dibber. The hoe was the main tool
used to till the land and prepare it for planting and then used for weeding.
The first versions were made out of wood and stone. When the settlers brought
iron, Native Americans switched to iron hoes and hatches. The dibber was
essentially a digging stick, and was used to plant the seed. Once the plants
were harvested they were prepared by the women for eating. The maul was
used to grind the corn into mash and was eaten that way or made into corn
No particular religion or religious
tradition is hegemonic among Native Americans in the United States. Most
self-identifying and federally recognized Native Americans claim adherence
to some form of Christianity, some of these being cultural and religious
syntheses unique to the particular tribe. Traditional Native American spiritual
rites and ceremonies are maintained by many Americans of both Native and
non-Native identity. These spiritualities may accompany adherence to another
faith, or can represent a person's primary religious identity. While much
Native American spiritualism exists in a tribal-cultural continuum, and
as such cannot be easily separated from tribal identity itself, certain
other more clearly-defined movements have arisen within "Trad" Native American
practitioners, these being identifiable as "religions" in the clinical
sense. The Midewiwin Lodge is a traditional medicine society inspired by
the oral traditions and prophesies of the Ojibwa (Chippewa) and related
tribes. Traditional practices include the burning of sacred herbs (tobacco,
sweetgrass, sage, etc.), the sweatlodge, fasting (paramount in "vision
quests"), singing and drumming, and the smoking of natural tobacco in a
pipe. A practitioner of Native American spiritualities and religions may
incorporate all, some or none of these into their personal or tribal rituals.
Another significant religious body
among Native peoples is known as the Native American Church. It is a syncretistic
church incorporating elements of native spiritual practice from a number
of different tribes as well as symbolic elements from Christianity. Its
main rite is the peyote ceremony. Prior to 1890, traditional religious
beliefs included Wakan Tanka. In the American Southwest, especially New
Mexico, a syncretism between the Catholicism brought by Spanish missionaries
and the native religion is common; the religious drums, chants, and dances
of the Pueblo people are regularly part of Masses at Santa Fe's Saint Francis
Cathedral. Native American-Catholic syncretism is also found elsewhere
in the United States. (e.g., the National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda,
New York and the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville,
Native Americans are the only known
ethnic group in the United States requiring a federal permit to practice
their religion. The eagle feather law, (Title 50 Part 22 of the Code of
Federal Regulations), stipulates that only individuals of certifiable Native
American ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally
authorized to obtain eagle feathers for religious or spiritual use. Native
Americans and non-Native Americans frequently contest the value and validity
of the eagle feather law, charging that the law is laden with discriminatory
racial preferences and infringes on tribal sovereignty. The law does not
allow Native Americans to give eagle feathers to non-Native Americans,
a common modern and traditional practice. Many non-Native Americans have
been adopted into Native American families, made tribal members and given
Most Native American tribes had
traditional gender roles. In some tribes, such as the Iroquois nation,
social and clan relationships were matrilineal and/or matriarchal, although
several different systems were in use. One example is the Cherokee custom
of wives owning the family property. Men hunted, traded and made war, while
women gathered plants, cared for the young and the elderly, fashioned clothing
and instruments and cured meat. The cradleboard was used by mothers to
carry their baby while working or traveling. However, in some (but not
all) tribes a kind of transgender was permitted; see Two-Spirit.
At least several dozen tribes allowed
polygyny to sisters, with procedural and economic limits.
Apart from making home, women had
many tasks that were essential for the survival of the tribes. They made
weapons and tools, took care of the roofs of their homes and often helped
their men hunt buffalos. In some of the Plains Indian tribes there reportedly
were medicine women who gathered herbs and cured the ill.
In some of these tribes such as
the Sioux girls were also encouraged to learn to ride, hunt and fight.
Though fighting was mostly left to the boys and men, there had been cases
of women fighting alongside them, especially when the existence of the
tribe was threatened.
Native American leisure time led
to competitive individual and team sports. Early accounts include team
games played between tribes with hundreds of players on the field at once.
Jim Thorpe, Notah Begay III, and Billy Mills are well known professional
Native American ball sports, sometimes
referred to as lacrosse, stickball, or baggataway, was often used to settle
disputes rather than going to war which was a civil way to settle potential
conflict. The Choctaw called it ISITOBOLI ("Little Brother of War"); the
Onondaga name was DEHUNTSHIGWA'ES ("men hit a rounded object"). There are
three basic version classifed as Great Lakes, Iroquoian, and Southern.
The game is played with one or two rackets/sticks and one ball. The object
of the game is to land the ball on the opposing team's goal (either a single
post or net) to score and prevent the opposing team from scoring on your
goal. The game involves as few as twenty or as many as 300 players with
no height or weight restrictions and no protective gear. The goals could
be from a few hundred feet apart to a few miles; in Lacrosse the field
is 110 yards. A Jesuit priest referenced stickball in 1729, and George
Catlin painted the subject.
Chunke was a game that consisted
of a stone shaped disk that was about 1–2 inches in length. The disk was
thrown down a 200-foot (61 m) corridor so that it could roll past the players
at great speed. The disk would roll down the corridor, and players would
throw wooden shafts at the moving disk. The object of the game was to strike
the disk or prevent your opponents from hitting it.
Billy Mills is a Lakota and USMC
officer who was trained to compete in the 1964 Olympics. Mills was a virtual
unknown. He had finished second in the U.S. Olympic trials. His time in
the preliminaries was a full minute slower than Clarke's.
Jim Thorpe, a Sauk and Fox Native
American, was an all-round athlete playing football and baseball. Future
President Dwight Eisenhower injured his knee while trying to tackle Thorpe.
Eisenhower recalled of Thorpe in a 1961 speech, "Here and there, there
are some people who are supremely endowed. My memory goes back to Jim Thorpe.
He never practiced in his life, and he could do anything better than any
other football player I ever saw." In the Olympics, Thorpe could run the
100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, the 220 in 21.8 seconds, the 440 in 51.8
seconds, the 880 in 1:57, the mile in 4:35, the 120-yard high hurdles in
15 seconds, and the 220-yard low hurdles in 24 seconds. He could long jump
23 ft 6 in and high-jump 6 ft 5 in. He could pole vault 11 feet, put the
shot 47 ft 9 in, throw the javelin 163 feet, and throw the discus 136 feet.
Thorpe entered the U.S. Olympic trials for both the pentathlon and the
Music and art
Traditional Native American music
is almost entirely monophonic, but there are notable exceptions. Native
American music often includes drumming and/or the playing of rattles or
other percussion instruments but little other instrumentation. Flutes and
whistles made of wood, cane, or bone are also played, generally by individuals,
but in former times also by large ensembles (as noted by Spanish conquistador
de Soto). The tuning of these flutes is not precise and depends on the
length of the wood used and the hand span of the intended player, but the
finger holes are most often around a whole step apart and, at least in
Northern California, a flute was not used if it turned out to have an interval
close to a half step.
Performers with Native American
parentage have occasionally appeared in American popular music, such as
Tina Turner, Rita Coolidge, Wayne Newton, Gene Clark, Blackfoot, Tori Amos
and Redbone. Some, such as John Trudell, have used music to comment on
life in Native America, and others, such as R. Carlos Nakai integrate traditional
sounds with modern sounds in instrumental recordings. A variety of small
and medium-sized recording companies offer an abundance of recent music
by Native American performers young and old, ranging from pow-wow drum
music to hard-driving rock-and-roll and rap.
The most widely practiced public
musical form among Native Americans in the United States is that of the
pow-wow. At pow-wows, such as the annual Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque,
New Mexico, members of drum groups sit in a circle around a large drum.
Drum groups play in unison while they sing in a native language and dancers
in colorful regalia dance clockwise around the drum groups in the center.
Familiar pow-wow songs include honor songs, intertribal songs, crow-hops,
sneak-up songs, grass-dances, two-steps, welcome songs, going-home songs,
and war songs. Most indigenous communities in the United States also maintain
traditional songs and ceremonies, some of which are shared and practiced
exclusively within the community.
Native American art comprises a
major category in the world art collection. Native American contributions
include pottery(Native American pottery), paintings, jewellery, weavings,
sculptures, basketry, and carvings.
The integrity of certain Native
American artworks is now protected by an act of Congress that prohibits
representation of art as Native American when it is not the product of
an enrolled Native American artist. art is spelled with an A
The Inuit, or Eskimo, prepared
and buried large amounts of dried meat and fish. Pacific Northwest tribes
crafted seafaring dugouts 40–50 feet long for fishing. Farmers in the Eastern
Woodlands tended fields of maize with hoes and digging sticks, while their
neighbors in the Southeast grew tobacco as well as food crops. On the Plains,
some tribes engaged in agriculture but also planned buffalo hunts in which
herds were driven over bluffs. Dwellers of the Southwest deserts hunted
small animals and gathered acorns to grind into flour with which they baked
wafer-thin bread on top of heated stones. Some groups on the region's mesas
developed irrigation techniques, and filled storehouses with grain as protection
against the area's frequent droughts.
In the early years, as these native
peoples encountered European explorers and settlers and engaged in trade,
they exchanged food, crafts, and furs for blankets, iron and steel implements,
horses, trinkets, firearms, and alcoholic beverages.
Barriers to economic development
Today, other than tribes successfully
running casinos, many tribes struggle. There are an estimated 2.1 million
Native Americans, and they are the most impoverished of all ethnic groups.
According to the 2000 Census, an estimated 400,000 Native Americans reside
on reservation land. While some tribes have had success with gaming, only
40% of the 562 federally recognized tribes operate casinos. According to
a 2007 survey by the U.S. Small Business Administration, only 1 percent
of Native Americans own and operate a business. Native Americans rank at
the bottom of nearly every social statistic: highest teen suicide rate
of all minorities at 18.5%, highest rate of teen pregnancy, highest high
school drop out rate at 54%, lowest per capita income, and unemployment
rates between 50% to 90%.
The barriers to economic development
on Indian reservations often cited by others and two experts Joseph Kalt
and Stephen Cornell of Harvard University, in their classic report: What
Can Tribes Do? Strategies and Institutions in American Indian Economic
Development, are as follows (incomplete list, see full Kalt & Cornell
* Lack of access
* Lack of human
capital (education, skills, technical expertise) and the means to develop
lack effective planning.
are poor in natural resources.
have natural resources, but lack sufficient control over them.
are disadvantaged by their distance from markets and the high costs of
* Tribes cannot
persuade investors to locate on reservations because of intense competition
from non-Indian communities.
* The Bureau
of Indian Affairs is inept, corrupt, and/or uninterested in reservation
* Tribal politicians
and bureaucrats are inept or corrupt.
factionalism destroys stability in tribal decisions.
* The instability
of tribal government keeps outsiders from investing.
skills and experience are scarce.
management techniques will work, but are absent.
* Tribal cultures
get in the way.
One of the major barriers for overcoming
the economic strife is the lack of entrepreneurial knowledge and experience
across Indian reservations. “A general lack of education and experience
about business is a significant challenge to prospective entrepreneurs,”
also says another report on Native American entrepreneurship by the Northwest
Area Foundation in 2004. “Native American communities that lack entrepreneurial
traditions and recent experiences typically do not provide the support
that entrepreneurs need to thrive. Consequently, experiential entrepreneurship
education needs to be embedded into school curricula and after-school and
other community activities. This would allow students to learn the essential
elements of entrepreneurship from a young age and encourage them to apply
these elements throughout life.”. One publication devoted to addressing
these issues is Rez Biz magazine. i was here
Native Americans and African
The earliest record of African
and Native American relations occurred in April, 1502, when the first Africans
kidnapped were brought to Hispanola to serve as slaves. Some escaped and
somewhere inland on Santo Domingo life birthed the first circle of African-Native
Americans. In addition, an example of African slaves' escaping from European
colonists and being absorbed by American Indians occurred as far back as
1526. In June of that year, Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon established a Spanish
colony near the mouth of the Pee Dee River in what is now eastern South
Carolina. The Spanish settlement was named San Miquel de Guadalupe. Amongst
the settlement were 100 enslaved Africans. In 1526, the first African slaves
fled the colony and took refuge with local Native Americans
European Colonists created treaties
with Native American tribes requesting the return of any runaway slaves.
For example, in 1726, the British Governor of New York exacted a promise
from the Iroquois to return all runaway slaves who had joined up with them.
This same promise was extracted from the Huron Natives in 1764 and from
the Delaware Natives in 1765. Numerous advertisements requested the return
of African Americans who had married Native Americans or who spoke a Native-American
language. Individuals in some tribes, especially the Cherokee, owned African
slaves; however, other tribes incorporated African Americans, slave or
freemen, into the tribe. Interracial relations between Native Americans
and African Americans has been apart of American history that has been