25 Little Known Facts About Native Americans

Posted by , Updated on May 22, 2024

Prior to the arrival of European settlers in America, Native Americans were the primary inhabitants of the land. They customarily lived in tents and sustained themselves through hunting. The interaction with Europeans altered this social structure, marked by exchanges of food that are now commemorated as Thanksgiving. Over time, Native American tribes appeared to diminish, possibly following a ‘trail of tears.’ Subsequently, Europeans established their colonies, and the ‘New World’ began to thrive. This is the level of understanding that most people typically have about the Native American population. However, the true story is significantly more complex. Native American history is rich and intricate, comparable to any other historical narrative. The simplified versions taught in schools barely scratch the surface of a history spanning several thousand years. During this period, empires and nations rose and fell within the Americas. Some cities in Central America could even rival the most advanced civilizations in the Middle East. The interaction between European settlers and Native Americans was highly complex. Here are 25 lesser-known facts about Native Americans.

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25

Many American states are named after Indian names e.g. Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri

Many American states are named after Indian names e.g. Arizona, Kentucky, MissouriSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
24

The word "barbecue" is an Arawakan word meaning "framework of sticks"

The word "barbecue" is an Arawakan word meaning "framework of sticks"Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
23

Actually, English borrowed a lot of Native American words - guacamole, chocolate, chili, poncho

Actually, English borrowed a lot of Native American words - guacamole, chocolate, chili, ponchoSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
22

In spite of not being citizens, nearly 8,000 Native Americans served during WWI

In spite of not being citizens, nearly 8,000 Native Americans served during WWISource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
21

In large part due to their service during WWI, the Indian Citizenship Act granted US citizenship to all Native Americans

In large part due to their service during WWI, the Indian Citizenship Act granted US citizenship to all Native AmericansSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
20

In the 1600s five tribes that were former enemies banded together to create the Iroquois Confederacy

In the 1600s five tribes that were former enemies banded together to create the Iroquois ConfederacySource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
19

An all-male council was elected for life to make decisions. Women, however, were allowed to fire the counselors at any time

An all male council was elected for life to make decisions. Women, however, were allowed to fire the counselors at any timeSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
18

Benjamin Franklin actually thought that the Iroquois Confederacy had a model of government that the colonies could emulate

Benjamin Franklin actually thought that the Iroquois Confederacy had a model of government that the English colonies could emulateSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
17

The bald eagle on the US shield is actually an Iroquois Confederacy symbol

The bald eagle on the US shield is actually an Iroquois Confederacy symbolSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
16

The Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes were seen as being more civil by the Europeans because they had a similar social system (planned villages and farms)

The Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes were seen as being more civil by the Europeans because they had a similar social system (planned villages and farms)Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
15

Both the United States and Canada sought to eradicate native cultures both militarily and with aggressive assimilation

Both the United States and Canada sought to eradicate native cultures both militarily and with aggressive assimilationSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
14

Native Americans used porcupine hair to make brushes

Native Americans used porcupine hair to make brushesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
13

Iroquois women would stop eating turtles so that their babies wouldn't grow up to be clumsy (apparently turtles were thought to be clumsy)

Iroquois women would stop eating turtles so that their babies wouldn't grow up to be clumsy (apparently turtles were thought to be clumsy)Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
12

When a Plains man killed his first buffalo he was always offered the best part, the tongue. He was expected to decline though, and share it with his friends.

When a Plains man killed his first buffalo he was always offered the best part, the tongue. He was expected to decline though, and share it with his friends.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
11

Indians in the Northwest would build totem poles outside their houses to advertise their family's status

Indians in the Northwest would build totem poles outside their houses to advertise their family's statusSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
10

About 22% of the United States' 5.2 million Native Americans live on reservations

About 22% of the United States' 5.2 million Native Americans live on reservationsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
9

Nearly 30% of Native Americans live below the poverty line

Nearly 30% of Native Americans live below the poverty lineSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
8

When Christopher Columbus first came to America there were up to 18 million Native Americans living there

When Christopher Columbus first came to America there were up to 18 million Native Americans living thereSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
7

By 1900 that number had dropped to roughly 350,000

By 1900 that number had dropped to roughly 350,000Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
6

There are 566 federally recognized tribes

There are 566 federally recognized tribesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
5

Some historians believe that Native Americans have inhabited the Americas for the past 30,000 years

Some historians believe that Native Americans have inhabited the Americas for the past 30,000 yearsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
4

You already know about the Native Americans in WWI, but in WWII they really came into their own. The Navajo language is one of the most complicated languages on Earth and the Navajo Code Talkers were soldiers that used their native language to send messages on the battlefield

You already know about the Native Americans in WWI, but in WWII they really came into their own. The Navajo language is one of the most complicated languages on Earth and the Navajo Code Talkers were soldiers that used their native language to send messages on the battlefieldSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
3

Although retired after the Vietnam War, the Navajo language is the only code used in battle that was never broken

Although retired after the Vietnam War, the Navajo language is the only code used in battle that was never brokenSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
2

According to scientists, the Native languages can be separated into 3 distinct groups, which points to the likelihood of 3 separate migrations into North America from Asia

According to scientists, the Native languages can be separated into 3 distinct groups, which points to the likelihood of 3 separate migrations into North America from AsiaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
1

Many major cities today were first indian villages that became trading posts, forts, and eventually cities i.e. Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Detroit

Many major cities today were first indian villages that became trading posts, forts, and eventually cities i.e. Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, DetroitSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia


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