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Native Americans
Native Americans

Peoples who occupied North America before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th cent. They have long been known as Indians because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were the outer reaches of the Indies (i.e., the East Indies). Most scholars agree that Native Americans came into the Western Hemisphere from Asia via the Bering Strait in a series of migrations. From Alaska they spread east and south. The several waves of migration are said to account for the many native linguistic families while the common origin is used to explain the physical characteristics that Native Americans have in common (though with considerable variation)Mongoloid features, coarse, straight black hair, dark eyes, sparse body hair, and a skin color ranging from yellow-brown to reddish brown. Many scholars accept evidence of Native American existence in the Americas back more than 25,000 years. In pre-Columbian times (prior to 1492) the Native American population of the area N of Mexico is estimated to have been between one and two million. From prehistoric times until recent historic times there were roughly six major cultural areas, excluding that of the Arctic, i.e., Northwest Coast, Plains, Plateau, Eastern Woodlands, Northern, and Southwest.

Native American Languages Languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent. have become extinct, but many of them are still in use today. The classification Native American languages is geographical rather than linguistic, since those languages do not belong to a single linguistic family, or stock, as the Indo-European or Hamito-Semitic languages do. There is no part of the world with as many distinctly different native languages as the Western Hemisphere. Because the number of indigenous American tongues is so large, it is convenient to discuss them under three geographical divisions: North America (excluding Mexico), Mexico and Central America, and South America and the West Indies.

It is not possible to determine exactly how many languages were spoken in the New World before the arrival of Europeans or how many people spoke these languages. Some scholars estimate that the Western Hemisphere at the time of the first European contact was inhabited by 40 million people who spoke 1,800 different tongues. Another widely accepted estimate suggests that at the time of Columbus more than 15 million speakers throughout the Western Hemisphere used more than 2,000 languages; the geographic divisions within that estimate are 300 separate tongues native to some 1.5 million Native Americans N of Mexico, 300 different languages spoken by roughly 5 million people in Mexico and Central America, and more than 1,400 distinct tongues used by 9 million Native Americans in South America and the West Indies.

By the middle of the 20th cent., as a result of European conquest and settlement in the Western Hemisphere, perhaps two thirds of the many indigenous American languages had already died out or were dying out, but others flourished. Still other aboriginal languages are only now being discovered and investigated by researchers. Some authorities suggest that about one half of the Native American languages N of Mexico have become extinct. Of the tongues still in use, more than half are spoken by fewer than 1,000 persons per language; most of the speakers are bilingual. Only a few tongues, like Navaho and Cherokee, can claim more than 50,000 speakers. Mexico and Central America, however, have large Native American populations employing a number of indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl (spoken by 800,000 people) and the Mayan tongues (native to more than a million people). In South America the surviving Quechuan linguistic family accounts for several million speakers. Another flourishing language stock of indigenous South Americans is Tup-Guaran.


The languages in America N of Mexico are best known; those of Mexico and Central America are less so, and those of South America and the West Indies are the least studied. Systematic investigation has shown the Native American languages to be highly developed in their phonology and grammar, whether they are the tongues of the Aztecs and Incas or the Eskimos or Paiutes. There is great diversity among the indigenous American languages with respect to phonology and grammar. The tongue of the Greenland Eskimos, for example, has only 17 phonemes, whereas that of the Navahos has 47 phonemes. Some languages have nasalized vowels similar to those of French. Many have the consonant known as the glottal stop. Some Native American languages have a stress accent reminiscent of English, and others have a pitch accent of rising and falling tones similar to that of Chinese. Still others have both stress and pitch accents.

A grammatical characteristic of widespread occurrence in Native American languages is polysynthesism. A polysynthetic language is one in which a number of word elements are joined together to form a composite word that functions as the sentence does in Indo-European languages. Thus, a sentence or phrase is expressed by one long word unit, each element of which has meaning usually only as part of the sentence or phrase and not as a separate item. In a polysynthetic language, no clear distinction is made between a word and a sentence. For example, a series of words expressing several connected ideas, such as I am searching for my lost horse, would be merged to form a single word or meaning unit. Edward Sapir, a major scholar in the field of Native American languages, first presented the following, much-quoted word unit from Southern Paiute:wiitokuchumpunkurganiyugwivantm, meaningthey-who-are-going-to-sit-and-cut-up-with-a-knife-a-black-female- (or male-) buffalo. It is thought that the numerous aboriginal tongues showing polysynthesism may originally have been the offshoots of a single parent language.

The existence of gender as found in Indo-European languages is encountered infrequently in indigenous American tongues. In the Algonquian languages, nouns are classified as animate and inanimate. Noun cases like those of Latin occur in some languages, but a lack of case distinction similar to English usage is more common (at least N of Mexico). A number of Native American tongues have a form for the plural of the noun that differs from the singular form, but many others have the same form for both, as in the English noun sheep.


A language family consists of two or more tongues that are distinct and yet related historically in that they are all descended from a single ancestor language, either known or assumed to have existed. The languages of a family are closely related in phonetics, grammar, and vocabulary. The attempts made to classify Native American languages into such families have encountered various obstacles. One is the absence of written records of these languages except in the case of Aztec and Maya. Even there the texts are comparatively few in number; the Spanish conquerors destroyed almost all the texts they found. Another problem is that most records of any linguistic value were made after 1850. Also, there are at present insufficient numbers of trained persons able to record many of the indigenous American languages and collect data, especially in Mexico and Central and South America. The absence of grammars handed down from the past, owing to either the dearth of writing or the destruction of written texts, has further hampered the study of the Native American tongues. Linguistic scholars, therefore, have to turn to native informants to gain material for the analysis of these languages.

Native American languages cannot be differentiated as a linguistic unit from other languages of the world but are grouped into a number of separate linguistic stocks having significantly different phonetics, vocabularies, and grammars. Asia is generally accepted as the original home of the Native Americans, although linguistic investigations have not yet established any definite link between the Native American languages and those spoken in Asia or elsewhere in the Eastern Hemisphere. Some scholars postulate a connection between the Eskimo-Aleut family and several other families or subfamilies (among them Altaic, Paleosiberian, Finno-Ugric, and Sino-Tibetan). Others see a relationship between members of the Nadene stock (to which Navaho and Apache belong) and Sino-Tibetan, to which Chinese belongs; however, such theories remain unproved.

Influence and Survival

The Native American languages have contributed numerous place-names in the Western Hemisphere, especially in the United States, many of whose states have names of Native American origin. The European languages that are official today in countries of the New World, such as English, Spanish, and Portuguese, have borrowed a number of words from aboriginal languages. English, for example, has been enriched by such words as moccasin, moose, mukluk, raccoon, skunk, terrapin, tomahawk, totem, and wampum from indigenous North American languages; by chocolate, coyote, and tomato from indigenous Mexican tongues; by barbecue, cannibal, hurricane, maize, and potato from aboriginal languages of the West Indies; and by coca, condor, guano, jaguar, llama, maraca, pampa, puma, quinine, tapioca, and vicua from indigenous South American languages. Some Native American languages, among them Navaho, Apache, and Cherokee, have been used for wartime communications by the U.S. military to evade enemy decipherment. Many Navaho participated in the American armed forces during World War II as the transmitters of vital messages in their native language.

The outlook for the future of the indigenous American languages is not good; most will probably die out. At present, the aboriginal languages of the Western Hemisphere are gradually being replaced by the Indo-European tongues of the European conquerors and settlers of the New WorldEnglish, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Dutch. The investigation of Native American languages contributes much to a scientific knowledge of language in general, since these tongues possess a number of linguistic features not otherwise known. Some groups of native Americans in the United States are working to revitalize the languages of their peoples as a result of increased ethnic consciousness and feelings of cultural identity.

Languages of North America

The Twentieth Century

The most widely accepted classification of Native American languages N of Mexico (although some included are also spoken in Mexico and Central America) is that made by Edward Sapir in 1929. Sapir arranged the numerous linguistic groups in six major unrelated linguistic stocks, or families. There are Eskimo-Aleut, Algonquian-Wakashan, Nadene, Penutian, Hokan-Siouan, and Aztec-Tanoan.

Eskimo A general term used to refer to a number of groups inhabiting the coastline from the Bering Sea to Greenland and the Chukchi Peninsula in NE Siberia. A number of distinct groups, based on differences in patterns of resource exploitation, are commonly identified, including Siberian, St. Lawrence Island, Nunivak, Chugach, Nunamiut, North Alaskan, Mackenzie, Copper, Caribou, Netsilik, Iglulik, Baffinland, Labrador, Coastal Labrador, Polar, and East and West Greenland. Since the 1970s Eskimo groups in Canada and Greenland have adopted the name Inuit, although the term has not taken hold in Alaska or Siberia. In spite of regional differences, Eskimo groups are surprisingly uniform in language, physical type, and culture, and, as a group, are distinct in these traits from all neighbors. They speak dialects of the same language, Eskimo, which is a major branch of the Eskimo-Aleut family of languages. Their antiquity is unknown, but it is generally agreed that they were relatively recent migrants to the Americas from NE Asia, spreading from west to east over the course of the past 5,000 years.


Particularly when compared to other hunting and gathering populations, Eskimo groups are justly famous for elaborate technologies, artisanship, and well-developed art. They live in small bands, in voluntary association under a leader recognized for his ability to provide for the group. Only the most personal property is considered private; any equipment reverts through disuse to those who have need for it. In the traditional Eskimo economy, the division of labor between the sexes was strict; men constructed homes and hunted, while the women took care of the homes. Their religion is imbued with a rich mythology, and shamanism has been practiced. The native food supply has been reduced through the use of firearms, but, as a result of increased contact with other cultures, the Eskimo are no longer completely dependent on their traditional sources of sustenance. The present Eskimo population is approximately 60,000, with about 10,000 in Greenland, 29,000 in Alaska, 19,000 in Canada, and 2,000 in Siberia.

Eskimo Life

Most groups rely on sea mammals for food, illumination, cooking oil, tools, and weapons. Fish and caribou are next in importance in their economy. The practice of eating raw meat, disapproved of by their Native American neighbors, saves scarce fuel and provides their limited diet with essential nutritional elements that cooking would destroy. Except for the Caribou Eskimo of central Canada, they are a littoral people who rove inland in the summer for freshwater fishing and game hunting. Eskimos have various types of houses (see igloo). Tents of caribou skins or sealskins provide adequate summer dwellings; in colder seasons shelter is constructed of sod, driftwood, or sometimes stone, placed over excavated floors. Among some Eskimo groups the snow hut is used as a winter residence. More commonly, however, such structures may be used as temporary overnight shelters during journeys. The dogsled is used for the hauling of heavy loads over long distances, made necessary by the Eskimo's nomadic hunting life. Their skin canoe, known as a kayak, is one of the most highly maneuverable small craft ever constructed. Hunting technologies include several types of harpoons, the bow and arrow, knives, and fish spears and weirs. While iron has come into common use in the 20th cent., previously weapons were crafted from ivory, bone, copper, or stone. Their clothing is sewn largely of caribou hide and includes parkas, breeches, mittens, snow goggles, and boots. Finely crafted items such as needles, combs, awls, figurines, and decorative carvings on weapons are executed with the rotary bow drill.


See Ulli Steltzer, Inuit: The North in Transition (1985); Asen Balikci, The Netsilik Eskimo (1989).

Eskimo-Aleut Family of Native American languages consisting of Aleut (spoken on the Aleutian Islands and the Kodiak Peninsula) and Eskimo (spoken in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Siberia). Aleut is the language of fewer than one thousand people, and Eskimo is native to almost 100,000 people. There are a few varieties of the Eskimo language. Eskimo and Aleut have enough similarities to justify the theory that they are descendants of a single ancestor language. A striking and important feature of both tongues is polysynthesism . In a polysynthetic language, a one-word unit composed of a number of word elements can convey the meaning of an entire sentence in an Indo-European language. Eskimo and Aleut make great use of suffixes, but almost never of prefixes. Internal vowel changes are rare. Both languages are highly inflected. The difference between transitive and intransitive verbs is clearly shown. Three numbers are foundsingular, dual, and plural. Phonetically, there are three main vowels in Eskimo, and from 13 to 20 consonants, the number varying according to the dialect. In earlier times the Eskimos had only pictographic writing. Since the 18th cent., however, the Eskimos of Greenland, Labrador, and Alaska have used an adaptation of the Roman alphabet, introduced by missionaries. The Eskimos of modern Siberia and the Aleut-speaking groups employ the Cyrillic alphabet. See Knut Bergslund, A Grammatical Outline of the Eskimo Language of West Greenland (1955) and Aleut Dialects of Atha and Attu (1959); L. L. Hammerich, The Eskimo Language (1970); Michael E. Krauss, Alaskan Native Languages (1980).


The Algonquian-Wakashan language family of North America was one of the most widespread of Native American linguistic stocks; in historical times, tribes speaking its languages extended from coast to coast. Today the surviving languages of the Algonquian-Wakashan family are spoken by some 80,000 Native Americans in Canada, the Great Lakes region, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and the NE United States. The Algonquian branch of the family once had some 50 distinct tongues, among them Algonquin, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Cree, Delaware, Kickapoo, Menomini, Micmac, Ojibwa (or Chippewa), Penobscot, Sac and Fox, Shawnee, and Yurok. Two other important branches of the Algonquian-Wakashan stock are Salishan and Wakashan. Among the tribes speaking Salishan languages are the Bella Coola, Clallam, Coeur d'Alene, Colville, Flathead, Nisqualli, Okanogan, Pend d'Oreille, Puyallup, Shuswap, Spokan, and Tillamook. The Salishan tongues are spoken in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Tribes speaking Wakashan languages (used along the Pacific Northwest coast) include the Nootka, Nitinat, Makah, Kwakiutl, Bella Bella, and Kitamat. Polysynthesism characterizes the Algonquian-Wakashan languages, which are inflected and make great use of suffixes. Prefixes are employed to a limited extent.

Nadene and Penutian

The Nadene languages form another linguistic family; its branches include Athabascan, Eyak, Haida, and Tlingit. The Eyak, Haida, and Tlingit tongues are spoken in parts of Canada and Alaska. As a whole, the Nadene languages have tones that convey meaning and some degree of polysynthesism. The verb is characterized by a reliance on aspect and voice rather than on tense.

The Penutian linguistic stock includes several branches, such as the Maidu, Wintun, and Yokuts language groups, all of which are native to California. Probably also in the Penutian family are the Sahaptin, Chinook, and Tsimshian languages of the Pacific Northwest coast, as well as other tongues in Mexico and parts of Central America. Penutian languages resemble those of the Indo-European family in several ways (for example, they have true cases for the noun).

Athabascan A group of related Native American languages forming a branch of the Nadene linguistic family or stock. In the preconquest period, Athabascan was a large and extensive group of tongues. Its speakers lived in what are now Canada, Alaska, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Mexico. Today the surviving Athabascan languages include Chipewyan, Kutchin, Carrier, and Sarsi (all in Canada); Chasta-Costa (in Oregon); Hoopa or Hupa (in California); Navaho (in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah); and Apache (in Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico). These and other Athabascan languages are the mother tongues of about 100,000 indigenous people of North America. The speech communities of most Athabascan languages today are small, with the exception of Navaho, which has roughly 80,000 speakers, most of whom can also speak English. The Navaho is one of the largest Native American groups in the United States. A feature of the Navaho language, perhaps the best-known tongue in the Athabascan group, is its tonal quality. There are high tones, low tones, rising tones, and falling tones. Another important Athabascan tongue, Apache, is spoken in its various dialects by about 5,000 Native Americans. According to some authorities, the Athabascan languages face extinction relatively soon. See Harry Hoijer et al., Studies in the Athapaskan Languages (1963).


The Hokan-Siouan family is thought to include a number of linguistic groups, but the classification of some of them is still disputed. Among the groups generally considered branches of the Hokan-Siouan stock are Muskogean, whose languages include such tongues as Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole, which are spoken in Oklahoma and Florida; Caddoan, composed of the Caddo, Wichita, Pawnee, and Arikara languages found in Oklahoma and North Dakota; Yuman, with individual languages (such as Cocopa, Havasupai, Kamia, Maricopa, Mohave, Yavapa, and Yuma) in Arizona and California; Iroquoian, to which belong the Seneca, Cayuga, Onandaga, Mohawk, Oneida, Wyandot, and Tuscarora languages spoken in New York, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma, as well as the Cherokee tongue found in Oklahoma and North Carolina; and Siouan, which includes Catawba (in South Carolina), Winnebago (in Wisconsin and Nebraska), Osage (in Nebraska and Oklahoma), Dakota and Assiniboin (in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska), and Crow (in Montana). Languages of the Hokan-Siouan stock are also found in Mexico and parts of Central America. These Hokan-Siouan languages tend to be agglutinative; various word elements, each having a fixed meaning and an independent existence, are merged to form a single word.


The two principal branches of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock are Uto-Aztecan and Tanoan, and their languages are spoken in areas extending from the NW United States to Mexico and Central America. Uto-Aztecan has such subdivisions, or groups, as Nahuatlan, whose languages are spoken in Mexico and parts of Central America, and Shoshonean, to which Comanche, Hopi, Paiute, Shoshone, and Ute belong. Ute and Paiute are found in Utah, Nevada, California, and Arizona; Comanche and Shoshone are spoken in Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, California, and Oklahoma; Hopi is found in Arizona. The languages of the Tanoan branch of Aztec-Tanoan are spoken in the Rio Grande valley, New Mexico, and Arizona. Zui (found in New Mexico) may be connected with Tanoan. The Aztec-Tanoan languages show a degree of polysynthesism.

Nahuatlan Group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock of North and Central America. A Nahuatlan language of great historical importance is Nahuatl, or Aztec. A descendant of the now extinct Aztec, the language of the ancient Aztec empire, Nahuatl is spoken today by approximately 1 million people, mainly in Mexico. Aztec is thought to have reached 5 million people in an area extending from Mexico to Panama. The Nahuatlan group also includes a number of other living languages, such as Pipil and Pochutla, and extinct tongues, among them Toltec, Chichimec, and Nahuatlato.

Languages of Mexico and Central America

Of the languages of Mexico and Central America, about 24 linguistic groups, or stocks, have been identified; it is still not clear which of these can be classified together to reduce the number of groups. Among these groups is Yuman, whose tongues are spoken in Baja California and are related to the Yuman languages found in the United States. In both, Yuman falls within the larger Hokan-Siouan classification, which, in Mexico and parts of Central America, also includes the Coahuiltecan, Guaycuran, and Jicaque stocks, or groups. The Otomian stock (current in central Mexico and including the Otom language) forms part of the larger Macro-Otomanguean division, in which the Mixtecan and Zapotecan stocks of Mexico are often placed. The Nahuatlan group, as indicated earlier, is classified under Uto-Aztecan, some of whose languages are found in Mexico and parts of Central America. Uto-Aztecan is itself a branch of the greater Aztec-Tanoan stock. Nahuatl, or Aztec, is a language of the Nahuatlan group. Mayan, which is found in Yucatn and parts of Central America and to which the language Maya belongs, is part of the larger Penutian linguistic stock. The Penutian stock also has as members the Huave, Mixe-Zoque, and Totonacan branches, whose languages are spoken in Mexico and Guatemala. In Mexico and parts of Central America, there are still more than one million speakers of the modern dialects of Maya proper, which was the official language of the ancient Mayan empire before the Spanish conquest of the New World. The languages of two South American stocks, Cariban and Chibchan, can also be found in Central America.

Languages of South America and the West Indies

More than 100 distinct linguistic stocks have been proposed for South America, and more than 1,000 separate languages have been discovered on that continent and in the West Indies. The latter had two aboriginal stocks, Arawakan and Cariban, which are also found in South America. When more is known about the indigenous South American languages, some of the stocks may turn out to be sufficiently closely related so as to allow linguists to group them together and thus reduce the number of basic stocks. The principal linguistic groups of South America and the West Indies are usually said to be eight: Chibchan, Cariban, Ge, Quechua, Aymara, Araucanian, Arawakan, and Tup-Guaran.

Before the European conquest, Chibchan flourished in the areas now designated as Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. It belongs to the larger Macro-Chibchan stock. Some Chibchan languages still survive in Colombia and Central America. Cariban and Ge are families of the greater Ge-Pano-Carib linguistic stock. In the aboriginal period the Cariban languages were important in the West Indies, Brazil, Peru, the Guianas, Venezuela, and Colombia. Today a number of them are still found in N South America and in some of the West Indian islands. Ge languages were spoken in E Brazil in preconquest times. About 50 of them are still in use in that country. Quechua (also called Kechua or Quichua), Aymara, and Araucanian are linguistic families assigned to the Andean branch of the larger Andean-Equatorial stock. Aymara today consists of 14 languages native to about a million people in Peru and parts of Bolivia, where those languages were also spoken in preconquest times. A number of languages, the most important of which is Mapuche, make up the Araucanian family, which thrives in Chile and Argentina.

The Arawakan and Tup-Guaran families belong to the Equatorial branch of the Andean-Equatorial languages. Arawakan is considered the most extensive South American linguistic stock. In the aboriginal period (before 1500), Arawakan tongues were spoken in the West Indies and S Brazil and along the eastern side of the Andes. Some Arawakan languages have died out, particularly in the West Indies, but others still survive there and in South America, especially in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, the Guianas, Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The Tup-Guaran family of languages is next to the Arawakan in geographical extent. The Tupian subdivision reaches from the coast of E Brazil along the Amazon River to the Andes. The Guaranian subdivision is found in Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. Some 120 Tup-Guaran languages have survived. The two dominant members of this large family are Tup and Guaran. Tup serves as a lingua franca for the indigenous population in Brazil. Guaran is co-official with Spanish in Paraguay, and it is spoken by a million people in Paraguay and Brazil. The linguistic diversity of South America is unparalleled. There are many other families and hundreds of additional languages that have yet to be researched and definitely classified.

Quechua Linguistic family belonging to the Andean branch of the Andean-Equatorial stock of Native American languages (mainly in South America). The languages of the Quechuan family are spoken by peoples in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile. There is a modern standard language of this family spoken by half the people of Peru (some 8.5 million), and some 28 Quechuan languages still are in use. The official language of the ancient Inca empire, also called Quechua, was of this family. In the early 1400s, Quechua was dominant in S Peru. As the Incas' empire expanded, their language became the administrative and commercial tongue from N Ecuador to central Chile. After their conquest of the Incas in the 16th cent., the Spaniards spread the use of Quechua beyond the Inca empire.

Writing and Sign Language

Written literature in the usual sense does not exist in the indigenous American languages; however, there are folk literatures. Communication by writing among the Native Americans in the aboriginal period was limited to the Maya and the Aztecs. Both cultures used a form of picture writing to represent their ideas. About 800 of the Maya hieroglyphs, or symbols, are known, and in recent years substantial progress has been made in deciphering them. Not many texts of the Maya survive, the most numerous being inscriptions on buildings.

The Incas of Peru used a system of knotted cords, ropes, or strings to communicate. Called the quipu, it is considered a form of writing. The color and shape of the knotted cords were the clues to meaning. For instance, green cords signified grain, and red cords, soldiers. One knot stood for the number 10; two knots, 20; a double knot, 100. Among Native Americans of E North America, beaded wampum belts often contained pictographic symbols for communication.

Another means of nonlinguistic communication among many of the indigenous North Americans was sign language, consisting of gestures with the hands and arms. One advantage of sign language was that it made communication possible among Native American groups having different languages. In addition, smoke signals were used by some Native Americans to convey information, but they were capable only of giving simple messages, such as enemies in the area or some previously agreed-upon message.

Sign Language Gestural communication used as an alternative or replacement for speech. Sign languages resemble oral languages in every way other than their modality. As with oral languages, sign languages are acquired spontaneously and have highly intricate, rule-governed grammar and phonology. The three classes of features that make up individual signs are hand configuration, movement, and position to the body. Sign languages include those of Trappist monks, who have a rule of silence, and Plains Indians, where speakers of mutually unintelligible languages communicated freely. Australian aborigines and people of Sudan and the Sahara also have a complete sign language. Many languages have conventionalized body gestures elaborated to accompany or supplement speech, e.g., the Neapolitan gesture language. The widely used manual language of the deaf, or language of signs, was first systematized in the 18th century by the French abb Charles Michel de l'pe. It was brought to the United States by T. H. Gallaudet. As with any sign language, only a small percentage of signs suggest the form of thought they represent. Many dictionaries of signs have been compiled, including the American sign language developed for the deaf. Often the language of signs is taught along with lipreading and with a manual alphabet, i.e., a method of forming the letters of the alphabet by fixed positions of the fingers in the air. See W. C. Stokoe, Semiotics and Human Sign Languages (1972); Charlotte Baker and Robbin Battison, ed., Sign Language and the Deaf Community (1980); C. A. Padden, Interaction of Morphology and Syntax in American Sign Language (1988).


See Edward Sapir in Selected Writings in Language, Culture, and Personality, ed. by D. G. Mandelbaum (1949); J. A. Mason in Handbook of South American Indians, ed. by J. H. Stewart (Vol. 6, 1950); Franz Boas, Handbook of American Indian Languages (1911-38, repr. 1969); Jesse Sawyer, ed., Studies in American Indian Languages (1971); Esther Matteson et al., Comparative Studies in Amerindian Languages (1972); L. and M. Campbell, The Languages of Native America (1979); Joseph Greenberg, Language in the Americas (1987).

North American Natives Contemporary Life

In the 1890s the long struggle between the expanding European population and the Native American peoples that had begun soon after the coming of the Spanish in the 16th cent. and the British and the French in the 17th cent. was brought to an end. Native American life in the United States in the 20th cent. has been marked by poverty, poor education, and unemployment. The Native American population in the United States is some 1.5 million.

Information about particular groups can be found in separate articles and in separate biographies and subject articles (e.g., Pontiac's Rebellion; Dawes Act).

Dawes Act 1887, passed by the U.S. Congress to provide for the granting of individual landholdings to Native Americans who would renounce their tribal holdings. Sponsored by H. L. Dawes while he was chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs, the act sought to absorb Native Americans into the body politic of the nation.

Pontiac's Rebellion 1763-66, Native American uprising against the British just after the close of the French and Indian Wars, so called after one of its leaders, Pontiac.

Pontiac fl. 1760-66, Ottawa chief. He may have been the chief met by Robert Rogers in 1760 when Rogers was on his way to take possession of the Western forts for the English. Although the Native American uprising against the English colonists just after the French and Indian Wars is known as Pontiac's Rebellion or Pontiac's Conspiracy, Pontiac's role is uncertain. He definitely was present at the siege of Detroit, and encouraged other tribes to fight the British, but most of the actual fighting and strategy was probably planned independently by other Native American leaders. After the rebellion had failed and a treaty had been concluded (1766), Pontiac is supposed to have gone west and to have been murdered by Illinois at Cahokia. This story is, however, accepted by few authorities. See bibliography under Pontiac's Rebellion.


The French attitude toward the Native Americans had always been more conciliatory than that of the English. French Jesuit priests and French traders had maintained friendly and generous dealings with their Native American neighbors. After conquering New France (Old Canada), the English aroused the resentment of the Western tribes by treating them arrogantly, refusing to supply them with free ammunition (as the French had done), building forts, and permitting white settlement on Native American-owned lands.

Course of the War

In April, 1763, a council was held by the Native Americans on the banks of the Ecorse River near Detroit; there an attack on the fort at Detroit was planned. Pontiac's scheme was to gain admission to the garrison for himself and some of his chiefs by asking for a council with the commandant, but the Native Americans, who would be carrying weapons, were then to open a surprise attack. Major Henry Gladwin, the commandant, was warned of the plot and foiled it. However, Pontiac and his Ottawas, reinforced by Wyandots, Potawatomis, and Ojibwas, stormed the fort on May 10. The garrison was relieved by reinforcements and supplies from Niagara in the summer, but Pontiac continued to besiege it until November, when, disappointed at finding he could expect no help from the French, he retired to the Maumee River.

Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania had been warned of the uprising by a messenger from Gladwin and withstood attack until relieved by Col. Henry Bouquet. Bouquet and his forces, on their way to Fort Pitt in Aug., 1763, had been victorious in a severe engagement at Bushy Run. Meanwhile, Pontiac's allies, the Delaware, Seneca, and Shawnee tribes, captured and destroyed many British outposts, among them Sandusky, Michilimackinac, and Presque Isle. In an attempt by the British to surprise Pontiac's camp, the battle of Bloody Run was fought on July 31, 1763, with great loss to the British. The borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia were kept in a state of terror.

In the spring of 1764 an offensive campaign was planned by the English, and two armies were sent out, one into Ohio under Colonel Bouquet and the other to the Great Lakes under Col. John Bradstreet. Bradstreet's attempts at treaties were condemned by Gen. Thomas Gage, who had succeeded Sir Jeffery Amherst as commander in chief, and Colonel Bradstreet returned home with little achievement. Bouquet, by his campaign in Pennsylvania, brought the Delaware and the Shawnee to sue for peace, and a treaty was concluded with them by Sir William Johnson. After failing to persuade some of the tribes farther west and south to join him in rebellion, Pontiac finally completed in 1766 a treaty with Johnson and was pardoned by the English.


Francis Parkman's History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac (1851, 10th rev. ed. 1913), although it contains certain inaccuracies, is the classic work. See also H. H. Peckham, Pontiac and the Indian Uprising (1947).

French and Indian Wars 1689-1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th centuries. They were really campaigns in the worldwide struggle for empire and were roughly linked to wars of the European coalitions. At the time they were viewed in Europe as only an unimportant aspect of the struggle, and, although the stakes were Canada, the American West, and the West Indies, the fortunes of war in Europe had more effect in determining the winner than the fighting in the disputed territory itself.

To the settlers in America, however, the rivalry of the two powers was of immediate concern, for the fighting meant not only raids by the French or the British but also the horrors of tribal border warfare. The conflict may be looked on, from the American viewpoint, as a single war with interruptions. The ultimate aimdomination of the eastern part of the continentwas the same; and the methodscapture of the seaboard strongholds and the little Western forts and attacks on frontier settlementswere the same.

The wars helped to bring about important changes in the British colonies. In addition to the fact of their ocean-wide distance from the mother country, the colonies felt themselves less dependent militarily on the British by the end of the wars; they became most concerned with their own problems and put greater value on their own institutions. In other words, they began to think of themselves as American rather than British.

The French and Indian War

Rivalry for the West, particularly for the valley of the upper Ohio, prepared the way for another war. In 1748 a group of Virginians interested in Western lands formed the Ohio Company, and at the same time the French were investigating possibilities of occupying the upper Ohio region. The French were first to act, moving S from Canada and founding two forts. Robert Dinwiddie, governor of Virginia, sent an emissary, young George Washington, to protest.

The contest between the Ohio Company and the French was now joined and hinged on possession of the spot where the Monongahela and the Allegheny join to form the Ohio (the site of Pittsburgh). The English started a fort there but were expelled by the French, who built Fort Duquesne in 1754. Dinwiddie, after attempting to get aid from the other colonies, sent out an expedition under Washington. He defeated a small force of French and Native Americans but had to withdraw and, building Fort Necessity, held his ground until forced to surrender (July, 1754). The British colonies, alarmed by French activities at their back door, attempted to correlate their activities in the Albany Congress. War had thus broken out before fighting began in Europe in the Seven Years War.

The American conflict, the last and by far the most important of the series, is usually called simply the French and Indian War. The British undertook to capture the French forts in the Westnot only Duquesne, but also Fort Frontenac, Fort Niagara, and the posts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. They also set out to take Louisburg and the French cities on the St. Lawrence, Quebec and Montreal. They at first failed in their attempts. The expedition led by Edward Braddock against Duquesne in 1755 was a costly fiasco, and the attempt by Admiral Boscawen to blockade Canada and the first expeditions against Niagara and Crown Point were fruitless.

After 1757, when the British ministry of the elder William Pitt was reconstituted, Pitt was able to supervise the war in America. Affairs then took a better turn for the British. Lord Amherst in 1758 took Louisburg, where James Wolfe distinguished himself. That same year Gen. John Forbes took Fort Duquesne (which became Fort Pitt).

The French Louis Joseph de Montcalm, one of the great commanders of his time, distinguished himself (1758) by repulsing the attack of James Abercromby on Ticonderoga. The next year that fort fell to Amherst. In the West, the hold of Sir William Johnson over the Iroquois and the activities of border troops under his general commandmost spectacular, perhaps, were the exploits of the rangers under Robert Rogersreduced French holdings and influence.

The war became a fight for the St. Lawrence, with Montcalm pitted against the brilliant Wolfe. The climax came in 1759 in the open battle on the Plains of Abraham. Both Wolfe and Montcalm were killed, but Quebec fell to the British. In 1760, Montreal also fell, and the war was over. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended French control of Canada, which went to Great Britain.


The classic works in English on the conflict are those of Francis Parkman. See also William Wood, The Passing of New France (1915); G. M. Wrong, The Conquest of New France (1918); L. H. Gipson, The British Empire before the American Revolution, Vol. IV-VIII (with individual titles, 1939-53); Brian Connell, The Savage Years (1959); E. P. Hamilton, The French and Indian Wars (1962); Harrison Bird, Battle for a Continent (1965); Guy Fregault, Canada: The War of the Conquest (1955, tr. 1969).

The Northern Area

The Northern area covered most of Canada, also known as the Subarctic, in the belt of semiarctic land from the Rocky Mts. to Hudson Bay. The main languages in this area were those of the Algonquian-Wakashan and the Nadene stocks. Typical of the people there were the Chipewyan. Limiting environmental conditions prevented farming, but hunting, gathering, and activities such as trapping and fishing were carried on. Nomadic hunters moved with the season from forest to tundra, killing the caribou in semiannual drives. Other food was provided by small game, berries, and edible roots. Not only food but clothing and even some shelter (caribou-skin tents) came from the caribou, and with caribou leather thongs the Indians laced their snowshoes and made nets and bags. The snowshoe was one of the most important items of material culture. The shaman featured in the religion of many of these people.

The Northwest Coast Area

The Northwest Coast area extended along the Pacific coast from S Alaska to N California. The main language families in this area were the Nadene in the north and the Wakashan (a subdivision of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock) and the Tsimshian (a subdivision of the Penutian linguistic stock) in the central area. Typical tribes were the Kwakiutl, the Haida, the Tsimshian, and the Nootka. Thickly wooded, with a temperate climate and heavy rainfall, the area had long supported a large Native American population. Salmon was the staple food, supplemented by sea mammals (seals and sea lions) and land mammals (deer, elk, and bears) as well as berries and other wild fruit. The Native Americans of this area used wood to build their houses and had cedar-planked canoes and carved dugouts. In their permanent winter villages some of the groups had totem poles which were elaborately carved and covered with symbolic animal decoration. Their art work, for which they are famed, also included the making of ceremonial items, such as rattles and masks; weaving; and basketry. They had a highly stratified society with chiefs, nobles, commoners, and slaves. Public display and disposal of wealth were basic features of the society. They had woven robes, furs, and basket hats as well as wooden armor and helmets for battle. This distinctive culture, which included cannibalistic rituals, was not greatly affected by European influences until after the late 18th cent., when the white fur traders and hunters came to the area.

The Plains Area

The Plains area extended from just N of the Canadian border S to Texas and included the grasslands area between the Mississippi River and the foothills of the Rocky Mts. The main language families in this area were the Algonquian-Wakashan, the Aztec-Tanoan, and the Hokan-Siouan. In pre-Columbian times there were two distinct types of Native Americans there, sedentary and nomadic. The sedentary tribes, who had migrated from neighboring regions and had initally settled along the great river valleys, were farmers and lived in permanent villages of dome-shaped earth lodges surrounded by earthen walls. They raised corn, squash, and beans. The foot nomads, on the other hand, moved about with their goods on dog-drawn travois and eked out a precarious existence by hunting the vast herds of buffalo (bison)usually by driving them into enclosures or rounding them up by setting grass fires. They supplemented their diet by exchanging meat and hides for the corn of the agricultural Native Americans.

The horse, first introduced by the Spanish of the Southwest, appeared in the Plains about the beginning of the 18th cent. and revolutionized the life of the Plains Indians. Many Native Americans left their villages and joined the nomads. Mounted and armed with bow and arrow, they ranged the grasslands hunting buffalo. The other Native Americans remained farmers (e.g., the Arikara, the Hidatsa, and the Mandan). Native Americans from surrounding areas came into the Plains (e.g., the Sioux from the Great Lakes, the Comanche and the Kiowa from the west and northwest, and the Navaho and the Apache from the southwest). A universal sign language developed among the perpetually wandering and often warring Native Americans. Living on horseback and in the portable tepee, they preserved food by pounding and drying lean meat and made their clothes from buffalo hides and deerskins. The system of coup was a characteristic feature of their society. Other features were rites of fasting in quest of a vision, warrior clans, bead and feather art work, and decorated hides. These Plains Indians were among the last to engage in a serious struggle with the white settlers in the United States.

The Plateau Area

The Plateau area extended from above the Canadian border through the plateau and mountain area of the Rocky Mts. to the Southwest and included much of California. Typical tribes were the Spokan, the Paiute, the Nez Perc, and the Shoshone. This was an area of great linguistic diversity. Because of the inhospitable environment the cultural development was generally low. The Native Americans in the Central Valley of California and on the California coast, notably the Pomo, were sedentary peoples who gathered edible plants, roots, and fruit and also hunted small game. Their acorn bread, made by pounding acorns into meal and then leaching it with hot water, was distinctive, and they cooked in baskets filled with water and heated by hot stones. Living in brush shelters or more substantial lean-tos, they had partly buried earth lodges for ceremonies and ritual sweat baths. Basketry, coiled and twined, was highly developed. To the north, between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mts., the social, political, and religious systems were simple, and art was nonexistent. The Native Americans there underwent (c.1730) a great cultural change when they obtained from the Plains Indians the horse, the tepee, a form of the sun dance, and deerskin clothes. They continued, however, to fish for salmon with nets and spears and to gather camas bulbs. They also gathered ants and other insects and hunted small game and, in later times, buffalo. Their permanent winter villages on waterways had semisubterranean lodges with conical roofs; a few Native Americans lived in bark-covered long houses.

The Southwest Area

The Southwest area generally extended over Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Utah. The Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock was the main language group of the area. Here a seminomadic people called the Basket Makers, who hunted with a spear thrower, or atlatl, acquired (c.1000 b.c. ) the art of cultivating beans and squash, probably from their southern neighbors. They also learned to make unfired pottery. They wove baskets, sandals, and bags. By c.700 b.c. they had initiated intensive agriculture, made true pottery, and hunted with bow and arrow. They lived in pit dwellings, which were partly underground and were lined with slabs of stonethe so-called slab houses. A new people came into the area some two centuries later; these were the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians. They lived in large, terraced community houses set on ledges of cliffs or canyons for protection and developed a ceremonial chamber out of what had been the living room of the pit dwellings. This period of development ended c.1300, after a severe drought and the beginnings of the invasions from the north by the Athabascan-speaking Navaho and Apache. The known historic Pueblo cultures of such sedentary farming peoples as the Hopi and the Zui then came into being. They cultivated corn, beans, squash, cotton, and tobacco, killed rabbits with a wooden throwing stick, and traded cotton textiles and corn for buffalo meat from nomadic tribes. The men wove cotton textiles and cultivated the fields, while women made fine polychrome pottery. The mythology and religious ceremonies were complex.

Basket Makers Name given to the members of an early Native North American culture in the Southwest, predecessors of the Pueblo. Because of the cultural continuity from the Basket Makers to the Pueblos, they are jointly referred to by archaeologists as the Anasazi culture. They are so called because of their extensive practice of basketmaking; by covering the baskets with clay and baking them hard they created waterproof containers. One system of dating places their arrival in the area as early as 1500 b.c. They seem to have been at first nomadic hunters, using wooden clubs, hunting sticks, and the atlatl. They lived chiefly in houses with adobe floors and learned to grow corn and squash, probably from southern neighbors in Mexico. As they developed a more extensive agriculture, they dug pits and lined them with stone for grain storage and later built substantial dwellings lined with slabs of stone. At some time, perhaps c.500 b.c. , they were succeeded in the area by the ancestors of the Pueblo, who probably absorbed many of them. Some Basket Makers may have moved and may have been the ancestors of other Native American tribes. Archaeologists divide the time of their culture into the Basket Maker and Modified Basket Maker periods; in the latter period they turned increasingly to agriculture.

Pueblo Name given by the Spanish to the sedentary Native Americans who lived in stone or adobe communal houses in what is now the SW United States. The term pueblo is also used for the villages occupied by the Pueblo. Their prehistoric settlements, known as the Anasazi and Mogollon cultures, extended southward from S Utah and S Colorado into Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent territory in Mexico. The transition from archaic hunters and gatherers to sedentary agricultural populations occurred around the first century a.d. , when maize, squash, and beans were widely adopted; the trio of foods is still used by the Pueblos. Although agriculture provided the bulk of the diet for these early populations, hunting and gathering was an important source of additional foodstuffs. Pottery manufacture began about a.d. 400 and was used for cooking and water storage. Clothing was woven from cotton, grown in warmer areas, and yucca fiber. Early houses among the Anasazi and Mogollon were pit houses, which were replaced by adobe and stone surface dwellings throughout the region by the end of the first millennium a.d.

Villages were variable in size and architectural content, but most included circular, often subterranean structures known as kivas (apparently a derivation of the pit house) and storage pits for grains. Prior to the 14th and 15th cent., densely settled villages were more the exception than the rule. Large pueblos were found at Chaco Canyon, dating to the 11th and early 12th cent., and at Mesa Verde, where multistoried cliff houses were inhabited in the 13th and 14th cent. Changing climatic conditions forced the abandonment of much of the region by the early 14th cent., with populations migrating to their present-day locations in the Rio Grande valley and a few other isolated areas (e.g., the Hopi mesas).

Contact with the Spanish

Initial contact with European populations came in the 16th cent., when Spaniards entered the Rio Grande area. The seven Zui towns were reported by the Franciscan Marcos de Niza to be the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola, leading to the first intensive contactsa Spanish exploration party under Francisco Vsquez de Coronado in 1540. Due to increasing pressure on the existing food supplies, the initially friendly Pueblos became hostile and then revolted; their resistance ended in a mass execution of Native Americans by Coronado. In 1598 Juan de Oate began full-scale missionary work and moved the provincial headquarters of the Spanish colonial government to Santa Fe. By 1630, 60,000 Pueblo had been converted to Christianity, and 90 villages had chapels, according to Father de Benavides. Determined to put an end to the suffering caused by their Spanish oppressors, the Pueblos staged a successful revolt in 1680.

Pop, a medicine man, led a band of Pueblos which killed 380 settlers and 31 missionaries, and forced the remaining Spaniards to retreat to El Paso. However, the Pueblos lost 347 of their number in one attack on Santa Fe. Fearing Spanish reprisal, villages were abandoned for better fortified sites. In 1692 De Vargas, with the cooperation of some Pueblo leaders, reconquered the Pueblos in New Mexico. The Western Pueblos, however, including the Hopi, remained independent.

The Pueblo have the oldest settlements N of Mexico, dating back 700 years for the still occupied Hopi, Zui and Acoma pueblos. The Europeans who settled in the Southwest adopted the adobe structures and compact village plans of the Pueblos. The Pueblos, for their part, adopted many domestic animals and assorted crafts from the Old World, including blacksmithing and woodworking.


The Pueblo speak languages of at least two different families. Languages of the Tanoan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock are spoken at 11 pueblos, including Taos, Isleta, Jemez, San Juan, San Ildefonso, and the Hopi pueblo of Hano. Languages of the Keresan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock also are limited to Pueblo peopleWestern Keresan, spoken at Acoma and Laguna, and Eastern Keresan, at San Felipe, Santa Ana, Sia, Cochiti, and Santo Domingo. The Hopi language, which belongs to the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock, is spoken at all Hopi pueblos except Hano. The Zui language may be connected with Tanoan, falling within the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock.

Social Structure

Among the modern Pueblo, men are the weavers and women make pottery and assist in house construction. The status of women among both the Western and the Eastern Pueblos is high, but there are differences related to the different social systems of each. The Western Pueblos, including the Hano, Zui, Acoma, Laguna, and, the best known, the Hopis, have exogamous clans with a matrilineal emphasis and matrilocal residence, and the houses and gardens are owned by women; the kachina cult emphasizes weather control, and the Pueblos who follow this cult are governed by a council of clan representatives. Among the Eastern Pueblos, there are bilateral extended families, patrilineal clans, and male-owned houses and land; warfare and hunting as well as healing and exorcism are more important than among the Western Pueblos.

The Spanish added new elements to the government in the form of civil officers, but the de facto government and ceremonial organization remained native. In recent years the Bureau of Indian Affairs introduced elected officials in Santa Clara, Laguna, Zui, and Isleta. The Hopi have an elected council on the tribal level. The Kachina and other secret societies dealing with war, agriculture, and healing still carry out their complicated rituals and dances: for some occassions, the public is invited. The reservation population in Arizona and New Mexico was just over 36,000 in 1980.

Kachina Spirit of the invisible life forces of the Pueblo of North America. The kachinas, or kachinam, are impersonated by elaborately costumed masked male members of the tribes who visit Pueblo villages the first half of the year. In a variety of ceremonies, they dance, sing, bring gifts to the children, and sometimes administer public scoldings. Although not worshiped, kachinas are greatly revered, and one of their main purposes is to bring rain for the spring crops. The term kachina also applies to cottonwood dolls made by the Hopi and Zuni that are exquisitely carved and dressed like the dancers. Originally intended to instruct the children about the hundreds of kachina spirits, the finer carvings have become collector's items. The name is also spelled katchina.


See E. P. Dozier, The Pueblo Indians of North America (1970); Robert Silverberg, The Pueblo Revolt (1970); J. U. Terrell, Pueblos, Gods, and Spaniards (1973); A. Ortiz, ed., Handbook of Indians of North America: Vol. 9, Southwest (1979); L. Cordell, Prehistory of the Southwest (1984).

Cliff Dwellers Native Americans of the Anasazi culture who were builders of the ancient cliff dwellings found in the canyons and on the mesas of the U.S. Southwest, principally on the tributaries of the Rio Grande and the Colorado River in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. It was once thought that these ruins were the work of an extinct aboriginal people, but it has been established that they were built (11th-14th cent.) by the ancestors of the present Pueblo. The dwellings were large communal habitations built on ledges in the canyon walls and on the flat tops of the mesas. Access to the cliffs was very difficult and thus highly defensible against nomadic predatory tribes such as the Navaho. The cliff dwellers were sedentary agriculturists who planted crops in the river valleys below their high-perched houses. They were experts at irrigating the fields. Their lives were organized on a communal pattern, and the many kivas show that their religious ceremonies were like those of the Pueblo today. Many of the dwellings are now in national parks. Some of the better-known ones are those of the Mesa Verde National Park, in Colorado, where there are more than 300 dwellings; Yucca House National Monument, also in Colorado; Hovenweep National Monument, in Utah; and Casa Grande, Montezuma Castle, and Wupatki national monuments, in Arizona. See William Current, Pueblo Architecture of the Southwest (1971).

Hopi Group of the Pueblo, formerly called Moki, or Moqui. They speak the Hopi language, which belongs to the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock, at all their pueblos except Hano, where the language belongs to the Tanoan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock. They occupy several mesa villages in NE Arizona and numbered 6,624 in 1988. In 1540, they were visited by some of Francisco Coronado's men under Pedro de Tovar, but because of their geographical isolation they remained more independent of European influence than other Pueblo groups. The Spanish began to establish missions in 1629 at the pueblos of Awatobi, Oraibi, and Shongopovi. These missions were destroyed in the revolt of 1680, and when the residents of Awatobi invited the missionaries to return, the other Hopi destroyed their village. After the revolt, pueblos in the foothills were abandoned and new villages were built on the mesas for defense against possible attack by the Spanish. The pueblo of Hano was built by the Tewa, who had fled from the area of the Rio Grande valley that the Spanish reconquered. During the 18th and 19th cent., the Hopi were subjected to frequent raids by the neighboring Navaho. The region was pacified by the U.S. Army in the late 19th cent. and a Hopi reservation was established in 1882, but the ambiguous status of much of the reservation enabled Navaho populations to encroach on traditional Hopi lands. By the 1960s and 70s, Navaho expansion on lands set aside for joint use provoked court action and a definitive partition of the disputed land. The court-ordered relocation of over 10,000 Navaho and fewer than 100 Hopi from the partitioned lands remains incomplete and is a source of bitter conflict. The Hopi are sedentary farmers, mainly dependent on corn, beans, and squash; they also raise wheat, cotton, and tobacco, and herd sheep. Each village is divided into clans and is governed by a chief, who is also the spiritual leader. Political and religious duties revolved around the clans. The Badger clan, for instance, still conducts the kachina (fertility) ceremony, and the Antelope and Snake clans perform the famous snake dance at Walpi and other pueblos. A Hopi tribal council and constitution was established in 1936, but internal dissension has limited tribal unity. See J. Kammer, The Second Long Walk (1980); S. Rushforth and S. Upham, A Hopi Social History (1992).

Navaho Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Athabascan branch of the Nadene linguistic stock. A migration from the North to the Southwest area is thought to have occurred in the past because of an affiliation with N Athabascan speakers; the Navaho settled among the Pueblo and also assimilated with the Shoshone and the Yuma both physically and culturally while keeping a distinct social group.


The Navaho are a composite group with over 50 separate clans. In the 17th cent. they occupied the region between the San Juan and Little Colorado rivers in NE Arizona, but they ranged far outside that territory. The Navaho were a predatory tribe who (often in alliance with their relatives, the Apache) constantly raided the Pueblo and later the Spanish and Mexican settlements of New Mexico.

When the Americans occupied (c.1846) New Mexico, the Navaho pillaged them. Punitive expeditions against the Navaho were only temporarily successful until Kit Carson, by destroying the Navaho's sheep, subdued them in 1863-64. A majority of them were imprisoned for four years at Fort Sumner in New Mexico. In 1868 they were released from prison and given a reservation of 3.5 million acres (1,41,000 hectares) in NE Arizona, NW New Mexico, and SE Utah and a new supply of sheep. The Navaho then numbered some 9,000.

Since that date they have remained a peaceful and industrious people and have been steadily increasing in number. By the early 1970s, with some 120,000 Navahos on or adjacent to the reservation, they constituted the largest Native American group in the United States. Their reservation has grown to over 16 million acres (6,475,000 hectares). Charges of encroachment by neighboring Hopi resulted in Federal Court decisions that partitioned formerly jointly held land.

Way of Life

The Navaho were a nomadic tribe. In winter they lived in earth-covered lodges and in summer in brush shelters called hogans. They farmed (corn and beans), hunted (deer, elk, and antelope), and gathered wild vegetable products. After sheep were introduced (early 17th cent.) by the Spanish, sheep raising superseded hunting and farming. Thus the Navaho became a pastoral people. They have adopted many peaceful artsfrom the Mexicans metalworking, from the Pueblo weaving. They live in extended kin groups and traditional inheritance is through the mother's line; women have an important position in the society. Navaho religion is elaborate and complex, with many deities, songs, chants, and prayers, and numerous colorful ceremonies, such as the squaw dance and the night chant. The vast mythology includes a creation myth that states that Esdzanadkhi (probably Mother Earth) created humanity. The Navaho have also subscribed to the peyote cult.

In the 1930s the overgrazed and eroded grasslands of the Navaho Reservation caused the federal government to reduce the tribe's sheep, cattle, and horses by as much as 50%. The government, having left the Navaho without a means of support, began a program of irrigation projects, thus enabling them to turn to agriculture for a livelihood. Farming, however, can support only a fraction of the people, and as a result many have had to obtain their income off the reservation. The discovery of oil, gas, and other minerals has helped to increase the tribal income (now about $16 million per year). Peyote Spineless cactus (Lophophora williamsii ), eaten by indigenous people in Mexico and the United States to produce visions. The plant is native to the SW United States and Mexico, where it grows in dry soil. The plant is light blue-green, bears small pink flowers, and has a carrot-shaped root. The mushroomlike crown, called a peyote, or mescal button (but unrelated to the liquor mescal), is cut off, and chewed or brewed into a concoction for drinking or rolled into pellets to be swallowed for its narcotic effect. The active substance in peyote is mescaline, one of several naturally occurring psychotomimetic drugs. An alkaloid, mescaline tastes bitter, causes an initial feeling of nausea, then produces visions and changes in perception, time sense, and mood. There are no uncomfortable aftereffects, and the drug is not physiologically habit forming. Peyote has been used since pre-Columbian times and is regarded by its inhabitants as a panacea. It is important in the Native American Church, which fused Christian doctrine with peyote-eating tribal ritual. See Weston La Barre, The Peyote Cult (rev. ed., 1969). Bibliography

See R. M. Underhill, The Navahos (1956); Clyde Kluckholn and Dorothea Leighton, The Navaho (rev. ed. 1962); L. R. Bailey, The Long Walk: A History of the Navaho Wars, 1846-1868 (1964); Laura Gilpin, The Enduring Navaho (1968); J. U. Terrell, The Navajos (1970); James Downs, The Navajo (1972); Frank McNitt, Navajo Wars (1972). Bibliography

The Bureau of American Ethnology, The American Indian Historical Society, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Heye Foundation have published many useful works on the Indians. For some general works see A. L. Kroeber, Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America (1939, repr. 1963); R. F. Spencer et al., The Native Americans (1965); Clark Wissler, Indians of the United States (rev. ed. 1966); Wolfgang Haberland, The Art of North America (1968); Alvin Josephy, The Indian Heritage of America (1968); A. L. Marriott and C. K. Rachlin, American Indian Mythology (1968); Angie Debo, A History of the Indians of the United States (1970); J. U. Terrell, American Indian Almanac (1971); Wayne Moguin and Charles Van Doren, eds., Great Documents in American Indian History (1973); W. H. Oswatt, This Land Was Theirs (2d ed. 1973); William C Sturtevant, ed., Handbook of North American Indians (20 vol., 1977-); James Axtell, The European and the Indian (1981); Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival (1987).

Antiquity and Prehistory of Native Americans Study of the origins of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas. The first humans to inhabit the Americas are presumed to have moved from NE Asia across a land bridge, known as Beringia, exposed in the Bering Sea region several times during the Ice Age. The number of migrations and the size of migrating populations are unknown, though the evidence currently available suggests at least three separate waves, probably by relatively small groups. The date at which these migrations occurred is also unknown. Archaeological sites with the oldest known remains in the Americas, including Old Crow (Alaska), Meadowcroft (Pennsylvania), Monte Verde (Chile), and Pedra Furada (Brazil), appear to date to about 30,000 b.c. , although many experts regard these dates as unproven. On the other hand, the lack of more conclusive evidence pointing to early occupation of North America is often attributed to the fact that much of the continent was covered by glaciers and probably uninhabited or only sparsely settled. Other areas are now covered with several meters of recent alluvial deposits, and any remains that may exist are thus obscured from view. The best known early cultures in the Americas, dating from 10,000-4000 b.c. , are known as Paleo-Indians, who were widely distributed on both continents. All known groups during this period were big-game hunters, dependent largely on extinct mammalian species such as mammoth, camel, horse, ground sloth, and bison. The traditional cultural sequence identified by archaeologists is based on stone tool types found on the Great Plains of North America. In other regions, technologies were adapted to local hunting techniques and game species, and seem to show a similar pattern of dependence on large mammals. By about 5000 b.c. , most of the large mammals upon which Paleo-Indians had depended were extinct, forcing human groups to diversify economic strategies and increase their reliance on smaller fauna and plant foods. The adaptations which emerged, known collectively as Archaic adaptations, were highly specialized in response to local environmental conditions. In some areas of the New World, Archaic lifestyles survived essentially unchanged until the European conquest. In other areas, most notably the Andean region, the Amazon basin, Mesoamerica, the SW United States, and the Mississippi basin and eastern woodlands, Archaic Native Americans evolved into sedentary agricultural societies, beginning about 2000 b.c. See J. D. Jennings, Prehistory of North America, (rev. ed. 1974); S. J. Fiedel, Prehistory of the Americas (2d ed. 1992). Woodland Culture Term used to refer to Native American societies inhabiting the eastern United States. The earliest Woodland groups were the Adena and Hopewell, who lived in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys between 800 b.c. and a.d. 800. Both groups are known for their large burial mounds, often provisioned with finely crafted grave items. Like earlier archaic populations the Adena were hunters and gatherers living in seasonal camps. The Hopewell, as with later Woodland cultures, lived in villages and supplemented their hunting and gathering with the cultivation of some domesticated plants. Olmec Term denoting the culture of ancient Mexican natives inhabiting the tropical coastal plain of the contemporary states of Veracruz and Tabasco, between 1300 and 400 b.c. The term is also used to refer to contemporaneous groups in highland regions of Mesoamerica (including the states of Oaxaca, Morelos, Guerrero, and the Federal District) who possessed ceramic or sculptural designs similar to those found in the lowlands. The nature of the relationship between the highland and lowland groups remains unclear. The largest and best known Olmec sites are situated along rivers on the coastal plain and include San Lorenzo (1300-900 b.c. ) and Tres Zapotes (1000-400 b.c. ) in Veracruz, and La Venta (1000-600 b.c. ) in Tabasco. At the time of their apogee, these three settlements were probably the most complex ceremonial sites found in Mesoamerica. For this reason, the Olmec are often considered to be the cultura madre (mother culture) of later Mesoamerican civilizations. The Olmec were renowned for their sculpting skills and distinctive motifs, leaving numerous carved stelae, as well as freestanding jade and basalt sculptures. Among the more notable examples are numerous sculptured heads of basalt, weighing as much as 40 tons and standing up to 10 ft (3 m) in height. The basalt used for these carvings came from up to 50 mi (80 km) away and was floated to the riverine settlements on rafts. Earthen platforms and pyramidal mounds were also common features of the settlements. The largest single pyramid, found at La Venta, measures 459 ft (140 m) in diameter and 98 ft (30 m) in height. The Olmec economy centered around agricultural production on fertile floodplains, and was supplemented by fishing and shellfishing. By 400 b.c. , the distinctive features of Olmec culture disappeared and the region was overshadowed by the emerging central Mexican and Mayan civilizations. See M. Coe and R. Diehl, The Land of the Olmec (Vol. 2, 1980); R. J. Sharer and D. C. Grove, ed., Regional Perspectives on the Olmec (1989). South American Natives Aboriginal peoples of South America. In the land mass extending from the Isthmus of Panama to Tierra del Fuego, Native American civilizations developed long before the coming of the European. It is estimated that about 30 million Native Americans lived in South America at the time Europeans arrived. Today the Native Americans of South America remain a major determinant in the social, political, economic, and cultural life of the various nations.

Early Cultures

Archaeological studies have shed light on the early cultures of the rugged Andean region. Extensive remains have established the existence of developed cultures at Chavn de Huntar and the Paracas peninsula in Peru. The Mochica, the Chim, and the Nazca were three other major early Peruvian cultures. In Bolivia the impressive ruins at Tiahuanaco bear witness to yet another early civilization. The Chibcha of the N Andes, the Aymara of the central Andes, and the Araucanians of Chile are considered to have produced some of the socially complex pre-Columbian cultures (see pre-Columbian art and architecture) of the Andes, but the most impressive civilization, both from the point of view of technical achievement and of political structure, was unquestionably the empire of the Inca. The modern descendants of these Native Americans form an integral part of the populations of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia and to a lesser extent of NW Argentina and Chile. Quechua, the Inca language, is the most widespread linguistic stock, but Aymara is also important. Inca Pre-Columbian empire, W South America. The name Inca may specifically refer to the emperor, but is generally used to mean the empire or the people.Since the Inca combined much Aymara mythology with their own, their origin myth is obscure. The most common belief is that the legendary founder, Manco Capac (who seems to have been a historical figure), brought his people from mountain caves to the Cuzco Valley. During the early Inca period (c.1200-c.1440) the tribe gradually established its hegemony over other peoples of the valley and under the emperor named Viracocha (the name also of the supreme creator in Inca cosmology) allied themselves with the Quechua. However, it was not until the reigns of Pachacuti (c.1440-1471) and his son Topa Inca, or Tupac Yupanqui (1471-93), that the Inca made their great conquests. The present Ecuador (the kingdom of Quito) was subjugated by Huayna Capac, giving the empire its greatest extent and power. At his death it was divided between his sons, Huscar and Atahualpa, and a long civil war ensued from which Atahualpa emerged triumphant just as Francisco Pizarro landed on the shores of Peru and the Spanish conquest began. Manco Capac founder of Inca dynasty Legendary founder of the Inca dynasty of Peru. According to the most frequently told story, four brothers, Manco Capac, Ayar Anca, Ayar Cachi, and Ayar Uchu, and their four sisters, Mama Ocllo, Mama Huaco, Mama Cura (or Ipacura), and Mama Raua, lived at Paccari-Tampu [tavern of the dawn], several miles distant from Cuzco. They gathered together the tribes of their locality, marched on the Cuzco Valley, and conquered the tribes living there. Manco Capac had by his sister-wife, Mama Ocllo, a son called Sinchi Roca (or Cinchi Roca). Authorities concede that the first Inca chief to be a historical figure was called Sinchi Roca (c.1105-c.1140). Thus the foundation for an empire was laid. Another legend relates that the Sun created a man and a woman on an island in Lake Titicaca. They were given a golden staff by the Sun, their father, who bade them settle permanently at whatever place the staff should sink into the earth. At a hill overlooking the present city of Cuzco the staff of gold disappeared into the earth. They gathered around them a great many people and founded the city of Cuzco and the Inca state. Spanish Conquest

When Francisco Pizarro landed in South America in 1532, he was welcomed by Atahualpa. By strategem the conquistador lured the emperor into his camp, captured, and then executed him. Shortly thereafter (1533) Pizarro entered Cuzco. Although the Spaniards did not immediately subdue the Inca, the highly personal and centralized political structure of the Inca facilitated the Spanish conquest. Despite the heroic resistance carried on in many sections and the rebellion (1536-37) of Manco Capac, the conquest was assured. Under Spanish rule Inca culture was greatly modified and eventually Hispanicized. The natives were reduced to a subordinate status, and only in recent years have efforts been made to make the indigenous Peruvian population (about 50% of the total) an integral part of the national life. Extent and Organization of the Empire

Centered at Cuzco, Peru, the empire at the time of the Spanish conquest (1532) dominated the entire Andean area from Quito, Ecuador, S to the Ro Maule, Chile, extending some 2,000 mi (3,200 km). Although the Inca showed a genius for organization, their conquests were facilitated by the highly developed social systems of some of the kingdoms that they absorbed, such as the Chim, and the established agrarian communities that covered the area of their conquest. The Inca empire was a closely knit state. At the top was the emperor, an absolute monarch ruling by divine right. Merciless toward its enemies and requiring an obedience close to slavery, the imperial government was responsible for the welfare of its subjects. Everything was owned by the state except houses, movable household goods, and some individually held lands. In addition to cultivating the land, the common people were drafted to work on state projects such as mining, public works, and army service. This obligation was known as mita. From well-stocked storehouses were drawn goods to support priests, government servants, special craftsmen, the aged and the sick, and widows.

The royal family formed an educated, governing upper nobility, which at the time of the Spanish conquest numbered around 500. To further increase government control over an empire grown unwieldy, all who spoke Quechua became an „Inca class” by privilege and became colonists. Lesser administrative officials, formerly independent rulers, and their descendants were the minor nobility, or curaca class, also supported by the government.

For purposes of administration the empire was divided into four parts, the lines of which met at Cuzco; the quarters were divided into provinces, usually on the basis of former independent divisions. These in turn were customarily split into an upper and a lower moiety; the moieties were subdivided into ayllus, or local communities. Much as it exists today as the basic unit of communal indigenous society, so the ancient ayllu was the political and social foundation of Inca government. When a territory was conquered, surveys, consisting of relief models of topographical and population features, and a census of the population were made. With these reports, recorded on quipus, of the material and human resources in each province, populations were reshuffled as needed. Thus transplanted, and dominated by Quechua colonists, the subject peoples had less chance to revolt, and the separate languages and cultures were molded to the Inca pattern.

Religion, controlled by a hierarchy similar to the government hierarchy, emphasized ritual and organization. Heading the Inca gods was Viracocha. His servants were the sun, the god of the weather or thunder, the moon, the stars, the earth, and the sea. The sun god was foremost among these. Divination, sacrifices (human only at times of crisis), celebrations and ceremonies, ritual, feasts, and fasts were all part of Inca religion. Inca Agriculture, Engineering, and Manufacturing

Although the Andean area offered a diversity of plant domestication, the handicaps of terrain and climate presented severe obstacles. To overcome them, Inca engineers demonstrated extraordinary skill in terracing, drainage, irrigation, and the use of fertilizers. They lacked draft animals, but domesticated animals (the llama, the alpaca, the dog, the guinea pig, and the duck) were important to daily living; from the wild vicua, fine wool was sheared.

Without paper or a system of writing, the architects and master masons who designed and supervised the construction of public buildings and engineering works in such cities as Machu Picchu and the fortress of Sacsahuamn built clay models and, in actual construction, employed sliding scales, plumb bobs, and bronze and stone tools. Without wheeled vehicles for transport, the huge polygonal stone blocks for fortress, palace, temple, and storehouse were emplaced by ramp and rollers and were fitted with extraordinary precision. Wall corners were always carefully bonded. Adobe bricks and plaster were common, especially along the coastal desert. Buildings were usually of one story.

One of the most remarkable evidences of Inca engineering skill was an elaborate network of roads, which in many places still survives. Streams were crossed by a log or stone bridge, placid rivers by balsa ferry or pontoon bridge, and chasms by a breeches-buoy contrivance or by a suspension bridge that might be as much as 200 ft (60 m) long. Road sections were maintained by the nearest village, as were the shelters and military storehouses that were spaced a day's travel apart; a village also supplied messengers for its sector. These men, serving 15-day shifts, relayed messages about every mile. About 150 mi (240 km) could be covered daily, a distance that later took the Spanish colonial post 12 to 13 days to cover.

In the manufacture of textiles the Inca utilized almost every available kind of fiber and produced elaborate multicolored tapestries. In ceramics they achieved a fine-grained, highly polished, metallic hardness that stressed functional and utilitarian design. Mining was fairly extensive. Of the metals, copper and bronze were for public use; gold, silver, and tin were reserved for the emperor, the temples, and the upper nobility. Metallurgical processes included the techniques of smelting, alloying, casting, hammering, repouss, incrustation, inlay, soldering, riveting, and cloisonn. Machu Picchu Fortress city of the ancient Incas, Peru, about 50 mi (80 km) NW of Cuzco. It is perched high upon a rock in a narrow saddle between two sharp mountain peaks and overlooks the Urubamba River 2,000 ft (600 m) below; it was unknown to Spanish explorers. Discovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, the imposing city is one of the few urban centers of pre-Columbian America found virtually intact. Perhaps the most extraordinary ruin in the Americas, Machu Picchu contains 5 sq mi (13 sq km) of terrace and construction, with over 3,000 steps linking it to many levels. It shows admirable architectural design and execution, although the stonework is not always as refined as in other Inca sites. The period of occupancy is doubtful, but legend indicates that the city may have been the home of the Incas prior to their migration to Cuzco as well as their last stronghold after the Spanish Conquest. See Hiram Bingham, Lost City of the Incas (1948, repr. 1969). Bibliography

See chapters on the Inca in the Handbook of South American Indians, Vol. II (1963). For accounts by early historians, see Pedro de Cieza de Lon, The Incas (tr. 1959) and Garcilaso de la Vega, The Royal Commentaries of Peru (tr. 1966).

See also W. H. Prescott, The History of the Conquest of Peru (1855, repr. 1963); C. R. Markham, The Incas of Peru (1910, repr. 1969); P. A. Means, Ancient Civilizations of the Andes (1931, repr. 1964) and The Fall of the Inca Empire (1932, repr. 1964); Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu: Lost City of the Incas (1948, repr. 1969); V. W. von Hagen, Highway of the Sun (1956); Louis Baudin, A Socialist Empire: The Incas of Peru (tr. 1961) and Daily Life in Peru under the Last Incas (tr. 1962); J. A. Mason, The Ancient Civilizations of Peru (rev. ed. 1968) and Alfred Mtraux, The History of the Incas (tr. 1970); G. W. Conrad and A. A. Demarest, Religion and Empire; The Dynamics of Aztec and Inca Expansionism (1984). Exploitation

Since colonial days Native Americans have been used extensively as agricultural and industrial laborers, mostly without adequate remuneration or political representation; often they have been brutally exploited. These conditions of semiservitude are still prevalent in some areas, although political upheavals, especially in Bolivia and Peru, have done much to create an awareness of the need for social and economic reform. Surviving Groups

The few remaining Native Americans of Venezuela, the Guianas, and Brazil N of the Amazon are mostly descendants of the Arawaks and the Caribs. A considerable number of seminomadic farmers and hunters survive in the hinterlands of the Guianas and in the basins of the upper Rio Branco and Rio Negro. In most of the Amazon basin, including the tropical regions of E Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and NE Argentina, as well as in the basin of the Ro de la Plata, the surviving Native Americans are mostly of Tup-Guaran stock. Belonging to a separate linguistic stock are the G-speaking Native Americans of the eastern highlands of Brazil. Although not materially advanced, the G are characterized by a highly complex social organization. The Brazilian Tup-Guaran practice a rudimentary form of subsistence agriculture and have not developed an extensive material civilization. Today the Native American population of Brazil is relatively small and scattered in isolated clusters. The Guaran of Paraguay, on the other hand, are fairly numerous, skilled in minor arts, and play a significant role in the national life. Another tropical-forest Native American group is the Jvaro, once practitioners of head shrinking. The Colorado of W Ecuador are almost extinct but have often been the object of public attention because of their practice of painting their bodies with bright red paint. They are actually of Chibcha stock. The Motilones, who live along the border of Colombia and Venezuela in the marshes and hills W of Lake Maracaibo, have tenaciously resisted assimilation. The other major Native American groups of South America consisted of the nomadic hunters of Patagonia and the fishing people of the islands and fjords of S Chile and Argentina. The Puelches and Tehuelches, tall hunters of the Patagonian tableland, were encountered by early Spanish explorers; these people have virtually disappeared. In the rugged and wet region of the southernmost archipelagoes a dwindling number of Native Americans survive. Frequently called the Fuegians, because of their campsites at Tierra del Fuego, the Ona, Yahgan, and Alacaluf survive by hunting and fishing. The canoe is the chief mode of transportation of the Yahgan and the Alacaluf, and their social organizations are not as advanced as those of other Native American groups. Bibliography

See J. H. Seward, ed., Handbook of South American Indians (7 vol., 1946-59, repr. 1969).

Middle American Natives Aboriginal peoples living in the area between present-day United States and South America. Although most of Mexico is geographically considered part of North America and although there have been cultural contacts between Mexican groups and the Pueblo of the SW United States, the cultural development of most of Mexico belongs, in fact, to that of Middle America. In the southern portion of the valley of Mexico and in the jungle region of Yucatn, ancient Mexico reached its highest cultural achievements. The Maya had links with the Chorotega of Nicaragua and Honduras and these in turn had contacts with the Chibcha of Colombia, thus establishing a Central American cultural chain between the civilizations of Mexico and those of the Andean region. Highly developed civilizations flourished in Mexico after the domestication of maize and the rise of agricultural communities; the Olmec, the Maya, and the cultures of the central plateau, Teotihuacn, Toltec, Mixtec, Zapotec and Aztec, developed architecture, agriculture, the use of stoneand sometimes of metalto a high, often remarkable, degree. The Quich and the Cakchiquel flourished in Guatemala; besides these and the Chorotega, the southern tip of Central America did not produce as highly developed civilizations as the rest of Middle America. Today many of the Native Americans of Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras, such as the San Blas, the Mosquito, and the Lenca of Honduras, bear the imprint of Carib ancestry or influence. The Mexican Native Americans after the Spanish conquest in the 16th cent. retained their ancestral mode of life in some regions, but they were mostly a subjugated group until the 20th cent. Native American artisans did make notable contributions to the early development of the arts, notably in painting and architecture, but the Native Americans were mostly used as laborers under the encomienda and the repartimiento, and thousands eventually became the victims of peonage. It was not until after the revolution of 1910 and the indianismo movement of Emiliano Zapata that efforts were made, notably by the Mexican president Lzaro Crdenas, with regard to the economic and social development of the Native American. Today the descendants of the above-mentioned Native American groups, as well as such peoples as the Huastec, the Tarascan, the Yaqui, and the Tarahumara, constitute a powerful cultural and economic element of Mexican life. See J. A. Graham, comp., Ancient Mesoamerica (1966); D. Z. Stone, Pre-Columbian Man Finds Central America (1972); M. P. Weaver, The Aztecs, Maya, and their Predecessors (1972). Chibcha Group of Native Americans of the eastern cordillera of the Andes of Colombia. Although trade with neighboring tribes was common, the Chibcha seem to have evolved their culture in comparative isolation. They were the most highly developed of the Colombians, practicing agriculture, melting and casting gold and copper ornaments, mining emeralds, weaving textiles, and making pottery. They evolved a stratified society of overlords and vassals, in which succession to office was matrilineal and inheritance of personal property was patrilineal. Among the commoners, or farmers, organization was patrilineal. The priesthood constituted a hereditary noble class. Religious ceremonies included human sacrifice. The source of the legend of El Dorado is attributed to them, probably because of a Chibcha ceremony, also partly legendary, in which a new ruler was covered with gold dust each year, and then washed in a sacred lake. The Chibcha were conquered by the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimnez de Quesada between 1536 and 1541. The Chibcha languages, a separate language family, are spoken in Colombia and spread northward to other areas. Surviving Chibcha-speaking tribes, such as the Cuna and Lenca of Central America, have experienced much culture change since the Spanish conquest. Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada c.1499-1579, Spanish conquistador in Colombia. Chief magistrate of Santa Marta, he was commissioned to explore the Magdalena in search of El Dorado. He set out in 1536, and after incredible hardships he defeated the Chibcha and founded (1538) Bogot as capital of the New Kingdom of Granada. A hard taskmaster but an able leader, Quesada wavered between humane and brutal treatment of the native population. He obtained fabulous amounts of emeralds and gold. Meeting Federmann and Benalczar, who claimed the same territory, Quesada persuaded them to return with him to Spain, where settlement could be made. There he was ignored until 1550, when he was appointed marshal of New Granada and councilor of Bogot for life. In 1569, still seeking El Dorado, he led a lavishly equipped expedition to the confluence of the Guaviare and Orinoco; he and what remained of his company returned wasted and penniless after three years. Still later, suffering from a skin disease and carried on a litter, Quesada put down an indigenous revolt. Some think that he was the model for Cervantes's Don Quixote. His own account of his conquests has been lost, but excerpts copied by others from the original survive. See studies by A. F. Bandelier (1893, repr. 1962), C. R. Markham (1912, repr. 1971), Germn Arciniegas (tr. 1942, repr. 1968), and R. B. C. Graham (1922, repr. 1973). Toltec Ancient civilization of Mexico. The name in Nahuatl means „master builders.” The Toltec formed a warrior aristocracy that gained ascendancy in the Valley of Mexico a.d. c.900 after the fall of Teotihuacn. Their early history is obscure but they seem to have had ancient links with the Mixtec and the Zapotec. Their capital was Tolln. In architecture and the arts they were masters; they were influenced by Teotihuacn and the Olmec culture. Cholula is considered to be a Toltec site. Toltec civilization was materially far advanced. They smelted metals, and their stonework was highly developed. Their polytheistic religion in later days seems to have centered about Quetzalcoatl. Their ceremonies included human sacrifice, sun worship, and a sacred ball game, tlatchli. They are said to have discovered pulque (a fermented drink), and they had considerable astronomical knowledge, as shown in their calendar cycle of 52 years of 260 days each. A period of southward expansion began c.1000 and resulted in Toltec domination of the Maya of Yucatn from the 11th to the 13th cent. Nomadic peoples (collectively termed the Chichimec) brought about the fall of Tula and of the Toltec empire in the 13th cent., thus opening the way for the rise of the Aztec. Mixtec Native American people of Oaxaca, Puebla, and part of Guerrero, SW Mexico, one of the most important groups in Mexico. Although the Mixtec codices constitute the largest collection of pre-Columbian manuscripts in existence, their origin is obscure. Before the arrival (700?) of the Toltec on the central plateau, the Mixtec, possibly influenced by the Olmec , seem to have been the carriers of the advanced highland culture. Probably c.900 they began spreading southward, overrunning the valley of Oaxaca. By the 14th cent. they had overshadowed their rivals, the Zapotec. The Mixtec produced some of the finest stone and metal work of ancient Mexico and also left elaborately carved wood and bone objects and painted polychrome pottery. Their influence on other cultures was strong and is especially noticeable in Mitla and Monte Albn, Zapotec cities taken by the Mixtec during the long and bitter warfare among the tribes of the area. This struggle halted momentarily at the end of the 15th cent. in an alliance to defeat the Aztec, but the Zapotec soon teamed up with the Aztec and eventually made an alliance with the Spanish conquerors. The Mixtec carried on a bloody resistance until they were subjugated by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado. There are about 300,000 Mixtec-speaking people in Mexico today. See A. K. Romney, The Mixtecans of Juxtlahuaca, Mexico (1966); Robert Wauchope, ed., Handbook of Middle American Indians, Vol. VII: Ethnology (ed. by E. Z. Vogt, 1969). Zapotec Indigenous people of Mexico, primarily in S Oaxaca and on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Little is known of the origin of the Zapotec. Unlike most native peoples of Middle America, they had no traditions or legends of migration, but believed themselves to have been born directly from rocks, trees, and jaguars. The early Zapotec were a sedentary, agricultural, city-dwelling people who worshiped a pantheon of gods headed by the rain-god, Cosijorepresented by a fertility symbol combining the earth-jaguar and sky-serpent symbols common in Middle American cultures. A priestly hierarchy regulated religious rites, which sometimes included human sacrifice. The Zapotec worshiped their ancestors and, believing in a paradisaical underworld, stressed the cult of the dead. They had a great religious center at Mitla and a magnificent city at Monte Albn, where a highly developed civilization flourished possibly more than 2,000 years ago. In art, architecture, hieroglyphics, mathematics, and calendar the Zapotec seem to have had cultural affinities with the Olmec, with the ancient Maya, and later with the Toltec. Coming from the north, the Mixtec replaced the Zapotec at Monte Albn and then at Mitla; the Zapotec captured Tehuantepec from the Zoquean and Huavean of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. By the middle of the 15th cent. both Zapotec and Mixtec were struggling to keep the Aztec from gaining control of the trade routes to Chiapas and Guatemala. Under their greatest king, Cosijoeza, the Zapotec withstood a long siege on the rocky mountain of Giengola, overlooking Tehuantepec, and successfully maintained political autonomy by an alliance with the Aztec until the arrival of the Spanish. The Zapotec today are mainly of two groups, those of the southern valleys in the mountains of Oaxaca and those of the southern half of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; together they number some 300,000. The social fabric of Zapotec lifecustoms, dress, songs, and literaturethough predominantly Spanish, still retains strong elements of the Zapotec heritage, particularly in the present-day state of Juchitn. See Helen Augur, Zapotec (1954); Michael Kearney, The Winds of Ixtepeji (1972); Beverly Chinas, The Isthmus Zapotecs (1973). Aztec Indian people dominating central Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest. Their language belonged to the Nahuatlan subfamily of Uto-Aztecan languages. They arrived in the Valley of Mexico from the north toward the end of the 12th cent. and until the founding of their capital, Tenochtitln (c.1325) were a poor, nomadic tribe absorbing the culture of nearby states. For the next century they maintained a precarious political autonomy while paying tribute to neighboring tribes, but by alliance, treachery, and conquest during the 15th and early 16th cent. they became a powerful political and cultural group. To the north they established hegemony over the Huastec, to the south over the Mixtec and Zapotec and even ventured as far as Guatemala. Their subjugation of the people of Tlaxcala in the mountains to the east was bloody but only intermittent, and the Tlaxcala people later became allies of the Spanish against the Aztec. Only in the west, where the Tarascan Indians severely defeated them, did the Aztec completely fail to conquer. The Aztec Civilization

By absorption of other cultural elements and by conquest the Aztec achieved a composite civilization, based on the heritage of Toltec and Mixteca-Puebla. They attained a high degree of development in engineering, architecture, art, mathematics, and astronomy. The Aztec calendar utilized a 260-day year and a 52-year time cycle. Aztec skill in engineering was evident in the fortifications of their island capital. The Aztec further developed sculpture, weaving, metalwork, ornamentation, music, and picture writing for historical records. Agriculture was well advanced and trade flourished.

The political and social organization was based on three castesnobility, priesthood, and military and merchants. The priesthood was a powerful political as well as religious force. Aztec government was relatively centralized, although many conquered chiefs retained political autonomy; they paid tribute and kept commerce open to the Aztec. The Aztec had a large and efficient army. Prisoners of war were used for human sacrifice to satisfy the many gods of the Aztec pantheon, notably Huitzilopochtli, the chief god, who was god of war. Fall of the Aztec Empire

Corts, learning that the Aztec empire of Montezuma was honeycombed with dissension, assumed the role of deliverer and rallied the coastal Totonacs to his standard; he also began negotiations with Montezuma. Scuttling his ships to prevent the return of any Velzquez sympathizers to Cuba, he began his famous march to Tenochtitln (modern Mexico City), capital of the Aztec empire. He defeated the Tlaxcalan warriors and then formed an alliance with the so-called republic of Tlaxcala; practically destroyed Cholula; and arrived at Tenochtitln in Nov., 1519. There the superstitious Montezuma received the Spanish as descendants of the god Quetzalcoatl. Corts seized his opportunity, took Montezuma hostage, and attempted to govern through him.

In the spring of 1520, Corts went to the coast, where he defeated a force under Pnfilo de Narvez. Pedro de Alvarado, left in command, impetuously massacred many Aztecs, and soon after Corts's return the Aztecs besieged the Spanish. In the ensuing battle, Montezuma was killed. The Spanish, seeking safety in flight, fought their way out of the city with heavy losses on the noche triste [sad night] (June 30, 1520). Still in retreat, they defeated an Aztec army at Otumba and retired to Tlaxcala.

The next year Corts attacked the capital, and after a three-month siege Tenochtitln fell (Aug. 13, 1521). With it fell the Aztec empire. As captain general, Corts extended the conquest by sending expeditions over most of Mexico and into N Central America. In 1524-26, Corts himself went to Honduras, killing Cuauhtmoc, the Aztec emperor, in the course of the expedition. Spanish Conquest

When the Spaniards, under Hernn Corts, arrived in 1519, the Aztec civilization was at its height. However, many subject Indian groups, rebellious against Aztec rule, were only too willing to join the Spanish. Initially, the invaders were aided by the fact that the Aztec believed them to be descendants of the god Quetzalcoatl. Montezuma, the last of the independent Aztec rulers, received Corts, who made him prisoner and attempted to rule through him. The Aztec revolted, Montezuma was killed, and Tenochtitln was razed (1521). Cuauhtmoc, last of the emperors, was murdered (1525), and the Spanish proceeded to subjugate Mexico. Montezuma 1480?-1520, Aztec emperor (c.1502-1520). He is sometimes called Montezuma II to distinguish him from Montezuma I (ruled 1440-69), who carried on conquests around Tenochtitln. His reign was marked by incessant warfare, and his despotic rule caused grave unrest. When Hernn Corts arrived in Mexico he was thus able to gain native allies, notably in the province of the Tlaxcala. Montezuma, believing the Spanish to be descendants of the god Quetzalcoatl, tried to persuade them to leave by offering rich gifts. That failing, he received them in his splendid court at Tenochtitln in Nov., 1519. Corts later seized him as a hostage and attempted to govern through him. In June, 1520, the Aztec rose against the Spanish. Montezuma was killed, although whether by the Spanish or the Aztec is not certain. His successor died a few months later and was replaced by Cuauhtmoc. Montezuma's name is linked by a legend to fabulous treasures that the Spanish appropriated and presumably lost at sea. Tenochtitlan Ancient city in the central valley of Mexico. The capital of the Aztec, it was founded ( a.d. c.1345) on a marshy island in Lake Texcoco. It was a flourishing city (with an estimated population of between 200,000 and 300,000), connected with the mainland by three great causeways. These ran along massive dike constructions erected to prevent the salty floodwaters of the eastern lake from mingling with the fresh water surrounding the island city. The dikes thereby protected the unique system of lake agriculture known as chinampas. Canals within the chinampas served to convey traffic throughout the city, including to and from the bustling, highly organized market at Tlatelolco. The ceremonial precinct contained many structures, including a great pyramid sacred to the Aztec war god Huitzilopochtli. It was to Tenochtitln and the court of Montezuma that Hernn Corts came, and it was from Tenochtitln that the Spanish fled on the night of June 30, 1520, under heavy Aztec attackthe so-called noche triste. Corts returned in 1521, took the city after a three-month siege, razed it, and captured the ruler, Cuauhtmoc, successor to Montezuma. The Spaniard founded present-day Mexico City on the ruins. See studies in the Handbook of Middle American Indians, ed. by Robert Wauchope (13 vol., 1964-73); M. P. Weaver, The Aztecs, Maya, and Their Predecessors (1972); E. M. Moctazuma, ed., Great Temples of the Aztecs: Treasures of Tenochtitlan (1988). Huitzilopochtli Chief deity of the Aztec, god of war. He is said to have guided the Aztecs during their migration from Aztln. Usually represented in sculptured images as hideous, he was the object of human sacrifice, particularly of war prisoners. He was also god of the sun, and it was believed that he was born each morning from the womb of Coatlicue, goddess of earth. His temple at Tenochtitln was a great architectural achievement of pre-Columbian America. Cuauhtemoc d. 1525, Aztec emperor. Succeeding the brother of Montezuma II in 1520, Cuauhtmoc failed to unite the native city-states of the Valley of Mexico against the Spanish after the expulsion of Hernn Corts from Tenochtitln. He courageously defended his capital, but was taken prisoner when it fell (1521) after a three-month siege. Tortured to reveal his treasure, Cuauhtmoc replied that it lay at the bottom of the lakewhere the Spaniards had perished with it in their flight from Tenochtitln on the noche triste [sad night]. Corts took Cuauhtmoc with him on his march to Honduras and, accusing the Aztec of treason, had him hanged. The name occurs also as Cuauhtemoctzn, Guatmoc, Guatemozn, and Quauhtmoc. Quiche Indigenous peoples of Mayan linguistic stock, in the western highlands of Guatemala; most important group of the ancient southern Maya. The largest of the contemporary native groups of Guatemala, numbering some 300,000, they live principally in the region between Quezaltenango and Chichicastenango. From their origins, as told in the Popol Vuh, the Quich have retained many ancient traditions, blending them with Western customs to create a distinctive mode of life. Pedro de Alvarado with the help of the Cakchiquel or Kakchiquel, a neighboring but rival group similar in language and stock, conquered them in 1524. Studies of modern Quich communities include Ruth Bunzel, Chichicastenango (1952) and Manning Nash, Machine Age Maya (1958). See also R. M. Carmack, Quichean Civilization (1973). Huastec Native Americans of the Pnuco River basin, E Mexico. They speak a Mayan language but are isolated from the rest of the Mayan stock, from whom they may have been separated prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Their culture did not develop along with that of the Maya. They remained apart from the later civilizations of the central plateau, such as the Aztec. Huastecan music and dancing have influenced some of the musical folklore of Mexico. The contemporary Huastec population, maintaining aspects of their traditional culture and language, numbers several thousand in the areas of Veracruz and San Luis Potos. See Robert Wauchope, Handbook of Middle American Indians, Vol. III: Ethnology (ed. by E. Z. Vogt, 1964). Tarascan Native Americans of the state of Michoacn, Mexico. Their language has no known relation to other languages, and their history prior to the 16th cent. is poorly understood. The polity present at the time of the Spanish conquest (1521) had roughly the same territorial outline as the contemporary state of Michoacn, which it successfully defended against a protracted and bloody Aztec attack in the year 1479. Their capital, Tzintzuntzn [place of the hummingbirds], was located on the shore of Lake Ptzcuaro and had a population of 25,000 to 35,000. Peculiar to Tarascan culture were T-shaped pyramids, rising in terraces and faced with stone slabs without mortar. They were skilled weavers, and were famous for their feathered mosaics made from hummingbird plumage. Most contemporary Tarascans are impoverished residents of small rural communities who supplement agricultural production with craft specializations (e.g. weaving, embroidery, woodworking, and lacquerware) and seasonal migration to the United States. In 1990, there were less than 100,000 speakers of the Tarascan language. See R. A. M. van Zantwijk, Servants of the Saints (1967); I. R. Dinerman, Migrants and Stay-at-Homes (1982); J. B. Warren, The Conquest of Michoacan (1985). Yaqui People of Sonora, Mexico, settled principally along the Yaqui river. Their language is of Uto-Aztecan stock. They engage in weaving and agriculture; many work in the cotton regions of Sonora and S Arizona. The Yaqui have proved to be warlike and have opposed encroachments on their lands. In the late 19th cent. under the Mexican dictator Porfirio Daz they were ruthlessly persecuted and many were deported to plantations at Yucatn and Quintana Roo, over 2,000 mi (3,200 km) away. Some escaped and returned on foot to Sonora. The Mexican government attempted to control resistance by further resettlement, and many Yaqui emigrated to Arizona to escape subjugation. Later, efforts were made to improve their lot. There are several thousand Yaqui today in Mexico and the United States. See E. H. Spicer, Potam, a Yaqui Village in Sonora (1954); R. W. Giddings, Yaqui Myths and Legends (1959); Rosalio Moiss, The Tall Candle (1971). Tarahumara Indians Indigenous people of N Mexico, mostly in Chihuahua state. About 50,000 members strong, they live for the most part in the barren wilderness of the Sierra Madre Occidental, subsisting largely on hunting and on rudimentary agriculture. They are renowned for their ability to run down deer and horses, but are known chiefly for their religious practices, in which consumption of the peyote cactus figures prominently. The visions and ecstasies produced by mescalin, the active ingredient of this plant, are the culmination of Tarahumara ceremonies. The Mexican poet Alfonso Reyes dedicated to the Tarahumara one of his finest works, Yerbas del Tarahumara (1934; tr. Tarahumara Herbs, 1958). See Wendell C. Bennett and Robert M. Zingg, The Tarahumara (1935); C. W. Pennington, The Tarahumar of Mexico (1963, repr. 1969). Francisco Villa c.1877-1923, Mexican revolutionary, nicknamed Pancho Villa . His real name was Doroteo Arango.

When Villa came of age, he declared his freedom from the peonage of his parents and became notorious as a bandit in Chihuahua and Durango. His vigorous fighting in the revolution of 1910-11 was largely responsible for the triumph of Francisco I. Madero over Porfirio Daz. When Victoriano Huerta overthrew Madero (Feb., 1913), Villa joined Venustiano Carranza and the Constitutionalists in the fight against Huerta. The Constitutionalists met with continual success. Villa, at the head of his brilliant cavalry, Los Dorados, gained control of N Mexico by the audacity of his attacks; Huerta resigned in July, 1914.

Antipathy and suspicion had always existed between Villa and Carranza; now, with their common enemy eliminated, an open break occurred after the Convention of Aguascalientes. A bloody contest ensued, with lvaro Obregn taking the side of Carranza. In the midst of chaos, Villa, with Emiliano Zapata, occupied Mexico City (Dec., 1914) but later evacuated the capital (Jan., 1915). Obregn pursued Villa, and their armies engaged at Celaya (April, 1915). Decisively defeated, Villa was driven north and out of military significance. In the winter of 1915 he campaigned disastrously against Plutarco E. Calles in Sonora.

Villa's waning power was further diminished by President Wilson's recognition of Carranza (Oct., 1915), which angered Villa. In Jan., 1916, a group of Americans were shot by bandits in Chihuahua, and on March 9, 1916, some of Villa's men raided the U.S. town of Columbus, N.Mex., killing some American citizens. It is not certain that Villa participated in these assaults, but he was universally held responsible. Wilson ordered a punitive expedition under General Pershing to capture Villa dead or alive. The expedition pursued Villa through Chihuahua for 11 months (March, 1916-Feb., 1917) but failed in its objective. Carranza violently resented this invasion and it embittered relations between Mexico and the United States.

Villa continued his activities in northern Mexico throughout Carranza's regime, but in 1920 he came to an amicable agreement with the government of Adolfo de la Huerta. Three years later Villa was assassinated at Parral. In a sense Pancho Villa was a rebel against social abuses; at times he worked a rough justice but he was a violent and undirected destructive force. His daring, his impetuosity, and his horsemanship made him the idol of the masses, especially in N Mexico, where he was regarded as a sort of Robin Hood. The Villa myth is perpetuated in numerous ballads and tales. Bibliography

See biography by W. D. Lansford (1965); M. L. Guzmn, The Eagle and the Serpent (tr. 1930); Edgcumb Pinchn, Viva Villa! (1933, repr. 1970); H. Braddy, Cock of the Walk (1955, repr. 1970); C. C. Clendenen, The United States and Pancho Villa (1961, repr. 1972); Oren Arnold, Pancho Villa: The Mexican Centaur (1979); M. A. Machado, Jr., Centaur of the North: Francisco Villa, the Mexican Revolution, and Northern Mexico (1988). Emiliano Zapata c.1879-1919, Mexican revolutionary, b. Morelos. Zapata was of almost pure native descent. A tenant farmer, he occupied a social position between the peon and the ranchero, but he was a born leader who felt keenly the injustices suffered by his people. About 1908, because of his attempt to recover village lands taken over by a rancher, he was impressed into a brief service in the army. Late in 1910, as Madero rose against Porfirio Daz, Zapata took up arms with the cry of land and liberty. With an army of native people recruited from plantations and villages, he began to seize the land by force. Zapata supported Madero until he thought that land reform had been abandoned, then he turned and formulated his own agrarian program. This program, outlined in the Plan of Ayala (Nov., 1911), called for the return of the land to the indigenous people. In defense of his plan, Zapata held the field against successive federal governments under Madero, Victoriano Huerta, and Venustiano Carranza. The peasants rallied to Zapata's support, and by the end of 1911 he controlled most of Morelos; later he enlarged his power to cover Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, and at times even the Federal District. After the overthrow of Madero, Zapata in the south and Carranza, Obregn, and Villa in the north were the chief leaders against Huerta. When Carranza seized the executive power, Zapata and Villa warred against him. Zapata's forces occupied Mexico City three times in 1914-15 (once with the followers of Villa), but finally retired to Morelos, where Zapata resisted until he was treacherously killed by an emissary of Carranza. To his enemies, Zapata was the apotheosis of nihilism, and his movement was only large-scale brigandage. To the indigenous peoples, he was a savior and the hero of the revolution. Although his attacks at times seemed to be mere banditry, his objective was not loot; he was single in purpose. His movement, zapatismo, was the Mexican agrarian movement in its purest and simplest form, and the agrarian movement was one of the chief aims and chief results of the revolution. As zapatismo became synonymous with agrarismo, so it did with indianismo, the native cultural movement which is the basis of nationalism in Mexico. Although illiterate and in command of illiterate men, Zapata was one of the most significant figures in Mexico during the period 1910 to 1919. Even while he lived he became legendary, celebrated in innumerable tales and ballads. His grave is revered by the native peoples of S Mexico. See biographies by R. P. Millon (1969), John Womack, Jr. (1968), and Roger Parkinson (1980); Frank Tannenbaum, The Mexican Agrarian Revolution (1929); H. H. Dunn, The Crimson Jester (1934, repr. 1976); E. N. Simpson, The Ejido (1937). Bibliography

See Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico (tr. by A. P. Maudsley, 1928, repr. 1965); Alfonso Caso, The Aztecs, People of the Sun (tr. 1958, repr. 1967); Laurette Sejourn, Burning Water: Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico (1961); Jacques Soustelle, The Daily Life of the Aztecs on the Eve of the Spanish Conquest (tr. 1961, repr. 1970); G. C. Vaillant, The Aztecs of Mexico (rev. ed. 1962); B. C. Brundage, A Rain of Darts: The Mexican Aztecs (1973); G. W. Conrad and A. A. Demarest, Religion and Empire: The Dynamics of Aztec and Inca Expansionism (1984); Ross Hassig, Trade, Tribute, and Transportation (1985) and Aztec Warefare (1988). Native American Music The music of Native North Americans is primarily a vocal art, usually choral, although some nations favor solo singing. Native American music is entirely melodic; there is no harmony and no polyphony, although there is occasional antiphonal singing between soloist and chorus. The melody is, in general, characterized by a descending melodic figure; its rhythm is irregular. There is no conception of absolute pitch and intonation can appear uncertain, the result of the distinctive method of voice production, involving muscular tension in the vocal apparatus and making possible frequent strong accents and glissandos. Singing is nearly always accompanied, at least by drums. Drums and rattles are the chief percussion instruments and are of various types. The wind instruments are mainly flutes and whistles. For the Native American, song is the chief means of communicating with the supernatural powers, and music is seldom performed for its own sake; definite results, such as the bringing of rain, success in battle, or the curing of the sick, are expected from music. There are three classes of songstraditional songs, which are handed down from generation to generation; ceremonial and medicine songs; and modern songs, which show the influence of European culture. Songs of the second group are supposed to have been received by their owners in dreams. Songs of heroes are often old songs, adapted to the occasion with the insertion of the new hero's name. The love songs often are influenced by the music of whites and are regarded as degenerate by many Native Americans. See Frances Densmore, The American Indians and Their Music (rev. ed. 1936); Charles Kaywood, A Bibliography of North American Folklore and Folksong (1951); Charles Hofman, American Indians Sing (1967); and many books by Frances Densmore on music of individual tribes (most repr. 1972). North American Native Art

Diverse traditional arts of native North Americans. In recent years Native American arts have become commodities collected and marketed by nonindigenous Americans and Europeans. Originally, these objects were produced in different cultural contexts and for altogether different purposes. In many cases native peoples endowed utilitarian objects with aesthetic qualities not strictly related to the objects' primary function. In addition, some groups produced articles symbolizing status positions or items of religious significance.

Characteristic Objects

The material culture of the Eastern Woodland groups (such as the Cherokee and Iroquois), for example, included decorated pottery and baskets, quillwork and beadwork, birchbark utensils, plaited sashes, and carved wood ritual masks. Early Woodland cultures, including the Adena and Hopewell, are renowned for their elaborate grave offerings, including copper plates and earspools, objects made of other minerals (e.g. mica, silver, meteoric iron), shell and pearl beads, and ceramic vessels and figurines.

The mainstay of life for the Native Americans of the Great Plains (such as the Arapaho, Blackfoot, Crow, and Sioux) was the buffalo, whose skin, both rawhide and tanned, was used for clothing, containers, tepee covers, and shields. Triangular and quadrangular designs were often painted or embroidered on these items, with beads and porcupine quills. Featherwork, of which the familiar war bonnet is a prime example, was lavish. California, Great Basin, and Plateau groups (Pomo, Nez-Perc, Paiute) lived by gathering, hunting, and some fishing. They developed basketry, especially in N and Central California, as a highly refined art. Using a great variety of materials, these groups created many different basketry forms and techniques to make such items as baby carriers, collecting and winnowing baskets, fish weirs, and hats. As cooking and serving containers, the baskets were watertight. They also fashioned ceremonial and gift baskets imbued with religious significance. Featherwork was used for headdresses, capes, skirts, and mantles, in dance costumes, and as decoration, together with beads, on baskets.

In the Southwest, Native Americans generally practiced agriculture and lived in settled villages. In that region pottery making, particularly of jars and bowls, is still today a highly developed art with a rich tradition extending back to pre-Columbian times. An art of strong, graphic, geometric design developed for pottery decoration. Southwestern groups cultivated cotton to be spun into yarn, and used a backstrap loom with heddles prior to European contact. The Spaniards brought sheep to the region, which the Navaho adopted for weaving intricately patterned woolen rugs and blankets. Many designs for blankets were adapted from the ritual sandpaintings of the Navaho. The Hopi and Zuni developed brilliantly carved and ornamented kachina dolls to represent living spirits; these are greatly valued by collectors today. After the Spanish conquest, silverworking evolved among the Southwestern Pueblo groups, especially among the Navaho, Zuni, and Hopi, who perfected it to the level of fine art, largely as jewelry.

On the heavily forested Northwest Coast, the Native American groups (Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Kwakiutl, Nootka, and Salish) developed elaborate woodcarving techniques used to fabricate tools, houses, huge dugout canoes, totem poles, and other heraldic and ritual posts, as well as outstanding masks, bowls, and ladles. Human and animal figures were stylized to abstraction in this work. In addition, they made superb basketry and clothing by twining, and produced metalwork weapons and jewelry. In Arctic regions the skin and fur garments of Eskimo groups were elaborately tailored and occasionally decorated.

Eskimos carved sculptures of Arctic animal life (including seals, walruses, and polar bears) and hunting motifs, using stone, ivory, and bone, and made elaborate ceremonial masks. The subjects of their work were chosen from their extensive mythology as well as their everyday experience.

The Effects of European Contact

It is important to note that prior to European contact, Native American groups did not generally produce art for its own sake. Objects, often utilitarian in function, were adorned with symbolic elements drawn from their daily lives or cosmologies. In other instances minute differences in design motifs on clothing or residential structures served as differentiating mechanisms, rendering the identity of the group immediately apparent to knowledgeable outsiders. Standards of beauty, to the extent that they were considered at all, were based on traditional notions, not on innovation or experimentation away from the cultural norm.

With the coming of European populations and the devastation of Native American cultures, artifacts were avidly sought for museum and private collections. That early collectors attributed great value to often mundane objects almost certainly struck historic Native Americans as odd, so that when the articles were not stolen outright they were usually acquired by buyers at bargain rates. This has provoked numerous conflicts in recent years as Native Americans become increasingly vocal in calling for the return of museum items symbolizing their cultural heritage. In recent years the abject poverty of surviving Native American populations, combined with the growing demand for artisans' commodities in industrialized countries, has stimulated the emergence of increasing numbers of North American native craftsmen. Art has thus become a cottage industry serving tourist markets as well as demand by more discriminating collectors. Among the most sought-after articles are works of jewelry, Eskimo sculpture, as well as the textiles and ceramics of the Southwestern groups.

Major Collections

Museums with major collections of North American native art include the American Museum of Natural History, New York City; Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of Canada, Ottawa; Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, Mass.; Provincial Museum, Victoria, British Columbia; Robert H. Lowie Museum of Anthropology, Univ. of California, Berkeley.


See Frederick Dockstader, Indian Art in America (3d ed. 1968); A. H. Whiteford, North American Indian Arts (1970); J. Highwater, Arts of the Indian Americas (1983); E. L. Wade and C. Haralson, The Arts of the North American Indian (1986). Native American Church Religious cult of the Navaho; it blends fundamentalist Christian elements and pan-Native American moral principles. The movement began among the Kiowa about 1890 and, led by John Wilson (Big Moon), soon spread to other tribes. The sacramental food of the cult was peyote, a hallucinogenic cactus, and the group came to be known as peyotists. In 1918, peyotists from a number of tribes incorporated their movement as the Native American Church. In 1940 the cult was declared illegal by the Navaho Tribal Council, which saw it as a threat to Navaho culture and to Christianized Navahos. The church flourished underground, however, until 1967, when the tribe reversed its decision. Sioux Confederation of Native North American tribes, the dominant group of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock, which is divided into several separate branches. The Sioux, or Dakota, consisted of seven tribes in three major divisions: Wahpekute, Mdewakantonwan, Wahpetonwan, Sisitonwan (who together formed the Santee or Eastern division, sometimes referred to as the Dakota), the Ihanktonwan, or Yankton, and the Ihanktonwana, or Yanktonai (who form the Middle division, sometimes referred to as the Nakota), and the Titonwan, or Teton (who form the Western division, sometimes referred to as the Lakota). The Tetons, originally a single band, divided into seven sub-bands after the move to the plains, these seven including the Hunkpapa, Sihasapa (or Blackfoot), and Oglala. Relations with White Settlers

In relations with the white settlers all the divisions of the Sioux have a similar history. The Sioux became friendly with the British after the fall of the French power and supported the British against the United States in the American Revolution and (with the exception of one chief, Tohami, also known as Rising Moose) in the War of 1812. The United States concluded treaties with the Sioux in 1815, 1825, and 1851. A portion of the Sioux under Little Crow rose in 1862 and massacred more than 800 settlers and soldiers in Minnesota; this revolt was suppressed but unrest continued.

In 1867 a treaty was concluded by which the Sioux gave up a large section of territory and agreed to retire to a reservation in SW Dakota before 1876. The discovery of gold in the Black Hills and the subsequent rush of prospectors brought resistance under the leadership of such chiefs as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Rain-in-the-Face, Crazy Horse, American Horse, and Gall. In this revolt occurred the famous last stand by Gen. George Armstrong Custer. The last major conflict fought by the Sioux was the battle of Wounded Knee, Dec. 29, 1890, which resulted in the massacre of over 200 Native Americans. Sitting Bull c.1831-1890, Native American chief, Sioux leader in the battle of the Little Bighorn. He rose to prominence in the Sioux warfare against the whites and the resistance of the Native Americans under his command to forced settlement on a reservation led to a punitive expedition. In the course of the resistance occurred the Native American victory on the Little Bighorn, where George Armstrong Custer and his men were defeated and killed on June 25, 1876. Sitting Bull and some of his followers escaped to Canada, but returned (1881) on a promise of a pardon and were settled on a reservation. In 1885 he appeared in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, but his championship of the Native American cause was not at an end. He encouraged the Sioux to refuse to sell their lands, and he advocated the ghost dance religion. He was killed by Native American police on a charge of resisting arrest. He was buried in North Dakota, but in 1954 his remains were removed to South Dakota. See J. M. Carroll, ed., The Arrest and Killing of Sitting Bull: A Documentary (1986); biographies by Stanley Vestal (rev. ed. 1957, repr. 1972); A. B. Adams (1973); K. B. Smith (1987). Red Cloud 1822-1909, Native North American chief, leader of the Oglala Sioux. He led the Native American warfare against the establishment of the Bozeman Trail. The Fetterman Massacre in 1866 led to partial abandonment of the trail. Red Cloud's continual hostility led the government finally to abandon completely (1868) the trail and the forts built to protect it. After signing a treaty he lived in peace with the whites, although he was later charged with duplicity in encouraging hostile Native Americans. Deposed as chief in 1881, he lived thereafter in retirement on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. See J. C. Olson, Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem (1965). Crazy Horse d. 1877, Native American chief of the Oglala Sioux. He was a prominent leader in the Sioux resistance to the encroachment of whites in the mineral-rich Black Hills. When Crazy Horse and his people refused to go on a reservation, troops attacked (March 17, 1876) their camp on Powder River. The great war chief was victorious in that battle as well as in his encounter with Gen. George Crook on the Rosebud River (June 17). Crazy Horse joined Sitting Bull and Gall in defeating George Armstrong Custer at the battle of the Little Bighorn (June 25). In Jan., 1877, Gen. Nelson Appleton Miles attacked his camp, and Crazy Horse and his followers spent the remainder of the winter in a state of near starvation. The group, numbering about 1,000, finally surrendered at the Red Cloud agency in May. Imprisoned because of a rumor that he was planning a revolt, Crazy Horse was stabbed to death with a bayonet when attempting to escape. His bravery and skill were generally acknowledged, and he is revered by the Sioux as their greatest leader. See biographies by Mari Sandoz (1942, repr. 1955) and E. A. Brininstool (1949). Wounded Knee Creek, rising in SW S. Dak. and flowing NW to the White River; site of the last major battle of the Indian wars. After the death of Sitting Bull, a band of Sioux, led by Big Foot, fled into the badlands, where they were captured by the 7th Cavalry on Dec. 28, 1890, and brought to the creek. On Dec. 29, the Sioux were ordered disarmed; but when a medicine man threw dust into the air, a warrior pulled a gun and wounded an officer. The U.S. troops opened fire, and within minutes almost 200 men, women, and children were shot. The soldiers later claimed that it was difficult to distinguish the Sioux women from the men. George Armstrong Custer 1839-76, American army officer, b. New Rumley, Ohio, grad. West Point, 1861. Civil War Service

Custer fought in the Civil War at the first battle of Bull Run, distinguished himself as a member of General McClellan's staff in the Peninsular campaign, and was made a brigadier general of volunteers in June, 1863. The youngest general in the Union army, Custer ably led a cavalry brigade in the Gettysburg campaign. He fought in Virginia in the great cavalry battle at Yellow Tavern and in General Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign. Made a divisional commander in Oct., 1864, he defeated (Oct. 9) Gen. Thomas L. Rosser at Woodstock. After dispersing the remnants of Gen. Jubal A. Early's command at Waynesboro on March 2, 1865, he was in the advance in pursuit of Lee's army beyond Richmond. Custer received the Confederate flag of truce, was present at the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, and was promoted major general of volunteers. His record (he had also been brevetted a major general in the regular army), considering his youth, was one of the most spectacular of the war. The 7th Cavalry

In the reorganization of the U.S. army after the war Custer was assigned to the 7th Cavalry with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and he remained the acting commander of this regiment until his death. In 1867 he was court-martialed and removed from command for leaving his command at Fort Wallace, Kansas, without permission, but in Sept., 1868, he was reinstated, mostly through the efforts of Sheridan, with whom he had always been a favorite. In the massacre of the Cheyenne and their allies at the battle of the Washita (Nov., 1868), he was accused of abandoning a small detachment of his men, who were annihilated. He served (1873) in Dakota Territory and in 1874 commanded the expedition into the Black Hills that led to renewed hostilities with the Sioux.

In the comprehensive campaign against the Sioux planned in 1876, Custer's regiment was detailed to the column under the commanding general, Alfred H. Terry, that marched from Bismarck to the Yellowstone River. At the mouth of the Rosebud, Terry sent Custer forward to locate the enemy while he marched on to join the column under Gen. John Gibbon. Custer came upon the warrior encampment on the Little Bighorn on June 25 and decided to attack at once. Not realizing the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Native Americans, most of whom lay concealed in ravines, he divided his regiment into three parts, sending two of them, under Major Marcus A. Reno and Capt. Frederick W. Benteen, to attack farther upstream, while he himself led the third (over 200 men) in a direct charge. Every one of them was killed in battle. Reno and Benteen were themselves kept on the defensive, and not until Terry's arrival was the extent of the tragedy known. The men (except Custer, whose remains were reinterred at West Point) were buried on the battlefield, now a national monument in Montana. Custer's spectacular death made him a popular but controversial hero, still the subject of much dispute as to his actions and character. Bibliography

Custer wrote My Life on the Plains (1874), and his wife, Elizabeth Bacon Custer, 1842-1933, who devoted much of her life to upholding his memory, wrote Boots and Saddles (1885), Tenting on the Plains (1887), and Following the Guidon (1890). See also biographies by Frazier Hunt (1928) and Jay Monaghan (1959, repr. 1971); Charles A. Windolph, I Fought with Custer (as told to Frazier and Robert Hunt, 1947); W. A. Graham, The Story of the Little Big Horn: Custer's Last Fight (1959); E. I. Stewart, Custer's Luck (1955, repr. 1971); Evan S. Connell, Son of the Morningstar (1984). Migration toward the Southwest

The Sioux were first noted historically in the Jesuit Relation of 1640, when they were living in what is now Minnesota. Their traditions indicate that they had moved there some time before from the northeast. They were noted in 1678 by the French explorer Daniel Duluth and in 1680 by Father Louis Hennepin in the Mille Lacs region in Minnesota. Their migration had been in a southwesterly direction in the face of the hostile Ojibwa, who had been equipped with guns by Europeans.

In the mid-18th cent., having driven the Cheyenne and Kiowa out of the Black Hills, the Sioux inhabited the N Great Plains and the western prairiesmainly in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and up into the bordering provinces of Canada. They then numbered at least 30,000. The Tetons, numbering some 15,000, were the most populous of the seven tribes, and the Oglala Sioux, the largest group of the Teton, numbered some 3,000. The Sioux had a typical Plains area culture, including buffalo hunting and the sun dance. The Sioux Today

Today they live mainly on reservations in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana; they number over 100,000. In Feb., 1973, about 200 Native American supporters, mostly Sioux, of theAmerican Indian Movement seized control of the hamlet of Wounded Knee, S.Dak., demanding U.S. Senate investigations of Native American conditions.The occupation lasted 70 days, during which about 300 persons were arrested by Federal agents. Bibliography

See R. H. Ruby, The Oglala Sioux (1955); G. E. Hyde, A Sioux Chronicle (1956); C. M. Oehler, The Great Sioux Uprising (1959); Kenneth Carley, The Sioux Uprising of 1862 (1961); R. M. Utley, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation (1963); Royal Hassrick, The Sioux (1964); Ethel Nurge, ed., The Modern Sioux (1970); Robert Burnette, The Tortured Americans (1971); E. T. Denig, Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri (1975). Indian Territory In U.S. history, name applied to the country set aside for Native Americans by the Indian Intercourse Act (1834). In the 1820s, the Federal government began moving the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw) of the Southeast to lands W of the Mississippi River. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 gave the President authority to designate specific lands for them, and in 1834 Congress formally approved the choice. The Indian Territory included present-day Oklahoma N and E of the Red River, as well as Kansas and Nebraska; the lands were delimited in 1854, however, by the creation of the Kansas and Nebraska territories. Tribes other than the original five also moved there, but each tribe maintained its own government. As white settlers continued to move westward, pressure to abolish the Indian Territory mounted. With the opening of W Oklahoma to whites in 1889 the way was prepared for the extinction of the territory, achieved in 1907 with the entrance of Oklahoma into the Union. Cherokee Largest and most important single Native American group in the SE United States, formerly occupying the mountain areas of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. The Cherokee language belongs to the Iroquoian branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock .

By the 16th century the Cherokees had a settled, advanced culture based on agriculture. Hernando de Soto visited them in 1540. They were frequently at war with the Iroquois tribes of New York, but generally sided with the British against the French and proved valuable allies. Soon after 1750 they suffered a severe smallpox epidemic that destroyed almost half the tribe. Formerly friendly with the Carolina settlers, the Cherokee were provoked into war with the colonists in 1760, and two years of warfare followed before the Cherokee sued for peace.

In 1820 they adopted a republican form of government and in 1827 established themselves as the Cherokee Nation under a constitution. This instrument provided for an elective principal chief, a senate, and a house of representatives. Literacy was aided by the invention of a Cherokee syllabary or syllabic alphabet by Sequoyah, also known as George Guess. Its 85 characters, representing syllables in the Cherokee language, permitted the keeping of tribal records and, later, the publication of newspapers in Cherokee.

The discovery of gold in Cherokee territory resulted in pressure by the whites to obtain their lands. A treaty was extracted from a small part of the tribe, which bound the whole tribe to move beyond the Mississippi River within three years. Although the Cherokee overwhelmingly repudiated this document and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the nation's autonomy, the state of Georgia secured an order for their removal, which was accomplished by military force. President Andrew Jackson refused to intervene, and in 1838 the tribe was deported to the Indian Territory (later in Oklahoma). Their leader at this time and until 1866 was Chief John Ross. Thousands died on the march, known as the Trail of Tears , or from subsequent hardships.

They made their capital at Tahlequah, instituted a public school system, published newspapers, and were the most important of the Five Civilized Tribes. In the U.S. Civil War their allegiance was divided between North and South, large contingents serving on each side. By a new treaty at the close of the war they freed their black slaves and admitted them to tribal citizenship. In 1892 they sold their western territorial extension, known as the Cherokee Strip, and in 1906 formally disbanded as a tribe, becoming U.S. citizens. However, tribal entities still exist and many Cherokee live on tribal landholdings. A few thousand Cherokee are still in W North Carolina, the descendants of the few who successfully resisted removal or returned after the removal. Sequoyah c.1766-1843, Native North American leader, creator of the Cherokee syllabary, b. Loudon co., Tenn. Although many historians believe that he was the son of a Cherokee woman and a white trader named Nathaniel Gist, his descendants dispute this claim. To most Americans he was known as George Guess; to the Cherokee he was known as Sogwali. The name Sequoyah was given to him by missionaries. A silversmith and a trader in the Cherokee country in Georgia, he set out to create a system for reducing the Cherokee language to writing, and he compiled a table of 85 characters; he took some letters from an English spelling book and by inversion, modification, and invention adopted the symbols to Cherokee sounds. There is some dispute as to when the syllabary was completed. Many historians date its completion at about 1821; Cherokee tradition holds that it was created much earlier and was actually in use as early as the late 18th cent. In 1822, Sequoyah visited the Cherokee in Arkansas, and soon he taught thousands of the Native Americans to read and write. He moved with them to present-day Oklahoma. Parts of the Bible were soon printed in Cherokee, and in 1828 a weekly newspaper was begun. His remarkable achievement helped to unite the Cherokee and make them leaders among other Native Americans. The giant tree, sequoia, is named for him. See biographies by Grant Foreman (1938, repr. 1970) and C. C. Coblentz (1946, repr. 1962); Traveller Bird, Tell Them They Lie: The Sequoyah Myth (1971).

Cheyenne Indigenous people of North America whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock. The Cheyenne abandoned their settlements in Minnesota in the 17th cent., leaving the region to the hostile Sioux and Ojibwa. Gradually migrating W along the Cheyenne River and then south, they established earth-lodge villages and raised crops. After the introduction of the horse (c.1760) they eventually became nomadic buffalo hunters. The tribe split (c.1830) when a large group decided to settle on the upper Arkansas River and take advantage of the trade facilities offered by Bent's Fort. This group became known as the Southern Cheyenne. The Northern Cheyenne continued to live about the headwaters of the Platte River. For the next few years the Southern Cheyenne, allied with the Arapaho, were engaged in constant warfare against the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache. Peace was made c.1840, and the five tribes became allies. The Cheyenne were generally friendly toward white settlers, until the discovery of gold in Colorado (1858) brought a swarm of gold seekers into their lands. By a treaty signed in 1861 the Cheyenne agreed to live on a reservation in SE Coorado, but the U.S. government did not fulfill its obligations, and the Native Americans were reduced to near starvation. Cheyenne raids resulted in punitive expeditions by the U.S. army. The indiscriminate massacre (1864) of warriors, women, and children at Sand Creek, Colo., was an unprovoked assault on a friendly group. The incident aroused the Native Americans to fury, and a bitter war followed. Gen. George Custer destroyed (1868) Black Kettle's camp on the Washita River, and fighting between the whites and the Southern Cheyenne ended, except for an outbreak in 1874-75. The Northern Cheyenne joined with the Sioux in massacring Custer and his 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. They finally surrendered in 1877 and were moved south and confined with the Southern Cheyenne in what is now Oklahoma. Plagued by disease and malnutrition, they made two desperate attempts to escape and return to the north. A separate reservation was eventually established for them in Montana. See G. B. Grinnell, The Fighting Cheyennes (1915, repr. 1956) and The Cheyenne Indians (2 vol., 1923, repr. 1972); E. A. Hoebel, The Cheyennes (1960); D. J. Berthrong, The Southern Cheyennes (1963); Joseph Millard, The Cheyenne Wars (1964); John Stands in Timber and Margot Liberty, Cheyenne Memories (1967); P. J. Powell, Sweet Medicine (2 vol., 1969); John H. Moore, The Cheyenne Nation (1987). Black Kettle d. 1868, Chief of the southern Cheyenne in Colorado. His attempt to make peace (1864) with the white men ended in the massacre of about half his people at Sand Creek. Despite this treachery on the part of the whites, he continued to seek peace with them, and in 1865 he signed the Treaty of the Little Arkansas. The government ignored its guarantees, and Black Kettle tried again to negotiate, signing the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867. The Cheyenne might have retired to the reservation provided for them, had it not been for Gen. George Armstrong Custer. On Nov. 27, 1868, Custer and his 7th Cavalry attacked Black Kettle's camp on the Washita River without warning and killed the chief and hundreds of Native Americans. Creek Native North American confederacy. The peoples forming it were mostly of the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock. The Creek received their name from early white traders because so many of their villages were located at rivers and creeks. They lived primarily in Alabama and Georgia and were settled, agricultural people. There were more than 50 towns, generally called tribes, in the confederacy, which was formed chiefly for protection against the tribes to the north. Certain villages were set aside for war ceremonies, others for peace celebrations. Each had its annual green corn dance. This festival was a time for renewing social ties and was a period of amnesty for criminals, except murderers. The Creek Confederacy was not ruled by a permanent central government. The structure was a combination of democratic and communal principles. Decisions by the national council were not binding on towns or individuals who wished to dissent. Nevertheless, civil strife was almost unknown among them. Private ownership of land was unknown, but crops were privately owned to a degree. Each owner was required to contribute a certain portion for public use. The Creek impressed the early white men (Hernando De Soto saw them in 1540) by their height, their proud bearing, and their love of ornament. They were hostile to the Spanish and therefore friendly to the British in colonial days, but, frightened by white encroachment and fired by the teachings of the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, they rebelled in the Creek War of 1813-14. They massacred a large number of whites and blacks at Fort Mims, and Andrew Jackson won part of his reputation by defeating them at the battle of Horseshoe Bend. By a treaty signed in 1814 the Creek ceded approximately two thirds of their land to the United States, and subsequent cessions further reduced their holdings. Eventually they were moved to the Indian Territory, where they became one of the Five Civilized Tribes. A treaty signed by the confederacy in 1889 permitted white settlement of their lands, and there was great bitterness among the Creek. By the early 1970s there were some 17,000 Creek, most of them living in Oklahoma. See J. R. Swanton, The Early History of the Creek Indians (1922) and Social Origins and Social Usages of the Indians of the Creek Confederacy (1928, repr. 1970); Grant Foreman, The Five Civilized Tribes (new ed. 1953, repr. 1966); D. H. Corkran, The Creek Frontier, 1540-1783 (1967). Seminole Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock. They separated (their name means „separatist”) from the Creek in the early 18th cent., and settled in the former territory of the Apalachee in Florida. They gradually grew in strength, absorbing many runaway black slaves and the remnants of the Apalachee. While still under Spanish rule, the Seminoles became involved in several major confrontations with the United States, particularly in the War of 1812 and again in 1817-18. In the retaliatory expedition of 1817-18, Gen. Andrew Jackson invaded Florida with over 3,000 men to punish the Seminoles. By the Treaty of Paynes Landing (1832), the Seminoles were bound to move W of the Mississippi River within three years. Most Seminoles, led by Osceola, refused to go and prepared themselves for resistance. In 1835, the Seminole War began, which proved to be the most costly of the Indian wars in which the United States engaged. Lasting for nearly eight years, the war cost the lives of 1,500 U.S. soldiers and absorbed at least $30 million. The Seminoles, finally subdued (1842), consented to move to the West, although some remained isolated in the Everglades. In Oklahoma, the Seminoles are one of the Five Civilized Tribes. See J. K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War (1967); J. H. Howard, Oklahoma Seminoles (1984); M. S. Garbarino, The Seminole (1988). Wovoka c.1858-1932, Paiute, prophet of a messianic religion sometimes called the Ghost Dance religion. Also known as Jack Wilson, he was influenced by his father (a mystic), as well as by the Christian family for whom he worked and the revivalistic Shaker religion popular at the time. Wovoka claimed that during an eclipse of the sun (Jan. 1, 1889) he had had a vision in which God had given him a messagethe time was coming when the earth would die and come alive again; all whites would disappear from the earth's surface, and all native people, living and dead, would be reunited to live a life free from death, disease, and misery. In order to bring this about, however, the Native Americans would have to follow Wovoka's doctrine of pacifism and practice the sacred dance he taught them. To make his message more convincing, Wovoka proved his supernatural powers by simple tricks, one of which, the supposedly bulletproof ghost shirt, was to play a tragic part in the massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee. Before long his stature grew from Paiute prophet to Messiah, and his religion, which spread rapidly through the western indigenous nations, took on warlike overtones never intended by its founder. The great popularity of Wovoka's ghost dance waned, however, as his prophecy failed to materialize and as his converts were forced onto reservations. See biography by Paul Bailey (1957, repr. 1970). Ghost Dance Central ritual of the messianic religion instituted in the late 19th cent. by a Paiute named Wovoka. The religion prophesied the end of the westward expansion of whites and a return of the land to the Native Americans. The ritual lasted five successive days, being danced each night and on the last night continued until morning. Hypnotic trances and shaking accompanied this ceremony, which was supposed to be repeated every six weeks. The dance originated among the Paiute c.1870; later, other Native Americans sent delegates to Wovoka to learn his teachings and ritual. In a remarkably short time the religion spread to most of the Western Native Americans. The ghost dance is chiefly significant because it was a central feature among the Sioux just prior to the massacre of hundreds of Sioux at Wounded Knee, S. Dak., in 1890. The Sioux, wearing shirts called ghost shirts, believed they would be protected from the soldiers' bullets.

Kiowa Native North Americans, whose language is thought to form a branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock. The Kiowa, a nomadic people of the Plains area, had several distinctive traits, including a pictographic calendar and the worship of a stone image, the taimay. In the 17th cent. they occupied W Montana, but by about 1700 they had moved to an area SE of the Yellowstone River. Here they came into contact with the Crow, who gave the Kiowa permission to settle in the Black Hills. While living there, they acquired (c.1710) the horse, probably from the Crow. Their trade was mainly with the Arikara, the Mandan, and the Hidatsa. After the invading Cheyenne and the Sioux drove the Kiowa from the Black Hills, they were forced to move south to Comanche territory; in 1790, after a bloody war, the Kiowa reached a permanent peace with the Comanche. According to Lewis and Clark, the Kiowa were on the North Platte River in 1805, but not much later they occupied the Arkansas River region. Later the Kiowa, who allied themselves with the Comanche, raided as far south as Durango, Mexico, attacking Mexicans, Texans, and Native Americans, principally the Navaho and the Osage. In 1837 the Kiowa were forced to sign their first treaty, providing for the passage of Americans through Kiowa-Comanche land; the presence of settlers in increased numbers accelerated hostilities. After 1840, when the Kiowa made peace with the Cheyenne, four groupsthe Kiowa, the Cheyenne, the Comanche, and the Apachecombined to fight the eastern tribes, who had migrated to Indian Territory. This caused more hostility between Native Americans and the U.S. government, and U.S. forces finally defeated the confederacy and imposed the Treaty of Medicine Lodge (1867). This confederated the Kiowa, the Comanche, and the Apache and provided that they should settle in Oklahoma. However, parts of the Kiowa remained hostile until the mid-1870s. Oncoming settlers, unaware of treaty rights, caused friction with the Kiowa, resulting in a series of minor outbreaks. In 1874 the Kiowa were involved in a serious conflict, which was suppressed by the U.S. army. American soldiers killed the horses of the Kiowa, and the government deported the Kiowa leaders to Florida. By 1879 most of them were settled on their present reservation in Oklahoma. The Kiowa Apache, a small group of North American Native Americans traditionally associated with the Kiowa from the earliest times, now live with them on their reservation. The Kiowa Apache retain their own language. See R. H. Lowie, Societies of the Kiowa (1916); A. L. Marriott, Kiowa Years (1968); M. P. Mayhall, The Kiowas (rev. ed. 1972). Algonquin A small group of now extinct Native North Americans. The name of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (to which they belonged) is derived from their name. They were among the first Native Americans with whom the French formed alliances, and their name was used to designate other tribes in the area. Despite French aid, they were dispersed in the 17th cent. by the Iroquois, and the remnants of the tribe found refuge chiefly near white settlements in Quebec and Ontario. The name is also spelled Algonkin. Winnebago Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock. When Father Jean Nicolet encountered them (1634) the Winnebago lived in E Wisconsin, from Green Bay to Lake Winnebago. Except for a war with the Illinois (1671) and one with the Ojibwa (1827), the Winnebago generally were peaceful toward their neighbors such as the Menominee, the Sac and Fox, and the Ottawa. The Winnebago traded with, and were staunch supporters of, the French. After the fall of French power, however, they allied themselves with the British; they fought against the colonists in the American Revolution and in the War of 1812. The Winnebago clandestinely participated in the Black Hawk War (1832). After numerous hardships and much loss of population the Winnebago were finally settled on reservations in Nebraska and Wisconsin. Winnebago culture was of the Eastern Woodlands area with some Plains area traits. Their many ceremonies were elaborate, e.g., the buffalo dance held in the spring and the winter feast. See Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (1923, repr. 1970) and The Culture of the Winnebago (1949). Red Eagle, William Weatherford c.1780-1824, Native North American chief, b. present-day Alabama. He is also called Red Eagle. In the War of 1812 he led the Creek war party, stirred by Tecumseh, against the Americans. On Aug. 30, 1813, he attacked Fort Mims, a temporary stockade near the confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers, where his warriors, refusing to heed his plea for restraint, massacred some 500 whites. In the battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River (March 27, 1814), Gen. Andrew Jackson completely broke the power of Weatherford and his nation. Weatherford was pardoned by Jackson, who admired his courage, and he lived peaceably in Alabama until his death. See G. C. Eggleston, Red Eagle & the Wars with the Creek Indians of Alabama (1878).

Woodland Indians

An identified group of indigenous Americans to inhabit the Pocono region were the Eastern Woodlands Indians. Archaeological digs date settlements as far back as 13,000 years ago. These prehistoric people were the predecessors of those who called themselves Lenape or Lenni Lenape (original people). The Lenape that the first European explorers and settlers met were of the Algonquin tradition. During this period the Lenapes were under the authority and protection of the very forceful Iroquois, leaders of the League of Six Nations (encompassing the entire region in Pennsylvania and New York), which governed the region.

With the passage of time, the Lenape became known as Delawares as were the other groups in the region, including the Shawnee who appeared around the end of the 1600s. Minsi and Munsee are also names given to the various people here. The name is derived from the dialect they spoke -- minsi or munsee. Findings suggest most of the Delaware bands were not warlike. For instance, most of the arrowheads found in early Woodland digs were for spears (hunting) rather than for bows and arrows (fighting), and they sported clubs rather than hatchets that started to appear after European contact. More findings indicated that if Indians and Europeans accidentally got in one another's way, the Indians would move, change their hunting trails or find another place to build their towns. Warlike activity was confined to raids on villages to recruit more people for their tribes to replace lost relatives. Those captured became part of the family to which they had been delivered. Of special note is that Indians were very respectful of women, and even societies among the aggressive Iroquois were matriarchal.

The Delawares were farmers and hunters. They lived in small towns based around longhouses (long huts, 25 feet in length, constructed of bent saplings for support and covered by thick layers of bark). Longhouses were usually shared by several related families who were under a matriarch. The land was considered open for everyone's use, though each band respected one another's tribal hunting grounds and farming land. This concept of land entitlement eventually brought the Indians into conflict with the European settlers who only understood the concept of personal ownership.

In 1682 William Penn made an agreement with the Delawares for land that included Philadelphia, Chester and Bucks counties. It was reported that in 1686 another treaty was agreed to, which provided that Penn or his descendants could have as much land, going northward, as a man could walk in one and one-half days. This treaty was never found, though a supposed copy did show up in 1735 when Thomas Penn, son of William, decided he needed more land to sell. Some of the language in this intended treaty conflicted with another Indian concept. The Delawares, who were forced to agree to the "purchase" made by their Iroquois protectors, had a different notion of the meaning of the phrase "walk in one and one-half days" than the European owners seeking land.

For the Delawares, "walk" meant amble along, stop for a smoke, hunt a little, walk some more and any other similar action. To the Penns, "walk" meant cover the most distance possible in one and one-half days. They hired three professional walkers and rewarded the one who walked the farthest with a land bonus. Among the "walkers" was Edward Marshall (Marshalls Creek), who "walked" (the Indians reported that he ran and his two companions collapsed along the way) from Wrightstown in Bucks County to Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe), a distance of 65 miles!

With the Walking Purchase any trust and peaceful coexistence that was earlier established from the time of the original treaty with William Penn was now destroyed. The deal was further demeaned by the last concept involved in the treaty. The boundaries of the Walking Purchase were to be drawn in a straight line from the shopping point eastward to the Delaware River. To the Delawares, "east" meant due east. To Penn's men, "east" meant northeast. Based on the Delawares' understanding of the concept of "east" the line should have been drawn from Jim Thorpe to somewhere in the vicinity of the present-day town of Delaware Water Gap. Penn's understanding of east allowed them to draw the line to the mouth of the Lackawaxen River where it meets the Delaware River, going northeast. The territory included in the "purchase" encompassed what is today practically the entire Poconos region, or approximately three times more land than the Delawares thought they agreed to in the Walking Purchase, and area that constituted all of the hunting, fishing and farming land of his Indian tribe.

Feeling cheated, the Delawares appealed to their Iroquois protectors. But they had made a mistake by complaining to Penn's men and the governor, who in turn also had complained to the Iroquois. And since the Iroquois had pledged to work with the settlers, they ordered the Delaware and Shawnee Indians off the land.

For five years the Delawares fought the expulsion through writings, meetings and even court hearings. For a time the Penns allowed them to stay on the land they had been occupying. A Christian chief named Tatami, specifically was allowed to remain. However, demands for land grew, and after a five-year transition period, the Penns told the Delawares at a meeting in Philadelphia on July 10, 1742, that they would have to leave. The Iroquois chief, Canassatego, was present at the meeting to represent his people, whose power was based on their status as leaders of the Six Nations. At the meeting Canassatego went along with the Penns that the Delawares had to leave (For the record it is noted that in 1749 the Penns paid the Iroquois 500 English pounds for a wide strip of land the Penns had already "purchased" from the Delawares.).

Eighteen years after the infamous Walking Purchase, the Delawares finally struck back. Under the leadership of Delaware chief, Teedyuscung (converted to Christianity by the Moravians), and supported by the French who were fighting the British in the French and Indian War, they attacked.

The first attack, on November 24, 1755, was directed against the Moravians who had established a mission at Gnadenhuetten ("tents of mercy") and who reportedly supported the Indians entirely. Teedyuscung, who had been baptized by the Moravians five years earlier, reportedly did not take part in that attack. With Gnadenhuetten as a first strike initiative, the Delawares staged a furious assault against the settlers, reportedly killing them and burning settlement after settlement, but limited to the area of the Walking Purchase.

Wars were waged by Indians and Europeans alike, and atrocities were committed on both sides. In 1756, '57 and '58, meetings were held to try and end the feuding. With some Quaker support Teedyuscung reportedly attended the meetings with the Colonists. In speech after speech, he defended their cause to the governor in Philadelphia. Quakers urged Teedyuscung to have all proceedings journalized to prevent another "agreement" like the one that precipitated the Walking Purchase problem - the missing original 1686 treaty with William Penn. He pleaded to no avail, and the Delawares were ordered to themselves to Shamokin and Wyoming, Pennsylvania. Teedyuscung died in a house fire in 1763 during the years of tension-filled peace that followed the 1758 removal of the Delawares.

The tenuous peace was interrupted when the Iroquois joined forces with the British against the Colonists in the Revolutionary War. The Indians used the Revolutionary War to reopen their attack on the Colonists, and the Pennsylvania Indian Wars began again for a short time. The Colonial Army could not reliably help the settlers, who had crowded into Fort Penn, the fort controlled by Jacob Stroud in Stroudsburg. In 1778, General George Washington sent the Continental Army, under the direction of General John Sullivan, to march through the area to restore peace. The company of 2,500 men marched from Easton through the Susquehanna Valley into New York State, reportedly destroying every Indian Village, sanctuary and means of livelihood they encountered. The army engaged few Indians in battle. Finally, the march was completed and Sullivan's army was disbanded.

Attacks resumed and continued until the Peace of Paris treaty, which ended the Revolutionary War in 1783. At that time, the British ordered their frontiersmen to stop paying the Indians to attack the Colonists. General Washington for his part banned all attacks on Indians in the area. All the wars ended and there was peace, but with few Native Americans in the area.

Notable Native Americans

Anna Mae Aquash
  • Anna Mae - Center of information about the murdered activist, her life and death. With book order information and links.
  • Anna Mae Aquash - Brief summary of the slain activist's life and death.
  • Anna Mae AquashTimeline - Timeline for the Native rights activist martyred in 1975, and information related to the on-going investigation of her murder.
  • Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash - Archive and personal ongoing investigation concerning the death of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash.

Chief Joseph

  • Chief Joseph Last of the Big Chiefs - Biographical page produced by the city of Joseph, Oregon.
  • Chief Joseph, Nez Perce - Quotations.
  • Chief Seattle and Chief Joseph: From Indians to Icons - David M. Buerge's essay includes historical photos, bibliography and study questions. From the University of Washington Digital Libraries.
  • The Pursuit of Chief Joseph (1877) - By Charles Erskine Scott Wood.
  • Sayings of Chief Joseph - Chief Joseph Speaks: Selected Statements and Speeches by the Nez Perc Chief.
  • Who was Chief Joseph? - Short article reprinted from PageWise.com.
  • Flight of the Nez Perce - History of the Nez Perce and their historic struggles.
  • Nez Perc - Brief history with some links, from Encyclopedia.com.
  • Nez Perce / Nee-me-poo - Unofficial homepage presented by the University of Idaho offers history, legends, and links about the Nez Perce tribe.
  • Nez Perce History - Brief overview from the University of Oregon Linguistics Department.
  • Nez Perce Indians by Cameron - Student's report.
  • Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail - Some history of the Nez Perce tribe, recommended reading, and information about the trail.
  • Nez Perce Say Judge has Conflict of Interest - Oregon Live's News Section has an article about a lawsuit filed over 19th century treaty and Nez Perce land.
  • Nez Perce Tribal Homepage - Official site of this Indian tribe offers information on tribal government, programs and departments, history, celebrations, businesses, and reservation.
  • Nez Perce Tribal Profile - Information about the modern tribe and its community life from the Indian Health Board.
  • Nez Perce Tribe Environmental Restoration and Waste Management - From the Office of Environmental Management, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
  • Nez Perces - ES Curtis' ethnography of this Indian tribe, with sepia gravures.
  • Sacred Journey of the Nez Perce - Script of the Idaho Public Television program about the 1,600-mile journey and struggle for survival of the tribe.
  • With Perfect Justice - Nez Perce treaty documents and U.S. governmental papers on the topic.
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park - Official NPS site.

  • Chief Seattle

  • Chief Seattle and Chief Joseph: From Indians to Icons - David M. Buerge's essay includes historical photos, bibliography and study questions. From the University of Washington Digital Libraries.
  • Chief Seattle's Letter to All the People - Suquamish leader's plea to the United States Government in the 1800's. Links to other Chief Seattle speech texts. Audio loop at load.
  • Chief Seattle's Thoughts - Two versions of a disputed 1854 speech, made in response to a land treaty with the United States.
  • Urban Legend: Chief Seattle's Environment Speech - The alt.folklore.urban newsgroup discusses the "whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves" speech, written not by Chief Seattle but a Hollywood writer.
  • Thus Spoke Chief Seattle: The Story of An Undocumented Speech - Researchers find no documentary evidence of Chief Seattle's speech. From Prologue, the quarterly journal of the National Archives and Records Administation. (January, 1985)
  • Chief Seattle's Speech of 1854 - This version, translated from the original Salish dialect of Lushootseed and recorded by Dr. Henry A. Smith, first appeared in the Seattle Sunday Star. (October 29, 1887)
  • Suquamish Tribal Profile - Basic information from the Indian Health Board.
  • Suquamish Tribe - Official website presents cultural information, a speech by Chief Seattle, and a section on the Tribal Center.

  • Geronimo

  • Geronimo - Biography with photos and quotes.
  • Geronimo, His Own Story - Online text of Geronimo's autobiography.
  • Geronimo: The Last Free Apache - Information on the great Apache warrior who defied and eluded Federal authority for more than 25 years.
  • Geronimo's Mightiest Battle
  • Geronimo's Surrender - Skeleton Canyon, 1886 - Article about Geronimo's surrender, written by James W. Hurst for Southern New Mexico Online.
  • Who is Geronimo: Apache Medicine Man, Prophet, and Seer - Brief biography by Tenna Perry.
  • Apache Indian Photo Gallery - Photos of the Apache Indian as they were, and as they are today.
  • Apache Sunrise Ceremony - Article explaining the Na'ii'ees reenactment. Links to puberty rites, womens societies, and general Apache information. Historical and contemporary photos.
  • Chiricahua-Warm Springs-Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma - The online Headquarters of the Chiricahua-Warm Springs-Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma.
  • Fort Apache Indian Reservation - A photographer's personal view of Fort Apache Indian Reservation, The White Mountain Apache Tribe, Apache and Native American culture with unique photos of the Apache puberty rite for girls.
  • Jicarilla Apache - Based in Dulce, New Mexico. Historical profile, links to current political proceedings, and fishing and gaming. Contact information.
  • Jicarilla Apache Tribe - Tribal history, tribal directory, contacts for the Tribal Departments, information about the people, and schools are included.
  • Jicarilla Tourism - Brochure outlining topography, events, and accommodations at the reservation.
  • Post-Contact Social Organization of Three Apache Tribes - History with special emphasis on Mescalero, Chiricahua and Western Apache social organization before their conquest. By James Q. Jacobs.
  • Through Apache Eyes....PurpleHawk's Nest - Apache Indian facts on their life, culture, history, folklore, war, warriors. Child Safe for educational purposes.
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe - Information about the tribe's culture, history, and government.
  • Yavapai-Apache Nation - Tribal Council roster, newsletter downloads in .pdf format, event calendar, photos and contact information. Yavapai-Apache creation story and Ft. Verde Indian history.

  • Joe Harjo

  • Joy Harjo - The Academy of American Poets presents a biography, photograph, and selected poems.
  • Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice - Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice
  • Native American Authors: Joy Harjo - Joy Harjo , 1951-
  • Voices From the Gaps: Joy Harjo - An excellent biography of Harjo's work including links to her poetry online.

  • Elaine Miles

  • Credits - Elaine Miles - From E! Online.
  • E! Online - Fact Sheet - Elaine Miles - Basic biographical facts.
  • Elaine Miles - IMDb's filmography for Elaine Miles.
  • Elaine Miles - A list of programs she appeared in or contributed to.
  • Elaine Miles as the Five of Wands - From Hollywood Tarot.
  • First Americans in the Arts - Lists Elaine Miles as an award recipient for 1994.
  • Marilyn Speaks - A conversation with Elaine Miles, Native American actress best know for her role as Marilyn on the TV show Northern Exposure; from 1993 Radiance Magazine.
  • Marilyn's Stories - Native American stories told by Elaine Miles in her role as Marilyn on the TV show, Northern Exposure.
  • Northern Exposure Elaine Miles - A&E gives some basic biographical information.

  • Pocahontas

    Four Faces of Pocahontas - Four portraits of the Powhatan woman, and a brief account of her life.

    John Smith's Letter to Queen Anne Regarding Pocahontas - Vouching for the integrity and faithfulness of Pocahontas, and reporting the life-saving incident.

    Pocahontas - A balanced account of Pocahontas' life, with attention to different versions of the story.

    The Pocahontas Myth - The Powhatan Nation's version of Pocahontas' story.


    Pomp: The True Story of the Baby on the Sacagawea Dollar - Learn about Pomp's later life as an adventurer in the American West.

    Sacagawea - Guide to Lewis and Clark - Collection of links to sites about Sacagawea from About.com.

    Sacagawea, Bird Woman - Short history of Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian woman who lead the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific Ocean as a guide and interpreter.

    Sacagawea: Guide to the West? - The history of Sacagawea, guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition. From about.com.

    Woman Spirit - Short history of Sacajawea by Julia White.

  • PBS Online: Lewis and Clark - Companion site to the Ken Burns film, 'Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.' Information on the explorers, expedition journals, trip timeline and maps, interviews with historical experts, an overview of Native American tribes, and classroom lessons.
  • AITLC Guide to Lewis and Clark - A teacher's guide to resources available online.
  • Along the Trail with Lewis and Clark - Provides journals and maps from the expedition.
  • Discovering Lewis and Clark - Interactive workshop providing an overview of the journey of Lewis and Clark, including journal excerpts.
  • Following the Voyage of Discovery - A few historical FAQs, with an expedition map.
  • The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition - Expedition overview by the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
  • Jefferson's Letter - Read the contents of Jefferson's letter of commission to Meriwether Lewis exactly as it was written.
  • The Journey to Fort Clatsop - Detailed narrative of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific. Includes President Jefferson's letter of instructions to Captain Lewis.
  • Lewis and Clark - National Geographic's expedition gallery, with references.
  • Lewis and Clark - Ohio River Chapter - The mission of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation is to honor the historic legacy of Lewis and Clark through research, education, preservation, promotion, and coordination.
  • Lewis and Clark Education Center - Engages educators and students in a dynamic understanding of The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1803-1806).
  • Lewis and Clark History Day - Expedition paintings and summary, with an annotated subject bibliography.
  • Lewis and Clark Internet Archive - A links directory of several hundred sites related to the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • Lewis and Clark Trail - Historical account of the Corps of Discovery along the Lewis and Clark Trail. Includes an events calendar, trail properties, and trail treasures.
  • Meriwether Lewis: A Portrait of an American Explorer and Hero - Biography takes a look at his early years, western exploration, years as governor of the Louisiana Territory, and his mysterious death.
  • Sgt. Charles Floyd: A Short Biography - A brief biographical essay on Sergeant Charles Floyd, the only member of the Lewis and Clark expedition who died during their journey.

  • Sitting Bull


  • The History of Tisquantum - Tisquantum, or Squanto, was from the Patuxet tribe and credited with helping with the first Thanksgiving.
  • Squanto - Article about this English speaking Indian who helped the Pilgrims.
  • Squanto - God's Special Indian - Story of the role played by Squanto in helping the Pilgrims.
  • Squantum (Squanto) and Cupids - Biographical article about the Native American man who reportedly attended the first Thanksgiving.

  • Tecumseh

  • An American Hero: Tecumseh - Provides a brief biography of Tecumseh and accounts of his death.
  • Tecumseh - Life story and times of the chief of the Shawnee who worked to form an Indian nation.
  • Tecumseh - Ohio Historical Society - Organization features a brief profile of this Shawnee chief with portraits and links to related histories and biographies.
  • Tecumseh's Speech at Vincennes - Text of Tecumseh's speech to Governor Harrison at Vincennes in 1810.

  • Jim Thorpe

    Jim Thorpe - Official Site - Represented here by CMG as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th Century. Provides his biography, career highlights, photos, and interesting facts.

    Wilma Mankiller

    Wilma Mankiller - Biography and other information about this powerful woman.

    Wilma Mankiller - Speech by Wilma Mankiller on the future of the Cherokee Nation.

    Wilma Mankiller - Encyclopedia article about this Cherokee chief.

  • Attakullakulla - Cherokee chief in the 18th century, during the time of war between the Cherokee Nation and the American colonies.
  • Chief Black Kettle - Short fact sheet on the Southern Cheyenne chief who, despite broken promises and attacks on his own life, was regarded as a great leader with a unique vision for coexistence between mainstream America and the plains Indians.
  • Chief Gall - Short fact sheet on the Hunkpapa chief who led the Lakota in a long war against the United States, and later encouraged his people to accept assimilation once confined on reservations.
  • Chief Ouray - Revered today as one of the Ute's greatest leaders, Chief Ouray led the Southern Ute Tribe during the mid 1800s.
  • Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte - Biographical sketch about the first Native American woman physician.
  • Dragging Canoe, Cherokee War Chief - Chief who was fought settlers in the Tennessee area during the late 1700's, by D. Ray Smith.
  • First Americans in the Arts - Annual awards ceremony gives scholarships to American Indian college students and honors past and present Native American Indian performers. Searchable event listings, merchandise, mediography, readers' poll and links.
  • Great Chiefs and Leaders - Browseable database featuring profiles of prominent modern and historical figures. Some with black and white photos and images, and links.
  • James Vann - Mixed-blood Cherokee who was one of the richest men in the Western Hemisphere in the early 1800's.
  • Logan Fontenelle - Simple information of the 19th century Omaha Indian chief from a textbook for children.
  • Major Ridge - Cherokee chief, led Lighthorse Patrol and signed the Treaty of New Echota.
  • Native American Athletes - Profiles Native American athletes from 1760 - 1977 focusing on track and field, hockey, and boxing.
  • Native American Authors - Index by tribe. From the Internet Public Library.
  • Native Americans in Film: A Short FAQ - Lists tribal affiliations of famous actors, and films with native language dialogue.
  • Private Pierre Cruzatte - Biography of the French-Omaha voyager on the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • Sarah Winnemucca - Paiute leader, warrior, and interpreter, 1844-1891. Article with historical photos. Extensive list of related links.
  • Sequoyah (a.k.a George Gist) - Crippled from birth, this scholar created the Cherokee syllabary known as the "Talking Leaves."
  • Standing Bear: Indian Civil Rights Hero - Brief article about the Chief of the Ponca Indians when his people were displaced to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.
  • Tahtonka People Index - Links to biographical and historical sketches of prominant Native Americans.
  • William C. Thompson et al vs. Choctaw Nation 1895-1909 - Texas Choctaw leader Captain William Clyde Thompson and his fight with the Dawes Commission for Choctaw enrollment.

  • Native American Biographies

    Indians of North America Alcatraz Occupation: The Story The 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island is seen as a watershed event in contemporary Native American history. This site provides a brief history of the occupation as documented in my book, "The Occupation of Alcatraz Island, Indian Self-determination and The Rise of Indian Activism Alcatraz Occupaion in photographs This collection of photographs and descriptions by Ilka Hartmann tell the story of the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island through the eyes of those who made up the occupation force. Alcatraz: The Story of American Indian Inmates Written by Ranger Craig Glassner, this site tells of the Army's use of Alcatraz as the nation's first permanent military prison and focuses on the imprisonment of a number of Native Americans from 1873 to 1895. Alcatraz: The Story of the Hopi Inmates, Part 1 This website is a joint project of the National Park Service and the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office. The articles and photographs document an event connecting the history of the Hopi people and Alcatraz. The story of the Alcatraz inmates is authored by Wendy Holliday, Historian with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office. Alcatraz: The Story of the Hopi Inmates, Part 2 In connection with Part 1 of this collection, this site traces the government's Indian policy and the effect it had on the people of Hopi in the late 19th century, culminating with the imprisonment of 19 Hopi men by the U. S. Army on Alcatraz Island in 1895. The Native American Experience Contains Photographs, drawings, maps and short descriptions chroniclizing the experiences of the Native American population dating from the first migrations from Siberia (pre-1600) through recent experiences. The Navajo (Din'e) Photographer Ilka Hartmann's collection of photographs taken in 1971 on the Navajo Reservation. Theodore De Bry Copper Plate Engravings A collection of images and descriptions depicting early American life in the United States. Powwow A gathering of North American Indian tribes at California State University, Long Beach on April 28, 1990. Non-Federally Recognized Indian Tribes Provides a state by state listing of all non-federally recognized American Indian tribes in the United States. Indians of Central America and Mexico Mystery of the Maya An online exhibit from the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Digital Equipment of Canada, LTD. containing an excellent presentation of Mayan culture. The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Mexico Information on the people, tourist info and pointers to other valuable sites. Ethnoscope Multicultural Film & Videos: Films on Mexican Indians Related Web Servers Federally Recognized Indian Nations A complete listing of Native Nations eligible to receive services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs Spanish Exploration and Conquest of Native America Hernando de Soto invaded Native America in the 1640s. This site describes large Indian villages that existed at the time and the results of Spanish warfare and diseases.
    American Indian Studies General Reading List Prepared by the University of Arizona, this site provides an extensive reading list for anyone interested in American Indian issues. The list was last revised in August 1998.
    Pine Ridge vs. Whiteclay: June 24 to July 6, 1999. A photo-documentary of the June/July 1999 confrontation between the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge and the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. Two Pine Ridge men were found dead in a ditch off the main road between Whiteclay, a town with a population of 22, four liquor stores, selling more than 4 million cans of beer a year. Outraged over the murders, outraged about beer, and outraged about long-standing land claims, Lakota tribal leaders decided that it was time to stand up and shout. H-American Indian's FYI: Today's News This site provides an up-to-date resource for what is happening in Indian Country on a daily basis. If you want to know what is happening today, this is the place to look! U. S. Environmental Protection Agency: Indian Program Information on the efforts to help build tribal capacity to manage Indian Country enviornmental programs and to insure that tribes have a voice in decisions that affect their lands. On This Date In North American Indian History This site lists over 3000 historical events which happened to or affected the indigeneous peoples of North America. The site also has tribal name meanings and alternative names as well as links to many other sites. Tribes, State, and Government Agencies Do not miss this site! This is an excellent research and resource site full of great information and updated often. Index of Non-federally recognized Indian tribes that have applied for federal acknowledgment This site provides a list of non-federally recognized Indian tribes that have applied for federal acknowledgment regardless of the status of such request Native American Images This site is a non-commercial "web magazine" devoted to images of Native American people, places and mother earth. The site includes both visual and word images and links to a select group of exceptional Native American web sites. Indigeneous Education Resources The Directory of Indigeneous Education Resources is an updated version of the 1993 plublication, the Directory of Native Education Resources in the Far West Region. This vesion coincides with the recent release of a new national directory and includes listings such as Head Start, Child Care, Title IX programs and Johnson O'Malley contractors in Arizona, California, Utah, and Nevada. Native American Cultural resources in Southern California An award winning site that provides an extensive listing of Native American organizations and cultural events in Southern California North American Cultural/Ethnic Resources in Southern California Provides a listing of colleges and cultural research and resource centers in Southern California. Included also are private Native organizations and powwow schedules. Native American Literature and History An excellent archive of Native American history and literature, including course syallabus Lisa Mitten's Homepage Provides acces to home pages of individual Native Americans and to other sites that provide solid information about American Indians Little SpiritHawk's Homepage LittleSpiritHawk is a non profit organization operated by Native Americans. Its primary purpose is to build and maintain an inter-tribal ceremonial and cultural center in the northern San Joaquin Valley of California. Native American Support Group The Native American Support Group of New York City was founded in 1988 to present issues of Native Americans from the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. In October 1977 NASG added International issues as well. The Student Council of Inter-Tribal Nations (S.C.A.N.) Recounts the forming of the Student Council of American Natives at San Francisco State University and later the Student Kouncil of Inter-Tribal Nations (S.K.I.N.S.) Includes interesting information on the 1969 American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island and Richard Oakes, one of the student leaders of the occupation. National Museum of The American Indian Film and Video Center This site includes general information on the Film and Video Center and its resources. The site also showcases monthly featured artisits and upcoming Native American Film Fideo Festivals. Bureau of Indian Affairs Web Site, Washington, D.C. A guide to Indian affairs including tribal services, government trust responsibility, listing of tribal leaders, how to trace Indian ancestry and more. The Mascot Issue: Indians Are People, Not Mascots This page is intended to be a compilation of web sites and writings on the issue of Indian mascots used by sports teams. Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center This site makes the Resource Center's publications on Native American public health issues available to the community at large. The internship program will also be of interest to students and others who may want to serve as advocates at the women's shelter. Official Web Site For The American Indian Church Information on the American Indian Church, Nataive American Information, Walking the Wellness Path Home, Honoring the Earth Campaign, and Whitewolf's Photo Gallery O'SIYO: First National Bulletin Board An A-Z alphabetical listing of information/sites dealing with significant American Indian Issues Masks Images of masks, and masks from around the world Spirit of The Wolf This site is intended to be a place of reflection on the words of the First Peoples. Includes quotes from Chief Seattle, Tecumseh, Chief Joseph, and others. Native American Authors This site contains the names of about 400 authors, nearly 900 books, and about 275 websites relating to native American people Storytellers: Native American Authors Online This site is devoted to showcasing the work of Native American authors, primarily those living and writing today. Native Tech Devoted to presenting Native American technology and art. Native Web An excellent resource organized by subject, geographic regions and cultures. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center A presentation of nineteen Pueblo communities. Black Indians & Intertrbial Native American Associations Decicated to Intertribal Native Americans with a special interest in the Native-African-Indian communities abroad The Powwow Editions Photographer Ben Marra's collection of Powwow photos. Provincial Museum Of Alberta Programs of interest to all age levels. Some of the finest human and natural history collections Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project This site offers access to the full texts of selected legal documents. Among these are Constitutions, Tribal Codes, Charters, Indian Land Titles, and summaries of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases that have involved or affected Native American people. Legislative Impact This site was created to serve as a consolidated legislative research resource for Indian County. The site contains Congressional Bills, pending legislation, Congressional contacts, as well as a directory for members of the U. S. House of Representatives, and the U. S. Senate Teaching Indigeneous Languages Contains teaching and other educational resources for stabilizing and teaching indigeneous languages. Includes excellent materials on revitalizing, teaching, and stabilizing indigeneous languages, American Indian Links, bilingual/ESL links, literacy/readings links, multicultrual education links, and education links, general. Tribe and Nation Homepages Native American Sites Home pages of individual Native Nations as well as links to Indian educational resources and Native organizations. Indian Circle Web Ring Indian Circle is a ring connecting the internet web pages of federally recognized Indian Tribe. An excellent resource! A Line in the Sand Cultural property belonging to various cultural groups. Arctic Circle This site provides resources on the indigenous peoples of Alaska, Canada, Northwest Siberia with a focus on the natural resources, history and culture, social equity and environmental justice of the region. Abenaki of Mazipskwik and Related Bands This site is devoted to the cutural history, and presevation, of the traditional Abenakis of Mazipskwik Dakota Culture and History The original homeland of the Dakota people during historic times was in Minnesota. The dialect changed as the Dakota people moved West. Visit this site for an introduction to Dakota Culture and History. Illini Confederation Confederation of the Hileni, or Illiniwe, the Peovia, Kaskaskia, Tamaroa, Cahokia and Michigamea. This site provides an overview of these Illinois people. Iroquois Infomation Links This site provides an extensive listing of links to infomation such as Iroquois Treaties, Wampum Belts and Treaties, Corn and the Indians of the Northeast, General Iroquois information, The Iroquois Constitution, the Iroquois and the U.S./Canadian Border, and much more. Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation Home Page The history of the Taino Nation of the Caribbean from October 11, 1492 to the present. Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Band of New Jersey The history of the Taino Nation of New Jersey from October 11, 1492 to the present. The Lumbee Indians This site is a resource guide to the musical and religious history and traditions of the Lumbee Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina. Ojibway Culture and History An introduction to Ojibway Culture and History The Ohlone/Costanoan Media Gallery Contains video and sound clips with songs and cultural material on the Ohlone and Costanoan people of North America. Oneida Indian Nation Home Page The Oneida Indian Nation, one of the original members of the Iroquois Confederacy, enjoys a unique role in America's history. Read and learn about the Oneida Indian Nation on this excellent site. Oneida Indian Nation Cultural Center, the Shako:Wi Project Excellent images of artifacts on display in the Cultural Center. Seminole Tribe of Florida This site is dedicated to the rich history and culture of the Florida Seminole Indians Southern New Jersey Taino Tribe of Jatibanuco This site tells the History and gives information on the Jatibanuco people (Taino Tribe) Stockbridge Munsee Tribe of Mohican Indians Provides an overview of the history, culture, and language of the Muh-he-ka-ne-ok, Stockbridge MunseeTribe of Mohican Indians Tekesta Taino Tribal Band of Bimini Florida The history of the Taino Nation of the Caribbean from October 11, 1492 to the present. Tlingit National Anthem From Alaska's Tongass web sites. Covers Alaska Tlingit history, current issues, culture, Alaska Natives Online and additional Native American resources. Town Creek Indian Mound This site presents the Native American Legacy found at the Town Creek Indian Mound Yupik Eskimo Home Page From Toksook Bay, Alaska Live photos from downtown Anchorage, or Learn to speak Yup'ik Eskimo