Facts about Indian Native Americans
The "Native American" term excludes Alaskan Natives or Native Hawaiians. Majority of indigenous people living in the United States use the term "American Indian" to describe themselves. Canadian indigenous people call themselves "First Nations," "indigenous Americans" or "Native Americans." The last wild Indian is Ishi (born 1860, died 1916) who lived a major part of his life isolated from modern culture after the Yahi tribe, from where he came from, became extinct. He came out of the wild in 1911 as he was starving and spent his last hours in Oroville town.
Native Americans were living in North American as early as 12,000BC. There were not one tribe but many with a diversity of languages, peoples, and cultures.
The Sequoia tree is named to honor Sequoyah, a Cherokee leader who assisted his tribespeople to develop the alphabet. The term "Indian" was coined by Christopher Columbus who mistakenly thought he anchored in East Indies. He started to call the American indigenous people "Indians." Since the First Nations and the Native Americans were the first to make contact with English explorers, many words of Algonquin entered the English language, like moccasins, opossum, raccoon, and chipmunk. The name of the fruit "avocado" means testicle in Aztec Indian or Central Mexican language. Names of many United States' states originate from Amerindian words like Missouri, Arizona, Connecticut, and Kentucky. A large number of Native American words have also entered the English dictionary like tomato, poncho, potato, chia, chocolate, and chili. In Arawakan Indian language, barbecue means a "framework of sticks."
Misconceptions continue to abound in European settlers' minds long after they came to the Americas. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds the belief that Native Americans have their origin in the Middle East and of Jewish origin. The LDS church refers to Native Americans as "Laminates" in their "The Book of Mormon" scripture. All Native Americans are full US citizens as guaranteed by the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. The law took into account the heroism of Native Americans who fought in the First World War.
Early white settlers termed the Seminole, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw as "Five Civilized Tribes." These tribes were regarded as civilized due to similarities between their respective cultures and the incoming Europeans. Like the latter, the five made planned villages and engaged in farming. A few Native Americans made so much money that they owned slaves.
The Nez Perce tribe assisted the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore Northwest Territory, The people of this tribe crafted canoes and drew maps, thus helping them to reach the Pacific Ocean. Sacagawea (born 1788, died 1812), Lemhi Shoshone woman, assisted Lewis and Clark as a guide and also as an interpreter. She went with them for thousands of miles, from North Dakota until the Pacific Ocean over a period of two years (1804 to 1806).
Porcupine hairs were used by Native Americans to make hairbrushes. A stick will also be cut into the correct shape and one edge frayed to make a toothbrush. The Mohawk hairstyle derives its name from the Mohawk tribe, one of many making up Iroquois nation. It was a tradition of the Mohawk people to shave one side of the head and other painted in bright color.
The Lakota or Sioux headdress, the sophisticated eagle-feather version, reached from head to toe. It is worn exclusively by a warrior who has proved to be courageous in battle. In Native American lore, eagle feathers were thought to contain spiritual power and thus coveted. Harvest thanksgiving ceremony was represented by Green Corn Ceremony among Native Americans living in Northeast and the Southeast.