It is commonly believed that Native American origins can be traced back to the end of the Ice Age, when the first humans ventured through the Bering Strait and into what is now North America. Over time, they dispersed across the continent and into South America, creating distinct tribes, territories and cultures. Some Native American tribes believe humans have always been there, and many researchers believe waves of people have arrived at different times and by different means.
When Christopher Columbus and other explorers sailed to North America, they sought to colonize Native American territory and claim it as their own. Through decades of wars and treaties, Native Americans have had a complicated and painful history with European settlers. Experts of the North American landscape and its resources, the Amerindians have built a strong economy based on trade with Europeans. But as the colonial presence increased and “Manifest Destiny” rhetoric took hold, Native Americans found it difficult to live on the land they had known for generations in the face of widespread westward expansion. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson passed the Indian Removal Act, which forced many tribes to leave their ancestral lands and move west to reservations. Although some customs and traditions have been lost due to colonization, war and missionary efforts, many tribes still retain a unique identity that honors their rich ancestral history.
To celebrate the solid history of the ancestral peoples of North America, Stacker used estimates from the 2019 Census, the most comprehensive recent demographic report on the Native American population of the United States, to compile a list of 42 of the largest tribes. Native American women of the country. today. At the 2010 census, there were approximately 1.6 million Native Americans living in the United States. Tribes are categorized based on the number of people who identify as a member of that tribe alone or in any combination. For example, someone who is Cherokee and white would be included in the Cherokee population. The list also includes people who identify as each tribe in combination with other Native American groups (eg, Apache and Navajo) as well as people who identify only as a member of a Native American tribe. Native American groups unrelated to specific tribes (e.g. American Indians from Mexico, American Indians Canadian and French) are not included in this list. Read ahead to immerse yourself in the rich culture of the country’s most important Native American tribes.
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