Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Native Americans
Pueblo people of Arizona
Total population
Appox. 52,000,000
Regions with significant populations
Not including mestizos, people of mixed indigenous and foreign origin
Mexico Mexico 14,314,119 [1]
Peru Peru 13.8 million [2]
Bolivia Bolivia 6,000,000 [3]
Guatemala Guatemala 5.4 million [4]
United States United States 2.9 million [5]
Colombia Colombia 1.4 million [6]
Canada Canada 1.2 million [7]
Brazil Brazil 700,000 [8]
Chile Chile 1,714,677 [9]
Argentina Argentina 600,000 [10]
Venezuela Venezuela 524,000 [11]
Honduras Honduras 520,000 [12]
Panama Panama 204,000 [13]
Paraguay Paraguay 95,235 [14]
El Salvador El Salvador ~70,000 [15]
Costa Rica Costa Rica ~60,000 [16]
Guyana Guyana ~60,000 [17]
France French Guiana ~19,000 [18]
Belize Belize ~24,501 [19]

Quechua, Nahautl, Zapotec, Inuit, Navajo, Cree, other indigenous languages of the Americas
English, Spanish, French


Christianity Christianity (mostly Roman Catholicism or Protestantism), traditional folk practices, Animism, Shamanism

The Native Americans, Amerindians, Aborgines or even "Indians" (not to be confused with the South Asian group) are the collective people who are indigenous to the continents of North America and South America. They still follow their pre-Colombian cultures, and some speaking their indigenous languages or contain pure native descent. Many states and cities in the United States, Mexico and Canada are named after these tribes.

In Canada, they are known as First Nations peoples.


The terms used to refer to the indigenous populations of the Americas differ from country to country. In the United States, they are referred to as "Native Americans" or "Indians". In Mexico, they are called "Indians" and "Aborigines" in Argentina and Canada. The Spanish colonists referred to all the native populations of their territory as indios - calling them "Indians" which saw extensive use beyond the Americans into their Pacific territory such as Guam and the Philippines. As English settlers arrived in the United States, they adopted the Spanish and European terminology of "Indian" to refer to the natives. In Canada, they are referred to as Eskimos.


Early History 20,000 B.C.-12,000 B.C.Edit


Native Americans used arrowheads, sharpened rocks such as these to hunt food

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are descendants of prehistoric migrations from Asia. Nomadic tribes from Siberia crossed a land bridge that once interconnected eastern Russia and western Alaska roughly 20,000 years ago. In approximately 14,500 B.C., the bridge was eaten up by melting glaciers. The tribes came to inhabit what is now Canada. Over the following centuries and millennia, migrations to the south continued. The Native American civilizations extended to the southern regions of South America to what is now Argentina. Eventually, North America and South America were entirely inhabited by the descendants of the prehistoric migrants from Siberia. Many were Animist and Shamanistic worshippers, and were nomadic for the most part. It isn't until many of the tribes in Central America started to discover marvelous engineering as well as the practice of blood sacrifice on the darker side, gave them permanent settlements heading into 12,000 B.C.

Golden Age 12,000 B.C.-1519 A.D.Edit

Kingdoms in MesoamericaEdit

The earliest permanent civilization were found to be in Central America, in the area of what is now southern and
Machu Picchu

Ruins of Machu Picchu at Peru

central Mexico, which was known as the Olmec Civilization. The Olmecs also introduced the practice of blood sacrifice to the other natives of Central and South America. The Olmecs built giant head statues of such stones like jade and volcanic basalt. Many of these monuments were constructed in the modern-day Mexican cities of San Lorenzo, La Venta, Tres Zapotes and Rancho la Cobata. The Olmecs were also the earliest to introducing a form of writing in the western world which dates as early as 1100 B.C. Olmec people also introduced ball games, in which the losing person would be sacrificed. In 600 B.C. came Zapotec civilization which would succeed the Olmecs. The Zapotecs ruled the modern-day date of Oaxaca in Mexico. Like the Olmecs, the Zapotecs also made jade-masks and stone statues of their deities. The Zopatecs also built stone buildings that included recreational uses for ball games. In 250 A.D., the Mecame the superpower. Although the civilization started in 2,000 B.C., the height of their power was not reached until 250 A.D. The Mayans ruled the areas of southeastern Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. The Mayans contructed pyramids and large temples, as well as the skills of the other tribes, which became the main focal point of the native kingdoms in Central America. The Mayans traded with other civilizations
Jade mask

An Olmec jade mask from 1,000 B.C.

such as the Zopatecs. The Mayans were also renowned for their complex writing and calendar system. The neighboring Nahautl people also started to rise to power. The Nahautl people reflected and mirrored much of the Mayan cultures and their architecture, as well as the practice of blood sacrifice. In fact, there was so much blood sacrifice that historians claim it would have been visible as red smoke rising from temples. Thousands of humans were sacrificed each day. Following wars between tribes, the Nahautl banded with other tribes to form the Aztec Triple Alliance. The Alliance reached the height of its power under Moctezuma I, the fifth emperor. The kingdoms in Central America enjoyed a vast and wealthy age of both gold and silver, in addition to the artistic culture that already existed. Their main center of trade and

Artist's rendering of Tenochtitlan

commerce was in the Mexican city of Tenochtitlan. In South America much of the natives reflected Central American influence. One commanlity that bound the Central and Southern groups was none other than blood sacrifice. South America became home to the largest native kingdom of the pre-Colombian era, which was located on the western part of the continent. In western South America, the natives were able to adopt to the dry mountainous enviroment by creating fields known as terraces, which created step-like features on the mountains. The terraces were used to grow croups in the mountainous regions, which resemble rice paddies from Indonesia or southern China. Manco Cápac, a native of the region is credited for having found the Incan Empire (1438-1533). The Peruvian city of Cuzco was the main center of trade and commerce for the South American natives.

Confederations in United States and CanadaEdit

Meanwhile in the north, in what is now Canada and the United States, the natives enjoyed a much more quiet and peaceful life, free of blood sacrifice. Many of its populations were nomadic who grazed buffalo and farmed, according to weather conditions. Unlike Mexico, hundreds of tribes were scattered throughout the United States who established independant nations and confederations based on clan-rule. The Cherokee tribe populated the southeastern parts of the United States. The Miami tribe lived in what now the American states of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. In the central United States came the Sioux tribe, who constituted one of the largest groups in the United States.

European Conquest 1519-1973Edit

Columbian Discovery and English MigrationEdit

In 1502, the European powers were growing thirsty for a western sea route to Asia. In 1492, an Italian explorer by the name of Christopher Columbus who worked for the Spanish Empire, discovered the shores of America. Mistaken the lands for Asia, Amerigo Vespucci reached South America soon after. The continents "America" were named after Vespucci's first name.

Cooperation With English and French SettlersEdit

In England, many people fled to escape religious oppression. Groups of English refugees fled from the United Kingdom. In 1620, the first European settlers stepped on what is now Plymoth in Massachussetts, where they encountered the Patuxet tribe and other natives. A Patuxet man by the name of Tisquantum or "Squanto", thought the English newcomers farming and hunting techniques. The Native Americans and British colonists lived in peace side by side, until colonization by the British Crown from King George III came. The native people had a generally peaceful co-existance with the English and French colonists. In the central United States and Canada, the French established communities where Native Americans and French colonists lived side by side. The English were no different in the eastern coasts of America. King George III of England started to strengthen his rule in America, that saw the beginning of slight trouble for the North American natives and the British settlers. Many such as Wampanoag civilizations fought the British soldiers with such fierceness, that many did not dare to venture into the west. These migrations west worsened as the new nation known as the United States of America gained their independance from the British Crown in 1776. In 1973, the country of Belize, once British Honduras off of the eastern Yucatán Peninsula was gained independance from European colonization becoming one of the last to do so.

Spanish and Portuguese ConquistasEdit

Unlike the peaceful early co-existance with English and French settlers, the Spanish encounter with marked with
Hernan Cortes

Hernán Cortés

brutality. In Mexico, a Spanish conquistador (Spanish/Portuguese for conquerer) by the name of Hernán Cortés arrived in the Yucatán Peninsula. In the modern-Mexican state of Tabasco, Cortés and his men were met with heavy resistance. Despite being outnumbered, Cortés easily obliterated the native forces, due to having an advantage in weapons as opposed to the stone weapons that the natives tried to use. Cortés also brought along horses which gave the small Spanish army an even bigger advantage. He captured twenty native women and used them as translators, and converted them all to Roman Catholicism as it had been Spanish tradition to require all voagers to be Catholics. Moctezuma II, the son of Moctezuma I, the Tlatoani ruler of the Aztecs, encountered Cortés in 1519. Despite being treated as a diety, Cortés took Moctezuma II as a hostage due to word of his Spanish comrades being killed on the coast. In 1520, the Spanish forces sieged and successfuly took the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. In 1521, the Aztec Empire, the most powerful out of all the central native kingdoms was finally vanquished by Cortés, who came to govern Mexico for Spain. In 1524, Francisco Pizarro, another Spanish conquistador set out for South America where he was met with hostility from the Incans. Influenced by Cortés, Pizarro also wanted to explore and colonize South America. In what is now Peru, Pizarro encountered the Incan ruler, Atahualpa. Atahualpa also treated Pizarro with respect, and even promised him a room completely filled with gold and silver. Despite fulfulling this promise, Atahualpa was executed due to an

An artwork depicting De Las Casas converting an Aztec family by Miguel Noreña

alleged plot to kill Pizarro. His execution did meet Spanish oppositions. In 1525, Pizarro completed his conquest with an invasion of Cuzco that involved indigenous collaborators. Under the Treaty of Tordesillas, Brazil became Portuguese territory while the western coasts became Spanish. Like Spain, the Portuguese conquistadors also conquered the natives and pushed them to the eastern coasts of Brazil. Under Spanish rule, the natives of Central and South America suffered much. They suffered from European diseases, and brutal holocaust-like treatment from the conquerers. Many were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism or were burned at the stake. Over centuries the native populations in Central and South America declined rapidly. Amid this colonial period, a Spanish priest by the name of Bartolomé de las Casas finally stood up to the unfair treatment of the natives. He wrote extensive works on the unfair treatment of the native people and urged the royalty for a much more humane treatment of the Indians. Both he and his opposers used the Bible as sources of argument. De Las Casas is therefore known as the "Saviour of the Indians". It was because of De Las Casas's works that the government gave the natives more rights, although they were placed at the bottom of Spanish caste system along with negritos, black natives. The Portuguese conquistadors were not as brutal as the Spanish, in contrary to the earlier text. King Sebastian I in fact, ordered that the Brazilian natives be treated with respect after the Portuguese armies conquered Brazil.

American Conquest 1776-1900sEdit

In 1775, the American colonists declared war on Great Britain. After years of fighting, the United States was
Battle of Little Big Horn

Battle of Little Big Horn

victorious, the war officially ended on 1783. While the revolutionaries enjoyed their new freedom, the Native Americans' freedoms dwindled much. In the early 1800s, two American pioneers by the names of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark became one of the first Americans to venture into the west. A woman from the Lemhi Shoshone tribe by the name of Sacajawea accompanied the men. As the 1800s progressed, the Native Americans in the United States would begin to experience their share of trouble as the country experienced a mass influx of white settlers and European migrants. In 1809, Willian Henry Harrison, a United States army general, purchased land north of Kentucky, east of Illinois and south of Lake Michigan he would call the Indiana Territory. In exchange for the Indiana Territory, Harrison paid the Kickapoo, Miami, Eel and the Potawatomi tribes goods and money, a negotiation that did not sit well with the Shawnee tribe, also native to the southern Great Lakes region. Tecumseh, the Shawnee leader began to take up arms against the coming white settlers. The 1812, tensions between the new country and its former colonizer, Great Britain, resulted in another war. Despite early victories and help from the British invaders, William Henry Harrison defeated Tecumseh's forces during the Battle of Thames in 1813. In the south, another powerful United States general by the name of Andrew Jackson began to halt the unstoppable and incoming British invaders. Earlier to this, he had defeated vassal tribes of Tecumseh who urged them to attack white settlements. In 1815, Andrew Jackson built a force of both natives and white Americans alike and defeated the British troops. Jackson would become president in in 1829. Under his presidency, Native Americans suffered under the Indian Removal Act, which he approved of. Many tribes were bribed under bogus treaties for their land. One of the most effected were the Cherokee and Choctaw groups, who were forced to relocate to Oklahoma. In 1861, disputes between political parties over taxes and slavery grew into another war of full-scale atrocity, known as the American Civil War between northern and southern forces. The Native Americans, having suffered from being driven from their lands, served on the northern's forces to gain respect from the government. Ely Parker, a member of the Seneca tribe, became a Brigadere General for the northern forces in the war. He also wrote the latter Confederate's surrender termsoss. Stand Watie, who was from the Cherokee tribe, became Parker's southern counterpart. Amid the civil war in 1864, a group of armed militiamen from the Colorado Territory opened fire on friendly and innocent Cheyenne and Arapaho communities in an event known as the Sand Creek Massacre. The government of the United States established reservations, lands that were for the natives to settle on. Having been joyfully nomadic, the natives felt very limited and oppressed by the reservation system. The Comanche and Kiowa tribes were forced to surrender to United States troops on 1875. The Sioux tribe was also very angered by the white expansion and were renowned for having fiercely resisted the white settlement. Two Sioux leaders by the names of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse led this resistance. Near the Little Bighorn River in what is now Montana, Crazy Horse defeated a force of U.S soldiers led by colonel George Custer. The government also began moving the Nez Perce people of Idaho, who were a Christianized group of natives. Despite fighting back, the Nez Perces lost the battle and Chief Joseph, the Nez Perce leader surrendered in Canada. At last, the natives that had once made up America's population had begun to face the edge of extinction. As the 1900s neared, many whites did stand up against the government's unfair abuse of the Native Americans. Many set up boarding schools for Native Americans in the western United States to educate the natives and assimilate them into mainstream Anglo-American culture.

Modern Identity in Latin AmericaEdit

In Central and South America, like the United States, Europeans and Caucasian peoples began to outnumber the natives of the countries. Spanish migrants arrived and oftenly married and intermingled with the Native Americans of the region. Their descendants are known as mestizos. The native "Mesoamericans" (natives of the central-south), also declined as mestizos and Europeans came to populate most of the former Spanish colonies. As Mexico gained independance from Spain, an independant empire formed. Under the empire's constitution, the natives were granted immediete rights as anyone else. However, these constitutional laws were not enforces, natives were still being treated unfairly by a Mexican government that still consisted of Spanish-descended royals. In 1858, a lawyer from the Zapotec people by the name of Benito Juárez became the first indigenous president of Mexico upon the destruction of the Second Mexican Empire and the formation of a republic. Benito Juárez eliminated monarchy in Mexico and restored the Mexican Republic. After the Mexican-American War, many Zapotecs and Mayans migrated to the United States, a country that had already subdued its indigenous populations. They were discriminated, along with other Mexicans or immigrants to the United States.

Modern DaysEdit

In 2003, the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples was found in Mexico, its headquarters are located in Mexico City, the capital of the country. In the United States, as African Americans won

General MacArthur with Native American soldiers

voting and citizenship rights, the Native Americans continued to suffer being left out and not seen as citizens, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment in the American Bill of Rights. Many of them had to apply for citizenship. In 1911, Carlos Montezuma, a native from Arizona created the Society of American Indians. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge finally recognized Native Americans as naturalized citizens and signed the Indian Citizenship Act. The act claimed that all natives born in the United States are citizens. During World War II, many Native Americans volunteered to serve in the United States army. They recieved the respect of their fellow soldiers. The Americans were facing heavy struggles against the seemingly unstoppable Japanese juggernaut in the Pacific. By the time 1943 came, the Japanese controlled the entire southern Asia-Pacific area making communications extremely difficult. Owing to the Navajo language, communication was finally made possible. The Japanese were unable to decipher and decode the Navajo language; this played a key role in the recapturing of the Asia-Pacific region by the Americans which eventually led to Japan's defeat. In the 1960s, the American Indian Movement was found in the city of Minneapolis in Minnesota. In 1968, the Indian Civil Rights Act was finally enacted. The sizes of reservations for the Native Americans also increased. The Native Americans in the United States began to enjoy a much more peaceful treatment from the federal government, despite occasional violences between native groups and state governments. President Lyndon B. Johnson encouraged Native Americans self-determination for their own future. Bolivia's current president, Evo Morales, is of native origin from the Aymara tribe.


Inuit alphabet

Inuit alphabet

The indigenous peoples of the Americas speak an unspeakably high amount of different languages and dialects. Out of these, the Quechua language contains the most speakers, having an estimate of 10,000,000 native speakers at most. Because of this, the Quechua language is one of Ecuador's two official languages, with the other being Spanish. Quechua is native to the Andes region of South America, being mostly concentrated in Ecuador. The Mexican government currently recognizes sixty-eight indigenous languages. Out of these, the most spoken is the Nahautl language, which contains some 1,376,026 native speakers which was the native language of the Aztec Kingdom. In Canada, there are sixty five indigenous languages. Unlike the languages from Central and South America, the languages of Canada and the United States are much-endangered. The Navajo language contains 178,000 native speakers which is the largest in the United States. In Canada, the Cree language contains the most native speakers at 117,400 speakers. Due to Americanization and extensive assimilation in the 1800s, many of the natives in the United States have long-renounced their ancestors' languages, they speak mostly English. In Central and South America, most learn Spanish as a second language and French in the northern parts of South America.


Having gone through European and American conquests, most of the natives are adherents to Roman Catholicism in
Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico

the Mesoamerican region and Protestantism or other English-speaking churches in the United States and Canada. Though their religion is Roman Catholicism, the natives in Central and South America still practice ancestral ways of life. In the United States and Canada, many are Animist, nature and Shamanistic believers, with most of their issues focusing on land with the Europeans and Americans at initial contact.

Art, Music and ArchitectureEdit



Main Article: Native American Music on Wikipedia

Tribal music is a very important part of Native American culture, many are used for religious ceramonies. Vocables, or lexically meaningless syllables, are a common part of many kinds of Native American songs. They frequently mark the beginning and end of phrases, sections or songs themselves. Often songs make frequent use of vocables and other untranslatable elements. Songs that are translatable include historical songs, like the Navajo "Shi' naasha', which celebrates the end of Navajo internment in Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1868. Tribal flag songs and national anthems are also a major part of the Native American musical corpus, and are a frequent starter to public ceremonies, especially powwows. Native American music also includes a range of courtship songs, dancing songs and popular American or Canadian tunes like "Amazing Grace, "Dixie", "Jambalaya" and "Sugar Time". Many songs celebrate harvest, planting season or other important times of year.[2] Within various Native American communities, gender plays an important role in music. Men and women play sex-specific roles in many musical activities. Instruments, songs and dances are often peculiar to one or the other sex, and many musical settings are strictly controlled by sex. In modern powwows, women play a vital role as backup singers and dancers.[7

Southwestern MusicEdit

Native Americans of the Southwestern United States use instruments such as plank resonators, foot drums, percussion stones, shaken idiophones, vessel rattles, and copper and clay bells. The applicable aerophones included bull roarers, decomposable whistles and flutes, clay resonator whistles, shell trumpets and prehistoric reed instruments. The wood flute was of particular significance. Between A.D. 600 and 1000, gourd and turtle shell rattles and possibly early forms of the foot drum appear. It is suggested that after A.D. 1000, a northward flow of appropriation, assimilation and innovation of Mexican and border-area instruments occurs. Arid American Southwest is home to two broad groupings of closely related cultures, the Pueblo and Athabaskan.  Athabaskan songs are swift and use drums or rattles, as well as an instrument unique to this area, the Apache fiddle, or "Tsii'edo'a'tl" meaning "wood that sings" in the Apache language.[14

Plains regionEdit

Extending across the American Midwest into Canada, Plains-area music is nasal, with high pitches and frequent falsettos, with a terraced descent (a step-by-step descent down an octave) in an unblended monophony. Strophes use incomplete repetition, meaning that songs are divided into two parts, the second of which is always repeated before returning to the beginning. Large double-sided skin drums are characteristic of the Plains tribes, and solo end-blown flutes (flageolet) are also common. Nettl Arapaho music includes ceremonial and secular songs, such as the ritualistic Sun Dance, performed in the summer when the various bands of the Arapaho people would come together. Arapaho traditional songs consist of two sections exhibiting terraced descent, with a range greater than an octave and scales between four and six tones. Other ceremonial songs were received in visions, or taught as part of the men's initiations into a society for his age group. Secular songs include a number of social dances, such as the triple meter round dances and songs to inspire warriors or recent exploits. There are also songs said to be taught by a guardian spirit, which should only be sung when the recipient is near death.[19

Great BasinEdit

Music of the Great Basin is simple, discreet and ornate. The majority of songs are iterative with each phrase repeated once, though occasional songs with multiple repetitions are found. This style was carried to the Great Plains by the Ghost Dance religion which originated among the Paiute, and very frequently features paired-phrase patterns and a relaxed nonpulsating vocal style. Herzog attributes the similarly simple lullabies, song-stories, and gambling songs found all over the continent historically to the music of the Great Basin which was preserved through relative cultural isolation and low-population.[20]

Pacific Northwest and ArcticEdit

Open vocals with monophony are common in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. The Inuit of Alaska, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, Nunavut and Greenland are well known for their throat-singing, an unusual method of vocalizing found only in a few cultures worldwide. Throat-singing is used as the basis for a game among the Inuit. Narrow-ranged melodies and declamatory effects are common, as in the Northwest. Repeated notes mark the ends of phrases. Box drums, which are found elsewhere, are common, as a tambourine-like hand drum.

Eastern WoodlandsEdit

The eastern woodlands area is the region between the Mississippi river and the Atlantic. The most complex styles being that of the Southeastern Creek, Yuchi, Cherokee, Choctaw, Iroquois and their language group, the simpler style being that of the Algonquian language group including Delaware and Penobscot. The Algonquian speaking Shawnee have a relatively complex style influenced by the nearby southeastern tribes. The characteristics of this entire area include short iterative phrases, reverting relationships, shouts before, during, and after singing, anhematonic pentatonic scales, simple rhythms and meter and, according to Nettl, antiphonal or responsorial techniques including "rudimentary imitative polyphony". Melodic movement tends to be gradually descending throughout the area and vocals include a moderate amount of tension and pulsation.[20]


Native American culture depends on the region. In the Great Plains region of the United States, traditional Native American dwellings are known as tipis (pronounced teeh-peeh). The tipi is a generally made of wood and animal hide. The western and southwestern tribes lived in dwellings known as wigwams, almost identical to a tipi, but with a dome-shaped roof. For the Pueblo, and other tribes near Mexico, traditional houses were built with mud-bricks known as adobe. The ancient Mesoamericans adopted this style to build their structures. Today, it is used to build small churches and chapels in Mexico and the southern United States. Ancient Mesoamerican architecture still remains a mysterious marvel with many historians today. Many of the cities in Central America and South America that contain these ruins are UNESCO sites. For the Inuit people in Canada, they build unique structures known as igloos which is an Inuit word (Inuit: ᐃᒡᓗᐃᑦ igluit). Unlike other native dwellings, igloos are made with snow and ice! Despite this, igloos are built in a special way, that traps coldness at the entrance and allows for heat in the sleeping areas.


North America (United States and Canada)Edit

The cuisine of the Native American people depend highly on agricultural products, with that having been their

livermush being fried

practice in the pre-olombian times. Much of their culianary traditions are also inherited from nomadic tradition. Frybread is a flat-dough dish that deep-fried which has become very popular and even symbolic with the natives of the United States and Canada. Game is a staple meat in Native American cuisine since hunting has always been a tradition among the tribes. Game meats include rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, opossums. Since they are nomadic, Native Americans in the United States and Canada eat every part of the animal. Chitterlings is a dish made with pig intestines.


Livermush is a dish from the tribes in North and South Carolina made of pig liver and head parts. Berries were the common fruits among the tribes of North America. Filé is a spice from the Choctaw people made from sassafras leaves. Other staple crops include squash, pumpkins, beans and tomatoes. Acorn is a crop that is not commonly consumed in mainstream cuisines. The natives make a bread known as acorn bread and acorn mush, akin to corn bread. The bean bread is made with both corn and beans and is from the Cherokee people. In Canada, there is the akutaq, which is a frozen "treat" made of game tallow, berries, seal oil and fish.


Sometimes this food is referred to as "Eskimo ice cream". The Cree people in Canada also make a bird brain stew, a stew made from game-bird brain. The Inuits eat a seafood know as "stink-fish", which is kept underground for ripeness. Salmon is also a popular fish with the Inuit people that involved months of soaking salmon in salt. The jerky, a dried form of meats that is popularily sold in stores everywhere, is a Native American snack. Smocked salmon strips is another type of dried meat popular with the Native Americans. The Navajo people use mutton to make soups and stews. Piki is a rolled-bread made with corn meal, popular with the Hopi tribe. The Apache tribe makes an alcoholic drink known as tiswin, which is made of fruits and saps, and of course, corn.

Mesoamerica and modern-day Latin AmericaEdit

Corn in a central crop to most of the Native American people. The type of corn that the natives consume is known as maize.  In par to the frybried of the American natives, there is the tortilla, which is a flatbread that the Mesoamericans are renowned for. The flatbread was actually named after a Spanish omellete due to its flat and circle-shape. Game is a staple meat in Native American cuisine since hunting has always been a tradition among the tribes. Game meats include rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, opossums. Like American cuisine, much of Mexican cuisine was shaped by indigenous traditions using European ingredients. Cacao and chocolate products are a central crop for the natives in Central America. Champurrado is a chocolate-based drink in Mexico that contains some cinnamon, anise or vanilla bean. Mole is a popular sauce in Mexico, that is made with chocolate most of the time. Although mole can be any flavor, since the word is actually Nahuatl for "sauce", chocolate mole is the most popular out of all. There is also a dish known as tamale in Mexico which entirely is of native origin. Tamales can are topped with mole when it comes to the natives. Remember that the tortilla is the mainstream ingredient of native Mexican cuisine. Other mainstream Mexican foods such us tacos, which is a folded food made of tortillas and meat/vegetable fillings are also of native origin. Like other foods, tacos can also topped not only with vegetables and chili-based sauces, but none other than mole. Chapulines are fried and dried grasshoppers that are caught in Mexico. They can be used as toppings, spices or even an entire filling for a taco. The tepache is an alcoholic drink that is flavored with pineapple in Mexico, brought over from the Tepata tribe. In El Salvador, there is a dish know as papusas from the Pipil tribe. The Colombian and Venezualean variants are known as arepas and the Mexican variant is known as gorditas. It is a corn tortilla-based dish, and unlike tacos, the fillings are completely enveloped resembling pocket-foods rather than the folded tacos. The meats can include the same ingredients used for tacos. In Ecuador, the most popular native dish is grilled guinea pig. Guinea pig has been an important staple meat for the Ecuadorian natives for roughly 4,000 years. The dish is native to the peoples of the Andes region in Ecuador, the Quechua, Aymara and the Nazca tribes. There is a roasted version known as cuy. Ceviche is a raw-fish dish that involves pieces of the raw fish being marinated in lime, orange or any type of citrus juice. The dish actually contains a European twist since citrus fruits are not native to South America. Llapingacho is an Ecuadorian fried potato-dish that is made with stuffed-cheese, tocosh is made from the pulp of the potato, also a Quechua dish. Charqui is the South American version of the jerkies from North America. In fact the term "charqui" is the Quechua word for jerky. Most of the time they are made with lamb or beef. They are made with llamas in Bolivia. Humitas are also a wrapped-corn food from South America that resemble the tamales from Mexico. Like most South American foods, the food is of Quechua origin, and term "humita" is Quechua for "tie" because of its shape. Pachamanca is a stew that native to Peru. The stew is baked with hot stones, and includes a wide array of meats and vegetables used. The llajua is the Bolivian version of the Mexican "salsa", a food dip made of tomato-base. Paçoca is a Brazilian dessert made with pulverized nuts, from the Tupi tribe in eastern Brazil. Mocotó is another Tupi dish from Brazil, that is a stew made from cow's feet. Pira caldo is a fish soup from the Guarani people of Paraguay. Game meats from the Mesoamerican region include antelope, armadillo (which is also hunted by the Pueblo people of Arizona and New Mexico), bear, badger, beaver, sheep, bisons, chipmunks, deer, geese, hogs and honey wasps. Alcohol drinks have been very vital to the cuisine of the Native American people. In Peru, "chicas" is a term used to refer to fermented alcohol drinks. Chica morada is an alcoholic drink made from purple corn, fruits as well as hints of spices. Colada morade is is a spicy alcoholic drink served with special bread during the Day of the Dead celebration in Mesoamerica.

Notable Native Americans or People of Indigenous DescentEdit

Moctezuma I

Moctezuma I
The fifth Aztec emperor and king of Tenochtitlan who became a dominating force in the Aztec Triple Alliance


The sixth Aztec emperor

Moctezuma II

Moctezuma II
Moctezuma I's son who tried to defeat Spanish forces, but failed to - the ninth and last Aztec emperor


Known as "Squanto", a Patuxet leader helped English colonists in Plymoth find food and hunt for it


A Shawnee leader who fought William Henry Harrison for the Indiana Territory, was defeated and killed in battle


The emperor of the Incan Empire during contact with the Spanish conquerers


A woman from the Lemhi-Shoshone tribe who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expeditions to the west


Lady Rebecca
A Powhatan princess renowned for saving war captives including James Smith, moved to England and was renamed "Lady Rebecca"

Joseph Brant

Joseph Brant
A military leader from the Mohawk tribe during the American Revolutionary War

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull
A Sioux leader who defeated who led Sioux and other natives to battle against white settlement

Crazy Horse

Craxy Horse
A comrade of Sitting Bull's, also a Sioux leader, defeated American forces at the Battle of Little Bighorn

Touch the Clouds

Touch the Clouds
 A prominent chief of the Sioux tribe


A Kiowa leader who fought the U.S forces during the Battles of Adobe Walls

Chief Joseph

Nez Perce
The leader of the Nez Perce tribe during contact with white American settlers


The leader of the Ottowa tribe who defended the Great Lakes regions from the British during the American Revolutionary War

Emiliano Zatapa

A leading revolutionary in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 that battled against dictorial politicians such as Porfirio Díaz and Victoriano Huerto

Benito Juárez

A native Zapotec lawyer from Oaxaca who overthrew the Second Mexican Empire and monarchy in Mexico, restoring the republic, and became the first indigenous president of Mexico

Carlos Montezuma

Carlos Montezuma
An Apache member from Arizona who created the Society of American Indians in 1911

Evo Morales

Evo Morales
The current president of Bolivia, of Aymara origin

Vanessa Hudgens

Vaness Hudgens
An American singer and actress, best known for her time with Disney and her performances in the trilogy High School Musical, born to a father of Native American and European descent and a Chinese-Filipino mother from Manila

Ely Parker

Ely Parker
A Brigadere General for the Union forces during the American Civil War from the Seneca tribe, finalized the surrender draft upon the south's defeat

Stand Watie

Stand Watie
A Brigadere General for the Confederate forces during the American Civil War from the Cherokee tribe

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe
An American football player who was of mixed Fox, Potawatami and Sac origin as well as French origin

Shannon Elizabeth

484px-Shannon Elizabeth 2012
An American actress and retired fashion model born to a mother of Cherokee and European origin and a father of Lebanese and Syrian descent

Will Rogers

Will Rogers
A prominent American actor, performer, humorist and social commentator from the Cherokee nation

Francisco Luna Kan

Luna Kan
A Mexican politican of Mayan ancestry who served as governer of the state of Yucatán

Joel Huiqui


A Mexican football player of native Mayo descent who currently plays for Liga MX club Morelia

Norma Howard

Norma Howard
An American artist from Oklahoma of the Choctaw tribe


Actual name, José María Bonifacio Leiva Perez, his native is Yoeme or Yaqui Language for "the one who does not stop to drink water" was a prominent Yaqui military leader who lived in the Mexican state of Sonora from 1835 to 1887.


  6. DANE 2005 National Census
  18. rotten link
  20. Nettl, 1956, p.114-115