Indians of North America tribes. List, photo, how their ancestors live now

Indians with which the inhabitants of Europe first met at the end of the XV century., Lived on the territory of North America in isolation for thousands of years. However, with the opening of this continent, local tribes for some 300 years were on the threshold of disappearance under the onslaught of European civilization.

Only due to their desperate resistance throughout this time, some tribes were able to preserve their culture, life and not to buy in history.

The tribes of the Precucumbian era

Indians of North America, whose tribes to the XV century. They settled the entire continent, first met the Europeans at the end of the XVI century. By that time, there were about 400 different peoples, whose life proceeded in traditional tribal relations for many thousands of years.

The main historical events

For the first time, people fell into North America at the time when the land message was between Chukotka and Alaska. Presumably, it was a group of 250 people. The further settlement of North America had a "drip" character, passing into several waves.

The first of them happened about 20 thousand years ago, when the territories of modern Mexico, California and Texas were settled. The second wave rolled after another 10 thousand years and touched upon the territory of the United States and Canada. The third wave took place only 3-5 thousand years ago and was Eskimo-Aleutskaya.

Territory and cities

Before the coming of Europeans in North America, there were practically no cities. The urbanized society could only boast of Aztecs, Maya and Sapoteki, but they lived in Central America and already had their own states. The great plains and prairies were mastered by nomadic tribes, and the settled Indians lived in the forests in the territory of the current Canada and the United States.

Perhaps the only famous city to the north of the Colorado River was the settlement of Kahokia, who belonged to Missisypan culture. He was located on the territory of Illinois and represents 109 Kurgans who were confused. The city reached his heyday with X to XII centuries. AD, occupying an area of ​​16 sq. Km, surpassing many European capitals of that time.


The agglomeration of the city at the time was 40 thousand years., Which indicates a high level of development of society. It is believed that Cahokia civilization died due to the permanent floods that took place on the river in the middle of the XIV century.


The settlement of North America took place through Chukotka and Alaska, which proves the relatives of the Indians and representatives of the Mongoloid race. They had black straight hair, the pigmentation of the eyes had a dark shade, and the hair was practically absent on the body. Anthropologists divide the North Americans into two local subgroups - the Pacific and Atlantic.

Features of the mentality

By the time of Europeans landed on the territory of North America, Aborigines have proven themselves as experienced in hand-to-hand combat and good intelligence officers. They were very superstitious and religion played great importance in their lives. Without communicating with spirits, no important event was held in the life of the tribe.

the Indians were distinguished by a few, endurance and resistance.

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The features of culture

almost every tribe of North America had its own language or a dialect, characterized by pronunciation or structure. Writing was known not to all the tribes and was exclusively pictographic. Religious beliefs of residents of the North American continent were represented by various cults - animals, spirits, ancestors.

The custodians of faith and tradition were shamans and the oldest people of the tribe.

The daily classes of men were hunting and gathering, representatives of the settled tribes were engaged in agriculture. Women were engaged in the dressing of the skins, cooking, the education of children and the arrangement of life. The Indians did not know the wheel, although ceramics technology was mastered long before the arrival of Europeans.

Manual was created not only dishes, but also figurines, masks, ritual items. The Iroquois, Hopi and Muskov dominated the maternal genus, and the tribes of the North-West and the South-West - Fathersky.

Indians from Columbus to the present day

The Indians of North America, whose tribes began to experience the oppression of Europeans, starting from the end of the 16th century, fought wars with the colonialists for three hundred years, defending their independence by any means.

Historical facts:

  1. The most numerous tribe by the end of the twentieth century. Cherokee remained - about 300 thousand people.

    North American Indians. The Cherokee tribes were the most numerous.

  2. According to US law, an Indian is a person who can prove that at least one of his ancestors is a native American.
  3. The Comanche tribe had a tradition when, after a military victory, they performed ritual dances in the clothes of the warriors they defeated.
  4. About 8 thousand Indians fought on the fronts of the First World War.
  5. The Navajo language was used by the US Army in World War II to transmit encrypted messages, as considered practically inaccessible for translation.
  6. Iroquois women did not eat turtle meat, lest their children be born clumsy and slow.
  7. The paratroopers of the US Army have a cry: "Geronimo!". In fact, this is the name of one of the Apache leaders who resisted US troops for more than 20 years.

Territorial changes

The Indians, under constant pressure from the Europeans, were forced to either fight and die or migrate further inland. Territorial changes between Europeans and Native American tribes of North America are reflected in the table below. For ease of understanding, the occupied lands will be represented by the states of the United States and Canada.

Date Territories occupied by Europeans
Britain France Spain Russia USA
1550-1600Virginia Coast (failed)NewfoundlandSouth Florida, Mexico
1601-1650Virginia, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode IslandQuebecTexas, California
1651-1700Ontario, Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, LouisianaArizona
1701-1750Manitoba, Saskatchewan,US independence from Britain (13 eastern colonies))
1751-1775Florida, all French colonies in Se loyal to America, Utah, Wyoming, ColoradoLoss of all colonies in North AmericaAleutian Islands,
1776-1800Arizona, Loss of all colonies in what is now USALoss of ArizonaAlaskaUtah, Wyoming, Colorado
1801-1850Loss of all coloniesCalifornia (Fort Ross)Incorporation of Texas
1851-1880Completion colonization of CanadaSale of all colonies to the USAAlaska, formation of the USA in the current borders
By 1880, 99% of the Indian tribes were placed on reservations, and their lands are inhabited. Only a few tribes still maintain their independence, living in northern Canada. They occasionally come into contact with local residents and hide from the police, leading the way of life of their ancestors.

The Indians did not always agree to move to new lands without a fight, choosing the path of war and protecting their lands. The most successful was the creation of the Iroquois League, which by 1570 united the seven strongest tribes living in the Great Lakes region.

The Europeans managed to destroy the League only after more than 150 years. History has preserved the names of the leaders of various tribes who showed the most stubborn resistance to Europeans during the colonization of North America.

For example:

  • Sitting Bull (Lakota);
  • Geronimo (Apache);
  • Chief Joseph (Nez Perce);
  • Metacomment (wampanoag);
  • Black Hawk (sauks);
  • Tecumseh.

As the appearance

changed with the arrival of Europeans, the appearance of its indigenous people began to gradually undergo changes. With colonializers in America, the horses came again, which here were extinct a few thousand years before. The prairie horse has become a permanent satellite of Indians received its religious symbols.

The weapons of the Indians gradually replaced more modern - many instead of the onions and copies preferred Winchester or Colta. Indians continued the tradition to decorate their weapons with a special ritual symbolism. In the XIX century The colonizers were allocated five civilized tribes (Chicaso, Cherokee, Chocto, Crys and Seminols), which most strongly perceived European culture and life.

Gradually, even the traditional clothing of the Indians began to replace the European, and the coloring of the body into ritual colors was less popular. By the beginning of the twentieth century Many of them lived in cities forced to look for work and housing, because life in reservations was difficult.

Traditions, laws and rituals

Indians nicknamed "redhead" because of their coloring, not the color of the skin. Coloring for Indians - element of tradition and cult. She not only gave warrior a special power, but also defended him from evil spirits. Each people had their own definite rules for applying to the body. For example, this was predominantly wavy horizontal lines, and the Indians marked the places of past wounds in red.

The black color in most tribes was considered a symbol of victory over the enemy. It was used as Siou, so Chayenna, Powney and Arapaho. They painted their body into black as a sign of the war, but the team representatives and the ambulance covered the body of ritual paint before battles.

Often, men covered their body with tattoos that served overalls or pointing to tribal affiliation.

Each tribe had his own patron animal. Its images were usually applied to clothes, dwelling or weapon, and during ritual dances, the shamans put on costumes, symbolizing the spirit of the animal. One of the most important events in the life of the farmers was the holiday of corn. For example, the Iroquois feast passed several days in a row.


In the tribe, they not only conducted rituals that increase yields, but also danced, smoked ceremonial tobacco, sang songs and played various games. A similar holiday was also in the Indians of the Great Plains. He was called the holiday of the sun.

In the north-west of America, the leaders of the tribes were made to convert personal belongings accumulated over a long time. They did it as a manifestation of their strength, wealth and generosity.

Modern nations

Indians of North America, whose tribes are now living in reservations, account for about 0.5% of the population of the Earth, which is about 13.5 million people.

566 tribes were officially registered in the US, the largest of which are:

  • Cherokee (~ 310 thousand);
  • Navajo (~ 280 thousand);
  • Iroquois (~ 125 thousand people.);
  • SiU (~ 115 thousand years);
  • Apache (~ 110 thousand people.).

Reservations and settlements

At the moment, about 300 Indian reservations are located in the United States and 140 in Canada. The largest of them is considered "National Navocho" (about 65 sq. Km), however, most of the reservations are much less. There are self-government in tribes, but there are federal laws there.

As a rule, the land on which the reservation is located is little suitable for agriculture, which is one of the causes of the high level of unemployment and child mortality. In search of earnings, youth leaves the allocated territories and leaves in the city and villages. The native language is gradually forgotten, yielding his place to English. Only about 20% of the Indians perfectly know the language of their ancestors.

There are no electricity and water supply in many houses of reservations, there is no education system. Residents of reservations are constantly being shown with the US government, demanding compensation for hundreds of the years of the genocide of their ancestors, and quite often win courts. Also, they have an exceptional right to land ownership.

Part of the reservations set the collective use of the tribe, other moved to private property. In a number of states on the reservation, the gambling business is allowed, the dividends from which the tribe goes. 75% of those living in Indian reservations are not really Indians. Only 28% of the Indians today live in the reservation.

What looks

to the beginning of the XXI century. The external appearance of the Indians is practically no different from the appearance of the average American. National clothing they wear only on special cases - for holidays, celebrations or when tourists come to the reservation.

Nevertheless, the feathers of birds, animal teeth, leather products, or tattoos, are added as accessories to modern clothes. that their owner is a northern in North America.

Culture and traditions

The indigenous population of America today is only 1% of the total population. Many traditions and customs were lost during the time of wars and Indian genocide. Today's Indians carefully keep what they managed to preserve and not forget their ancestors, transmitting knowledge to future generations.

So far, totems are installed in tribes, as hundreds of years ago, a tobacco smoke from special tubes, and in many cities Pau-Wow festival, on which the Indians spend rites, dance and sing songs. Only indigenous Indian can become his participant.

As an exception to conserve traditions, the US government allowed the Indians to hunt for protected animals - bison and white eagles. Skins and feathers Indians can use at their discretion, but they are not eligible to sell or transmit to other peoples.

Indians use the national outfit, the life and traditions of the tribe for marketing and earnings at the expense of coming tourists. Despite the harsh conditions, they continue to preserve their originality, while maintaining the genetic affiliation of the indigenous population of North America.

Registration of Articles: Lozinsky Oleg

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