Native Americans in the United States – A Look at the Past and Present

Composed of numerous ethnic groups and tribes, the Native Americans of the United States are indigenous people who are also often referred to as American Indians or Aboriginals. As of 2010, there are around three million Native Americans registered in the US.

Languages

It is believed that there were at least one thousand Native American languages used in the Americas before the Europeans arrived. But, because of the European influence, many of these suffered and have totally disappeared. Nowadays, there are only a few Native American languages that survive and are spoken in the United States, such as Navajo, Cree, Ojibwa, Cherokee, Dakota, Apache, Blackfoot, and Choctaw.

Art

The Native Americans of the past used beads and knots to make jewelry. They used clay to create cooking pots, storage containers, toys, sculptures, masks, and other ceramics. They also produced stone tools, musical instruments, and totem poles with rock art, pictograms, and petroglyph.

Shelter

They are also known for their unique houses. The Wigwam, for instance, was a type of house built by the Algonquin Native American tribe of the Northeast, who used barks and branches tied together to form a dome. Another example is the teepee, which was built by the nomads of the Great Plains, who used long poles tied together to make an inverse cone shape, wrapped in buffalo hide.

SOMMER 1042V002Today, these structures have been replaced by regular, modern houses, with electricity, plumbing, rooms, and a garage that may have a garage door opener recommended by Garage Automatics. These big, remarkable developments have undoubtedly made their lives better as compared to the bare amenities and functionalities their traditional homes had.

Tribes

Native American tribes are scattered all over the different states of the US. Some of them are federally-recognized, and some are not. As of 2011, there are a total of 565 federally-recognized bands in the US. To gain this recognition, a tribe has to undergo a long and stringent legal process that involves meeting the strict guidelines laid out and be approved by the government. Once granted, a tribe gains access to various benefits, including assistance in education, real estate, agriculture, health, and other services.

Some federally-recognized tribes that currently avail of benefits from the Bureau of Indian Affairs are the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, California, Cayuga Nation of New York, Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of the Duckwater Reservation in Nevada, Jena Band of Choctaw Indians in Louisiana, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut, Navajo Nation of Arizona, New Mexico, & Utah, Penebscot Tribe of Maine, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota.