1. Choosing Indigenous Identity 2. Cultivating Important Crops 3. Pioneers of Tool Usage 4. Indigenous Writing and Advocacy 5. Building Ancient Cities 6. Living in Towns and Villages 7. Harnessing Indigenous Technology 8. Mastering Weapons in Battle 9. Shaping the Environment with Fire 10. Preserving Native Languages

1 Indigenous American

Before European settlers came to the Americas, Native Americans lived all over the continent. They passed down stories about how the world was made.

Indigenous people should be able to choose how they identify themselves. They may prefer not to use a term that lumps hundreds of tribes together, which doesn’t honor their unique and complex identities.

1. They were the first humans to live in the Americas

Known as indigenous americans, indigenous peoples, Amerindians, or American Indians, they lived throughout the Western Hemisphere. Their populations declined after the arrival of Europeans due to epidemic disease, military conquest, and enslavement.

What are the best terms to use when discussing these cultures? And how do you avoid offending anyone? Read on to find out. Start your free trial now. Your support ensures a bright future for independent journalism.

2. They cultivated many of the world’s most important crops

Some Southwestern tribes grew corn, beans and squash in intercropping complexes known as the Three Sisters. These crops provided mutual support and enhanced nutrition.

Hamalainen shows how these and other tribal nations ebbed and flowed not in isolation but in constant tension. Even today, a lack of wealth keeps Native Americans from attaining prosperity at the same rate as other groups.

3. They were the first to use tools

A variety of techniques can transform a stone with sharp edges into a tool: knives, scrapers, axes, clubs, spear points, drills, and so on. These tools were used for hunting and gathering.

When possible, use a specific tribe name rather than the broad umbrella term “Native American.” This avoids lumping together hundreds of distinct and culturally diverse tribes into one mass group.

4. They were the first to write

Before colonization, Indigenous people orally transmitted literature. A Cherokee leader named Sequoyah spent 12 years developing a writing system for his tribe.

His 86-character syllabary made it easy for the Cherokee to learn to read and write. In the nineteenth century, Native American authors published many autobiographies that protested non-Indians’ mistreatment of Indians. These writers were conscious of speaking not just for themselves, but also for their communities and races.

5. They were the first to build cities

The term Native American is used for people who identify as Indigenous, but many prefer to be identified by their clan or tribe. It’s important to ask people how they’d like to be referred to, so as not to offend them.

Some Indigenous people developed complex, agriculturally-based societies and lived in permanent villages called pueblos. Others were more nomadic and survived by hunting and gathering.

6. They were the first to live in towns

In the Southwestern culture area, sedentary farmers grew corn, beans and squash, and lived in multistory homes called pueblos. Others were hunter-gatherers like the Navajo, whose lifestyle revolved around following animal herds.

November is National Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate their history and traditions. Whether they live on reservations or in the city, indigenous people have much to teach us about living well.

7. They were the first to use technology

While terms such as “Native American” do acknowledge that tribes occupied the land before anyone else, they lump hundreds of unique and diverse tribes into one mass group. Using specific tribal names honors their cultures and identities.

Some tribal practices are too sacred to share online at risk of cultural appropriation. But others, such as telemedicine, offer the potential to bring services directly to remote reservations.

8. They were the first to make weapons

Indigenous people used spears, bows and arrows, atlatls, clubs, and shields in battle. They also threw bolas, which were weights on the end of strings connected to each other, to capture animals by entangling them.

It is important to understand that tribes are sovereign entities with the right to self-determination on their land. They deserve respect for their binding agreements with the United States government.

9. They were the first to use fire

The authors of this book describe how Indians used fire to shape their environment. They also explain how TEK about prescribed burning can help us achieve balance and land management goals.

For example, a basket frame made from hazel requires fire to grow straight stems that can be used for the frame. Fortunately, Indigenous tribes are rekindling traditional practices. They use fire to create open prairies and meadows that are great grazing and hunting areas.

10. They were the first to use language

Although Native American languages are diverse, many are in danger of extinction. Language preservation programs aim to keep them alive.

It is important to avoid offending Indigenous people by using respectful terms. Try to find out which term they prefer.

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