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HomeworkSpot > Native American Heritage

Native American Heritage

The month of November celebrates and honors the history of Native Americans.

"American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are a special part of the tapestry of our Nation's history," President Clinton said in a National American Indian Heritage Month proclamation on November 9. "This month, we celebrate the culture and contributions of the first Americans. We also remember with sorrow the suffering they endured because of past Federal actions and policies that had long-term and often devastating consequences for Native Americans and their culture."

America's original inhabitants now number approximately 2.4 million, according to the US Census Bureau. America's total population is approximately 276 million. The 1990 Census estimate groups together American Indians, Eskimos and Aleuts. The 2000 Census attempted to count each group separately. These totals are still being computed.

The 1990 Census count says the largest Indian tribes in America are:

  • Cherokee - 369,035
  • Navajo - 225,298
  • Sioux 1 - 107,321
  • Chippewa - 105,988
  • Choctaw - 86,231
  • Pueblo 2 - 55,330
  • Apache - 53,300
  • Iroquois 3 - 52,557
  • Lumbee 4 - 50,888




As the 2000 Census data is computed, it will be added to the site's Native American information page.

The Smithsonian Institute has developed a detailed bibliography on the lives of the North American Indians. The site explains how many misconceptions about Indians began. The author, a Native American, says each tribe has a unique identity. The image of a warrior dressed in feathers is accurate for only a few. The Hopi Indians for example, base their lives on humility, cooperation and respect. The Cherokees joined forces with white settlers to overpower enemy tribes. Programs like the American Indian Studies Program at California State University in Long Beach study the histories of individual tribes. Some stories date back to the 1600s.

Many Indians now reside on reservations. In the 19th Century, most tribes gave land to settlers from the New World, but reserved areas for themselves. As the power of the settlers grew, the Indian reservations began shrinking. In 1934, Indians possessed only 25 percent of their original reservation land.

The beauty of Native American art has captivated many collectors. The Native American Artists' Homepage offers stunning examples.

Earning an income on reservations has been a challenge in many cases. Native American art, jewelry and music are an important source of revenue. Casinos have also proven lucrative. Foxwoods High Stakes Bingo and Casino in Ledyard, Conn. is one of the most profitable casinos in the Western Hemisphere, according to the University of California at Berkeley. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe runs it.

General Sites

For more information on American Indian Heritage Month or the history of Native Americans, explore the following sites:



   --- J. Hale

 
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