Native American Nations - Introduction: 1,000s of Groups in the Americas and Worldwide
Native North Americans Live in thousands of Tribes and Groups.
Thank you,niawen (in a Mohawk language), for asking this question, jimmythejock.
The answer will comprise several Hubs and I hope that you find the series informative and enjoyable. Recognizing Indigenous Groups at the Federal, State, and emerging levels is an ongoing process. Since preparations for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the number of groups in British Columbia alone jumped from some 200 to over 600 separate entities.
The series is a large undertaking, based in part on my 40 years of study of Indigenous Peoples around the world. Today's anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, the related National Geographic - Smithsonian Institution - IBM Human Genome Project, and our innumerable tribal leaders have not yet completed a total description of all groups and habitats. New information emerges monthly.
Ties between New World and Old World peoples are increasing in numbers and evidence that the First Nations/Native Americans of North America traveled even into Iceland is certain. Evidence is discussed throughout the last Hubs in the series. Thanks for reading.
Ties between New World and Old World peoples are increasing in numbers.
(...Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio and other groups)
" Oh Great Spirit, Whose Voice I Hear in the wind, Whose breath gives life to the world, hear me. I come to you as one of your many children, I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom. May I walk in beauty, make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset, make my hands respect the things that you have made, and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may know the things that you have taught your children, the lessons that you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Make me strong...not to be superior to my brothers but to be able to fight my greatest enemy.. myself. Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes so that when life fades as the faded sunset, my spirit will come to you without shame. "
How Many Nations?
How many blades of grass?
We have 1,000+ Native American Nations within the United States alone.
Native Americans in North America are members of at least
- 579 federally recognized Native American Nations,
- 17 nations that are recognized only in several US States, and
- Several nations (or tribes) not yet recognized by any American government other than their own community; for example,
- 228 separate Native American entities in Alaska alone that are not recognized by the US federal government.
Considering all of this, we have at least 807 Native American Nations that are known in the 50 United States, with many more in Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
It has been popular and incorrect to consider "North American Indians" a group of 500 nations. The nearly 1,000+ separate tribes and smaller communities consider themselves separate entities.
Many of these groups have applied for US federal recognition successfully and many more may be accepted. Some researchers, even of Native American blood, group some nations together, but these nations do not group themselves together. They define their own being.
Complicating the documentation process is the fact that approximately 50% of Native Americans do not live on reservations. There are many other people that do not know that they have Native American heritage! Add to this a sizeable group of people that believe that they are Native American, but are actually not, and we have a large documentation and tracking task.
Recent publications have not addressed all of these 1,000 Native American Nations. These particular and recent books include:
1) 200 tribes discussed:
- Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes by Carl Waldman. New Your: Fact on File 
3) 500 tribes discussed:
- 500 Nations: An Illustrated History of North American Indians by Alvin M. Jr Josephy. New York: Gramercy 
2) 400 tribes discussed
- The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes by Sahron Malinowski. Detroit; Gale 
Meanwhile, The Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian and large scientific DNA/RNA tracking projects are discovering other tribes or nations and introducing them to the world.
Methods for Documenting Native American Nations
How can we know about the locations of Native Americans? There are at least four ways:
- Information from the oral traditions of the Native Peoples..
- Information from archaeological finds.
- Evidence from molecular genetics.
- Evidence in linguistics.
An early example from the tracing of linguistics among Sioux-related tribes follows below. The map following that, though first shown in 1999, is outdated.
Example: Location of just Sioux-related Languages/Tribes on First Contact
Native American Entities in Alaska AloneClick thumbnail to view full-size
Related MapsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Native American Cultures and Religions
Much is to be learned about Native Americans from archaeological finds and anthropological research and one segment of this is the religious element of life among indigenous peoples. The following is a controversial book that has provided much discussion about tribes and religions.
God Is Red: A Native View of Religion, 30th Anniversary Edition; Vine Deloria, Jr.
Review of "God Is Red"
- God is Red
Vine Delores, Jr. compares Native American and First Nations with Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Dreams in Related Societies
An Inuit Woman
Hubs in this Series:
- Canada - by regions; particularly Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories.
- Innuit Words for Snow - Field research and actual word counts confirm 44 different words.
- "Totem Poles" traced from the Pacific Northwest to Japan, Korea, Russia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. Totem Poles and Carvers of the Pacific Northwest and histories before 1700.
- The United States - by regions
- Central America
- The Caribbean and West Indies
- South America
- Sub-Polar Peoples Around the World
- Migration around the Polar Circle - Northern Europe Counterclockwise to Iceland
- Conflict and Differences between Mohawk Groups in Canada and USA
- Indigenous North Americans in Western US Literature
- Celebrations, Holidays, and Moon Festivals
- Native Herbology in Ohio
- The Culture of Dreams
The Smithsonian Institution and Related Native American Sites
- National Museum of the American Indian
The Smithsonian Institution.
- The Human Genome Project - Native Americans
Declaration of Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere Regarding the Human Genome Diversity Project, in part: "We are the original peoples of the Western hemisphere of the continents of North, Central and South America. Our principles are base
© 2007 Patty Inglish MS