North American Indians 10 Facts
Want to know a bit more about the native North American people? Yes – then here are ten facts to get you started.
North America Indian tribes
- There are currently 1204 federally recognized tribes living within the North American continent. Of these, 574 tribes are native to the United States, including Alaska, and 634 native to Canada.
- Of the 574 tribes recognised in the United States, 231 of these tribes live in Alaska. The total number of native Indians living in Alaska in 2010 was 104,872, representing 14.8% of the state population.
- At the United States’ last census of native American Indians in 2010, the population was recorded as 5,220,579. This represented only 1.6% of the country’s overall population.
- At Canada’s last Native Indian census in 2016, indigenous peoples in Canada totalled 1,673,785 people, constituting 4.9% of the national population.
- Contrary to popular belief that all American Indian tribes lived a nomadic existence, many actually lived in large urban centres. One of the largest known settlements, Cahokia in modern-day Illinois, spread over some 5 square miles. Its population is thought to have peaked at the start of the 12th century at an estimated 20,000. In comparison, the population of London was around 15,000 at that time.
- The Chaco Canyon settlement in New Mexico flourished between the mid-9th and mid-13th centuries. According to experts, it consisted of some 150 stone buildings, which some are said to have been 5 or 6 stories high. The settlement’s biggest and most important building is thought to have had some 600 rooms.
- The American-Indian Wars, as they have become known, that took place between the American Native Indians and European settlers, lasted for almost 400 years. The conflicts occurred, mostly over who owned certain lands, and access rights across the country. The warfare started in 1540 with the Tiguex War, which took place in present-day New Mexico. The Indian struggle did not officially end until 1924, on the conclusion of the Apache Wars in the Renegade Period, which took place in the south-west United States.
- The Mexican-Indian Wars which involved small groups of Apache insurgents in Northern Mexico did not end until 1933.
- Experts think that the peak population of native North American Indians occurred just before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Some historians put the population as high 112 million, while others, put it as low as 8 million. However, there is a general consensus that numbers had declined to less than 6 million by 1650.
- During World War Two, the American Marine Corps selected 29 of the Navajo people to work as ‘Code Talkers’. They created a complex code based on the unwritten Navajo language. The system enabled the Code Talkers to translate encrypted text in a fraction of the time taken by code-breaking machines of the time. The Code Talkers participated in every major US marine operation in the Pacific, giving the allies a significant advantage.
We plan to cover more about the great tribes of North America & Canada in the near future so why not join our growing community so we can let you know when the next one is published.