Portal:Indigenous peoples of North America/Selected article

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The Mandan are a Native American people that historically lived along the banks of the Missouri River and two of its tributaries—the Heart and Knife Rivers—in present-day North and South Dakota. Speakers of Mandan, a Siouan language, the people developed a settled culture in contrast to that of more nomadic tribes in the Great Plains region. They established permanent villages featuring large, round, earthen lodges some 40 feet in diameter, surrounding a central plaza. While the bison was key to the daily life of the Mandan, it was supplemented by agriculture and trade.

Archaeological research suggests the Mandan people migrated from the Ohio River valley to the banks of the upper Missouri River. The first record of encounter there by Europeans was in 1738. Their friendliness and willingness to trade brought many traders and fur trappers to their villages over the next century. The Mandans also welcomed Lewis and Clark on their journey to the Pacific Ocean in the winter of 1804–05. They allowed the party to build Fort Mandan, near present-day Washburn, North Dakota.


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The Muscogee (or Muskogee), also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people traditionally from the southeastern United States. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. Modern Muscogees live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Their language, Mvskoke, is a member of the Muscogee branch of the Muscogean language family.

They were descendants of the Mississippian culture peoples, who built earthwork mounds at their regional chiefdoms located throughout the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. The historian Walter Williams and others believe the early Spanish explorers encountered ancestors of the Muscogee when they visited Mississippian-culture chiefdoms in the Southeast in the mid-16th century.


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The Kiowa /ˈk.ɵwə/ are a nation of American Indians who migrated from the Northern Plains around the 18th century to their present location in Southwestern Oklahoma. They are a federally recognized tribe, the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, with over 12,500 members. Mr. Ronald Dawes Twohatchet was elected and currently serves as the Kiowa Tribal Chairman. The Kiowa tribal headquarters is located at Carnegie, Oklahoma.

At the time of European contact "Kiowa" had no meaning in the Kiowa language and today they call themselves "Kaui-gu" that identifies them as a group. Ancient names were "Kwu-da" and "Tep-da", relating to the myth pulling or coming out of a hollow log until a pregnant woman got stuck. Later they called themselves "Kom-pa-bianta" for people with large tipi flaps before they met Southern Plains tribes or before white man contact.


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The Arapaho (in French: Arapahos, Gens de Vache) are a tribe of Native Americans historically living on the eastern plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Sioux. Arapaho is an Algonquian language closely related to Gros Ventre, whose people are seen as an early offshoot of the Arapaho. Blackfoot and Cheyenne are the other Algonquian-speakers on the Plains, but their languages are quite different from Arapaho. By the 1850s, Arapaho bands had coalesced into two tribes: the Northern Arapaho and Southern Arapaho.

Since 1878 the Northern Arapaho Nation has lived with the Eastern Shoshone on the Wind River Reservation. This is the seventh-largest reservation in the United States. The Southern Arapaho Tribe live with the Southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma. Together their members are enrolled as a federally recognized tribe, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.


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The Ghost Dance (also called the Ghost Dance of 1890) was a religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. The traditional ritual used in the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, has been used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times. In accordance with the prophet Jack Wilson (Wovoka)'s teachings, it was first practiced for the Ghost Dance among the Nevada Paiute in 1889. The practice swept throughout much of the American West, quickly reaching areas of California and Oklahoma. As the Ghost Dance spread from its original source, Native American tribes synthesized selective aspects of the ritual with their own beliefs. This process often created change in both the society that integrated it, and in the ritual itself.


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The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.

Aztec (Aztecatl) is the Nahuatl word for "people from Aztlan", a mythological place for the Nahuatl-speaking culture of the time, and later adopted as the word to define the Mexica people. Often the term "Aztec" refers exclusively to the Mexica people of Tenochtitlan (now the location of Mexico City), situated on an island in Lake Texcoco, who referred to themselves as Mexica Tenochca or Colhua-Mexica.


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The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand and, by the Native Americans involved, the Battle of the Greasy Grass, was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. It occurred on June 25 and June 26, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, near what is now Crow Agency, Montana.

The battle was the most famous action of the Great Sioux War of 1876–77 (also known as the Black Hills War). It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Gall, inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. Seventh Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by George Armstrong Custer, suffered a severe defeat. Five of the Seventh's companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. Total U.S. deaths were 268, including scouts, and 55 were wounded.


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The Republic of Lakotah or Lakotah is a proposed country in North America to serve as a homeland for the Lakota.

Its boundaries would be surrounded by the borders of the United States, covering thousands of square miles in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. The proposed borders are those of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie between the United States government and the Lakota.

A group of Native Americans called the Lakota Freedom Delegation traveled to Washington, D.C., on 17 December 2007 and delivered a statement asserting the independence of the Lakota from the United States. The group argues that the recent declaration of independence is not a secession from the USA, but rather a reassertion of sovereignty. Their leader is Russell Means, one of the prominent members of the American Indian Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s.


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The National Museum of the American Indian is a museum operated under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution that is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the native Americans of the Western Hemisphere. It has three facilities: the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which opened on September 21, 2004, on Fourth Street and Independence Avenue, Southwest; the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent museum in New York City; and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Maryland.


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The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a Native American activist organization in the United States. In October 1973 the American Indian Movement gathered its forces from across the country onto the Trail of Broken Treaties, championing Indian unity. The national AIM agenda focused on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty. Thousands of volunteers emerged from reservations and cities alike, responding to the call within themselves that the time had come to take a stand against centuries of mismanaged U.S. government trust. Students in higher education, Indians in the ministry, Indians living in poverty and a smattering of bureaucrats and sympathetic public officials responded. AIM recruitment offices came to life and new chapters opened so fast the speed of the responses overtook the new AIM national office’s ability to record the list.


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The Trail of Tears was the relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the present-day United States. It has been described as an act of genocide. The removal included many members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, and Choctaw nations among others in the United States, from their homelands to Indian Territory (eastern sections of the present-day state of Oklahoma). The phrase originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831. Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their destinations, and many died, including 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee.


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The Occupation of Alcatraz was an occupation of Alcatraz Island by the group Indians of All Tribes (IAT). The Alcatraz Occupation lasted for nineteen months, from November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, and was forcibly ended by the U.S. government.

According to the IAT, the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Sioux returned all retired, abandoned or out-of-use federal land to the Native people from whom it was acquired. Since Alcatraz penitentiary had been closed on March 21, 1963, and the island had been declared surplus federal property in 1964, a number of Red Power activists felt the island qualified for a reclamation.

On March 8, 1964, a small group of Sioux demonstrated by occupying the island for four hours. The entire party consisted of about 40 people, including photographers, reporters, and the lawyer (Elliot Leighton) representing those claiming land stakes.


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Mexico, in the second article of its Constitution, is defined as a "pluricultural" nation in recognition of the diverse ethnic groups that constitute it, and in which the indigenous peoples are the original foundation. According to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas or CDI in Spanish) and the INEGI (official census institute), there are 10.1 million indigenous people in Mexico, of many different ethnic groups, which constitute 9.8% of the population in the country.

The Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Languages recognizes 62 indigenous languages as "national languages" which have the same validity as Spanish in all territories in which they are spoken.


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Community of igloos. (Illustration from Charles Francis Hall's Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux, 1865)

An igloo (Inuit language: iglu, Inuktitut syllabics: ᐃᒡᓗ, "house", plural: iglooit or igluit) or snowhouse is a type of shelter built out of snow, originally built by the Inuit. Iglu is the Inuit word for a house or home built out of any material, and is not restricted exclusively to snowhouses, but includes traditional tents, sod houses, homes constructed of driftwood and modern buildings. Outside Inuit society, however, "igloo" refers exclusively to shelters constructed out of blocks of compacted snow, generally in the form of a dome.


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