Talk:Native Americans in the United States

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  • several POV sections, including European
  • In "Society", 3 groups are mentioned, Iroquois, Navajo and Pueblo. Are these 3 groups representative of "Native Americans"? And the various descriptions of arts and crafts, tribal stories, and relationships with the spirit world is random and hardly seems to describe "society", then or now.
  • "Religion", ignores the past and only talks about the "most widespread religion at the present time".
  • "Gender roles" hardly says anything--"social and clan relationships were matrilinear and matriarchal" with no elaboration--and ends after all of two sentences with: "The cradle board was used by mothers to carry their baby whilst working or traveling"?
  • "Economy" is a mash-up of references to dugouts, agriculture, tobacco, firearms and alcoholic beverages. This all seems very hastily written, doesn't summarize anything
  • Other sections are problematic in similar ways, particularly with sentences that are oddly worded or say nothing: "Native Americans were stunned to learn..." or "While exhibiting widely divergent social, cultural, and artistic expressions, all Native American groups worked with materials available to them and employed social arrangements that augmented their means of subsistence and survival."
  • no inline citations in "history" and several of the sections, "Other archaeologists have disputed the dating methodology employed, and have also suggested that these "artifacts" are naturally-formed, rather than of human manufacture. Other recent claims for pre-Clovis artifacts have similarly been made in some South American sites. The notion of pre-Clovis habitation continues to be a subject of scholarly debate, and the issue has not yet been satisfactorily resolved." - evidence of weasel words. I added an inline citation for that.
  • lots of weasel words—for example, "is believed to have reached the New World", "They are believed to have reached Alaska", and "molecular genetics studies have suggested". The first one I can't fix (I had nothing to do with writing the article), the second and third examples I found a reference for. The fourth I added "mitochondrial DNA", which I learned in biology but it would be best if somebody could verify this.
Cscr-former.svg Native Americans in the United States is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
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Wikipedia Project Traditional Medicine[edit]

Wikipedia project traditional medicine needs your held to get started. The current coverage of traditional medicines on Wikipedia is terrible for all peoples. Although the alternative medicine project tries to cover this topic they have failed terribly; most of what they cover lacks any basis in tradition so it does not assist multi-cultural anthropology. A detailed pharmacopoeia must be constructed of all medicinal treatments prescribed by indigenous healers, the projects goal is to have this information available on the pages of the diseases treated, the tribes that recommend it, and the organisms or minerals used. I have heard anecdotal evidence that certain treatments are not shared with clip board holding anthropologists, but if we are all willing to hold hands and work together we can make the world a better place for everyone; people need to be reminded of the importance of environmental conservation and understanding other cultures. Please help make Wikipedia, and the world a better place. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CensoredScribe (talkcontribs) 23:42, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Scope of the title term[edit]

Sentence 1 of the lede says

Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii.

I have two comments/questions about this:

1. It's not sourced, and it is unclear as to whether Native Hawaiians count as Native Americans. On the one hand it refers to "the indigenous peoples in (sic; of?) North America", apparently excluding Native Hawaiians, but on the other hand it mentions "within the boundaries of ... and the island state of Hawaii", apparently including them. They appear to be excluded in both the info graphic in the lede ("Total population" only has the sub-heading "American Indian and Alaska Native") and in the later "Historical population" sub-section, whose chart is entitled " American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut % of Population by U.S. State (1890-2010)" with no mention of Native Hawaiians. Yet the section "Distribution by US States" has a chart for the distribution of people of Native Hawaiian of Pacific Islander ancestry. Then in "Population by tribal grouping", they're not included.

2. The inclusion by the above quote of Alaskan Natives seems to be contradicted by the following passage in the last paragraph of the lede:

Native American and Alaskan Native authors have been increasingly published....

which implies that the latter are not part of the former.

Can someone provide sources and clarification for the scope of the term Native American? Thanks. Duoduoduo (talk) 21:12, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

We already have an entire article on the Native American naming controversy. Rmhermen (talk) 00:14, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
That article addresses the question of what terms are appropriate or inappropriate, and thus is irrelevant to my comments. My comments above simply point out that this article is self-contradictory in various places as to what its chosen term means. It needs to pick a definition of Native American and then stick with it. Duoduoduo (talk) 17:43, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Change of article title to 'Indigenous Americans of the United States'[edit]

Since there is much discrepancy over the term Native, as it relates to those of first nation ancestry verses anyone else born here, as well as over the term Indian, which can also refer to South East Asians, I am proposing the title of this article be changed. There already exists Indigenous peoples of the Americas which covers all first nation peoples of the Americas. In my opinion, this article title should reflect the term applied in the main article. Bab-a-lot (talk) 14:38, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

It shouldn't be moved because the most commonly used terms are "Native American" or "American Indian".User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:57, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Agreed, that would be against policy, see WP:COMMONNAME. Dougweller (talk) 15:49, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

This all depends on what side of the boundary you are referring to. In Canada, the term Indigenous is currently in vogue, and in Mexico, other terms still are commonly applied to their native peoples (which is further complicated by their unique history and genetics south of the border independent of both the US and CA). In the USA though, the Indian Nations call themselves American Indians by a very wide margin. Historically (until revisionism and internationalism have became the flavors of the month for non-Indians), society at large in the USA also almost universally referred to us as Indians or American Indians. That is who we are. This article should never be referred to as Indigenous... anything. There are articles for Indians in Canada. This article is about the USA and the term should correctly be AMERICAN INDIAN in the USA. Period. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:25, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Except using the term "American Indian" would exclude non-Indian Alaska Natives, including Iñupiat, Aleut, and Yupik peoples. The title should remain as it due to WP:COMMONNAME, as Maunus and Dougweller pointed out. Oppose any moves. -Uyvsdi (talk) 20:30, 28 September 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi
Native American does NOT apply to ALASKA NATIVES who are not genetically, culturally, linguistically or in any other way Native American. ALASKA NATIVES don't have the same relationship with the United States as Native Americans. That's why the United States identifies them as ALASKA NATIVES.

1. INDIAN is the collective term of all pre-colonial inhabitants of the Americas (usually said in the language of the country).
2. In the United States AMERICAN INDIAN designates RACE.
- AMERICAN INDIAN as a RACE was judicially determined and is reflected in United States LAW.
The designation of “AMERICAN INDIAN” as a “RACE” can be seen in the US CENSUS, which states.
AMERICAN INDIAN or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who “maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment”.
The designation as a RACE can also be seen in the "free passage" provision codified in Section 289 of the IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT. Sec. 289 [8 U.S.C. 1359]. . . . Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the right of AMERICAN INDIANS born in Canada . . . . But such right shall extend only to persons who possess at least 50 per centum of blood of the AMERICAN INDIAN "RACE”.

3. The term NATIVE AMERICAN does NOT designate RACE. NATIVE AMERICAN identifies the citizens of FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES within the borders of the United States. Tribes, who through TREATIES have a government-to-government relationship with the United States, as a result; various programs and services are available to NATIVE AMERICANS. These programs and services are NOT available to AMERICAN INDIANS, who do not qualify as members of FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES.
Here is an example:
For a student to be eligible for many NATIVE AMERICAN scholarships, the student should be an enrolled member of a FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBE. Otherwise funding will most likely be denied.
Indian Affairs, through its government-to-government relationship with FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES, carries out the Federal Government's unique and continuing relationship with and responsibility to tribes and Indian people. Indian Affairs programs support and assist FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES.]Benefits and Service.
All pre-colonial people/communities/tribes throughout the Americas have criteria to identify their members, which is usually based on recognized kinship, lineal decent and interpersonal bonds held by the community. This is what is stated by the South American Indigenous people which are similar to the criteria of all pre-colonial people of the Americas.
Who is Indian?
• An Indian is any member of an indigenous community, recognized by the latter as such.
• An indigenous community is any community founded on kinship or coresidence relations between its members, who maintain historical-cultural ties with pre-Colombian indigenous social organizations.
This explains who the NATIVE AMERICANS and INDIANS (American Indians) are.

First Nations or First Nations people designate a specific group of people in Canada. That term does not apply to Native Americans or the Indians of any other Country.Niineta (talk) 18:05, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Please remove foreign terminology & biases (good or bad) from this article on the USA (i.e., Indigenous)[edit]

The very first sentence in this article insults us with, "Native Americans are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii." This is a term currently in use in Canada, NOT the USA. Several editors of this article that persist in removing any corrections that try to edit this insulting term are from Canada no less. This is not a good faith action, even if unintended. This first paragraph of the article then goes on to clearly state, "According to a 1995 U.S. Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as American Indians (or simply Indians – see Native American name controversy), and this term has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups"

There is a fundamental flaw and conflict in the article, even setting aside the cited "Indian" vs. "Native American" discussion. The use of the pejorative term "indigenous" to our people, to most American Indians of the USA, and the weaving of references to separate "indigenous" articles into this article needs to be corrected. This article is supposedly not about Indians/natives in Canada or Mexico, or South America for that matter. This is our article - it's about Indians/natives in the USA. Consequently, the name we call OURSELVES collectively, by and large, should be more than a mere footnote or alluded to as a 'controversy' aside. The 1st paragraph clearly states what we call ourselves, and then the article proceeds to call us Native Americans (and all the revisionist baggage that drags in) and then worst of all, 'indigenous'. We are not Canadians (no disrespect intended to our Canadian brothers and sisters that may embrace the term, but that is for them to decide amongst themselves in their own country).

Tell us then what gives YOU (non-Indians, and that is said without malice) any right to decide for us what articles on us should call us?

If you are not from the USA, please respectfully allow people actually from the USA to decide on the content for articles on the USA.

Regardless of where you're from, why do you not respect American Indians of the USA as you presumably respect yourself or other peoples around this globe of ours (never mind honor the spirit of Wikipedia to spread truth freely) and persist in not allowing foreign terms for us be edited that so many of us feel is pejorative (i.e., indigenous).

Why persist in calling us anything and everything rather than allowing us to be known as what we call ourselves collectively (and by a wide margin): American Indians

Do the right thing Wikipedia and wikipedians from around the world. Do not dismiss what we call ourselves as some controversial aside. It is only a controversy for non-Indians and it is what the majority of us call ourselves... Rename this article "American Indians", or for the love of pete and all that is right at least call it "American Indians or Native Americans"

Respectfully, (talk) 20:57, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

comment added by (talk) 20:10, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

"Indigenous" is widely used in the United States, as these published books illustrate. I am an enrolled Native American from the United States and personally have no problem with the term "indigenous"; however, decisions on Wikipedia aren't made by personal preference, they are made by what secondary, published sources say. As I just pointed out above, there are certain Alaskan Native groups that are not American Indian. -Uyvsdi (talk) 20:35, 28 September 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi

'Personal preference'? That's right, it's the 'personal preference' of the majority of us. Please respectfully read this article's own cited census data that clearly indicates what the majority of us call ourselves, and not by a little. 'Indigenous' is the term de jour up north in Canada, not the USA. We can play duelling citations, but the fact remains that 'indigenous' is NOT widely used or the accepted term in the USA at this point, 'Native' sadly is among non-Indians. Of course the recent mass immigration of asian Indians will likely make "Indian" (alone) fall out of favor, but American Indian is who and what we are and is the name most of us call ourselves. I respect your right to call yourself anything you want, but the majority of our community today, never mind our history, should be respected. (talk) 20:54, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Yes, the term is used in the United States as I illustrated. To have "dueling citations," you would have to actually furnish a citation that states "indigenous" is not used in the United States and is considered pejorative. The fact remains that several Native Alaskan groups are not American Indian—Alaska being part of the United States. -Uyvsdi (talk) 21:01, 28 September 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Interesting, but what about the census link in this article (, or the fact that the US government also calls us American Indians, including in Alaska

Then if you really want to be precise (per the US Government) this article should be called, "American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Hawaiians" (talk) 21:17, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

...indigenous as pejorative: The term ‘indigenous’ comes from a Latin root which also gives the words ‘gender’, ‘genitals’, generation’ and ‘Genesis’. In other words, it is connected with birth, reproduction, and descent. It means the same as ‘native’, but in many places that word is not used now because it carries too many negative colonial associations.

"Arguments against the use of the term "Indigenous Peoples" are that lumps all indigenous world groups into a single "other," and that it fails to recognize migratory groups who do not technically meet the definition of "indigenous." The term is also less favored among some Canadian Indians; the French equivalent indigène has historically been used in a derogatory sense toward them." -John Abbink, 2011, Land Law and Politics p. 92 (

Bear in mind that French traders and missionaries as well as French-speaking Iroquois ranged widely across the west and there are many tales passed down among our own people, for what its worth, of some particularly disturbing abuses (at least in the case of the traders) so that may well be part of the shudders that term "indigenous" sends down the spine of many of us, at least in the Northern Rockies (which had a strong French influence) speaking personally, but foisting any label on any people that is not accepted by the majority of the people themselves (and is ahistorical by the way) is fundamentally disrespectful.

To name a thing or another human being is to act as though you have power over them... and worst of all when you know but wilfully disregard or disparage what they call themselves... that makes said term(s) pejorative to any one, by definition (talk) 21:34, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

You are trying to argue that "Indigenous" is pejorative, so you want to use the term "Eskimo" in the title?!! I don't think so. Obviously, you have an issue with the term; however, you have failed to create a convincing argument that the term is widely seen as pejorative. No one is suggesting use of the term "indigène," and, as you repeatedly pointed out, this is not an article about Canada. -Uyvsdi (talk) 22:34, 28 September 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Calving off population/demographic section[edit]

This article appears to just be getting longer and more unwieldy than shorter. One section that could be broken off into its own article would be the "demographics" section. Along the lines of Population of Native California and Population history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, we could start Demographics of Native Americans in the United States, which would be different than Modern social statistics of Native Americans. -Uyvsdi (talk) 17:08, 29 September 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Strong oppose. If you were going to split off a demographics page, it would have to merge with the "modern social statistics" one, since it would subsume the topic. — LlywelynII 03:37, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Support - Moving the tabular data to another article, whether by split or merge would improve the readability of the article.FriendlyFred (talk) 21:11, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Support but writing the the summary to leave behind will be a bit tricky. Rmhermen (talk) 01:29, 5 November 2013 (UTC)



The current lede reads

"Native Americans are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of the present-day United States, including those in Alaska and Hawaii"

I'm fairly sure that's accurate w/r/t Alaska ("Indian" sometimes excludes Eskimos; "Native American" doesn't) but is it actually accurate for Hawai`ians? I'm fairly sure that the United States Census lists Asian and Pacific Islander separately; does "Pacific Islander" really exclude the Hawai`ians or does "Native American"? — LlywelynII 03:37, 5 October 2013 (UTC)


Obviously, it's much too long and yet still doesn't address the major known pre-Colombian history and cultures or the actual Europeans involved in colonizing the United States. I don't want to get involved in a protracted edit war here, but I do request that one of the local page monitors restructure and condense the existing lede so that it has a five paragraph structure: 1, lede with definitions; 2, an overview of pre-contact Indians; 3, an overview of the initial conquest; 4, an overview of American behavior post-independence; and 5, an overview of the present situation since the granting of citizenship or since the '60s. Long boilerplate (especially questionably accurate or relevant boilerplate like contrasting "matrilinear" with "patriarchy") should ideally be avoided in favor of shorter sentences with lots of links to the relevant sections or articles. — LlywelynII 05:08, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

1. Depends on context. The census has separate "Native American and Alaskan Native" and "Native Hawaiian" (sometimes put under "Asian-Pacific Islander"). But the U.S. law sometimes defines Native Americans as all of those groups (see [1], [2], definition 3 at [3]) Rmhermen (talk) 01:49, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Population numbers and Death by Disease[edit]

it says |Puget Sound area populations, once estimated as high as 37,000 people| that number is absurdly low. The Duawamish tribe alone, all by itself, probably had that many people. There are documented accounts of huge longhouses. As far as Deaths by Disease, these numbers are also much too low. Based on still surviving oral traditions I'd estimate that the death rates for the Chinook tribe were closer to 80 to 90 percent, it is said that so many died that there was no one left to bury the dead. About ten years ago, near Port Townsend a burial site was found containing thousands of people who had died of disease. The deaths had been so traumatic that the location had been forgotten and was only found due to construction. These are the things that my elders have taught me, Ah Nee. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:36, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Those numbers are taken (indirectly) from "Robert Boyd, The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence (Vancouver, BC: UBC Press, 1999)". You could look for other research on the subject. Rmhermen (talk) 05:06, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

poor article on wikipedia[edit]

boo — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:9:4E00:931:90BE:92B8:B858:303F (talk) 21:09, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

It will be more helpful if you could be more detailed about what you find lacking. Rmhermen (talk) 00:30, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

What is the definition of an specters — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:05, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Biological Warfare[edit]

I believe the article would be improved if the following was added as the second paragraph in the "1.2.1 Impact on native populations" section:

The extent to which the Native American population was intentionally infected with disease through biological warfare, as opposed to accidental infection, is unknown. In 1763, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of the British Army, wrote praising the use of smallpox infected blankets to “extirpate” the Indian race. There is clear evidence that both biological warfare and accidental infection were factors in the Indigenous holocaust.[1][2][3]

Bernardwoodpecker (talk) 14:50, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Red Indians?[edit]

Why is there no reference to the fact that they were popularly referred to as "Red Indians" until at least the 1970s, together with an explanation of why that term was suddenly dropped? --Bermicourt (talk) 06:57, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Because there is a link to this article: Native American name controversy.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 07:35, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that really cuts it. My understanding is that historically (for decades) that was the most common name for most of the native American tribes, far more so than the other names mentioned in the controversy article, and so this article ought to mention that as part of its faithful historical coverage. Otherwise we're just brushing history under the carpet. --Bermicourt (talk) 13:31, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I think your understanding is in error. "Red Indian" has never been the most common term, plain "Indian" and "American Indian" have always been most common and continue to be used. Ideally the naming controversy article should be summarized in the section where the link is found, but given that "Red Indian" is not a very prominent topic within that controversy I doubt it merits any coverage in this article at all.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:14, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Anyone else have a view? --Bermicourt (talk) 19:01, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I support Maunus view. I think the only reference to "red Indians" were made by "ignorant Hollywood Cowboys" Mlpearc (open channel) 19:25, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Interesting, then, that the Oxford Dictionary of English states: "Red Indian - noun - old-fashioned term for American Indian. Usage: The term Red Indian, first recorded in the early 19th century, has largely fallen out of use, associated as it is with an earlier period and the corresponding sterotypes of cowboys and Indians and the Wild West. If used today, the term may cause offence..." Surely something on those lines is worth recording in an encyclopaedic article? --Bermicourt (talk) 19:57, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a dictionary, and the Oxford dictionary merely records the existence of the word and that it is no longer in use, it doesnt suggest it was ever common or prominent relative to other terms.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 01:18, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
May I use that for a reference for my previous statement ? Mlpearc (open channel) 20:06, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
It would be better if you found a reference that supported your statement or, more constructively, worked on appropriately article wording that reflects the references. --Bermicourt (talk) 20:28, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't edit this article, I was responding to your query. Mlpearc (open channel) 20:35, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The participants here might be interested in this discussion, if it is worthy of the name. Many people do seem to have this concern; best to have a comprehensive discussion, even if nothing changes in the end. Vanamonde93 (talk) 09:12, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Oral History / Literature[edit]

I once read the Winnebago Trickster Cycle - a collection of tales. I liked it very much. Why is there no reference to literature whatsoever? I am no expert in this field, merely interested. (talk) 17:36, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

See Mythologies of the indigenous peoples of North America -- Moxy (talk) 18:07, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Crawford, Native Americans of the Pontiac's War, 245–250
    • ^ Phillip M. White (June 2, 2011). American Indian Chronology: Chronologies of the American Mosaic. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 44. 
    • ^ D. Hank Ellison (August 24, 2007). Handbook of Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents. CRC Press. p. 123-140. ISBN 0-8493-1434-8.