Portal:Indigenous peoples of the Americas

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The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South, and Central America, and their descendants. Pueblos indígenas (indigenous peoples) is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries. Aborigen (aboriginal/native) is used in Argentina, whereas "Amerindian" is used in Guyana but not commonly in other countries. Indigenous peoples are commonly known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are commonly known as Native Americans or American Indians, and Alaska Natives.

According to the prevailing New World migration model, migrations of humans from Eurasia to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge which connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait. The majority of authorities agree that the earliest migration via Beringia took place at least 13,500 years ago, These early Paleo-Indians spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living there since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation accounts.

Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous Americans; some countries have sizable populations, especially Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Greenland, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru. At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, Mayan languages, and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many also maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization, and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many Indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects, but also cater to modern needs. Some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western society, and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. (Full article...)

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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 [iɣˈlu] (plural: igluit ᐃᒡᓗᐃᑦ [iɣluˈit]) or snowhouse is a type of shelter built of snow, originally built by the Inuit.

Although igloos are usually associated with all Inuit, they were predominantly constructed by people of Canada's Central Arctic and Greenland's Thule area. Other Inuit people tended to use snow to insulate their houses, which were constructed from whalebone and hides. Snow is used because the air pockets trapped in it make it an insulator. On the outside, temperatures may be as low as −45 °C (−49 °F), but on the inside the temperature may range from −7 °C (19 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F) when warmed by body heat alone.

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[[Image:{{{image}}}|right|100px|]] Francisco Javier Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo (Royal Audiencia of Quito, 1747–95) was a medical pioneer, writer and lawyer of mestizo origin in colonial Ecuador. Although he was a notable scientist and writer, he stands out as a polemicist who inspired the separatist movement in Quito. He is regarded as one of the most important figures in colonial Ecuador. He was Quito's first journalist and hygienist. As a journalist he spread enlightened ideas in the Royal Audiencia, and as a hygienist he composed an important treatise about sanitary conditions in colonial Ecuador that included interesting remarks about microorganisms and the spreading of disease.

Espejo was noted in his time for being a satirist. His satirical works, inspired by the philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment, were critical of the lack of education of the Audiencia of Quito, the way the economy was being handled in the Audiencia, the corruption of its authorities, and aspects of its culture in general. Because of these works he was persecuted and finally imprisoned shortly before his death.

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14 - Chipitiere - Août 2008.jpg
Native village of Chipitiere, in the Cultural Zone of Manu National Park, Peru
image credit: Martin St-Amant

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