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.
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Origins Theory[edit]

Native Americans arrived from Polynesia to south, central, and north America from islands such as Easter Island, Hawaii, and other pacific Islands, being decedents of the Samoans and Polynesians, and were able to settle the continents in a short period through the use of canoes through the continental rivers, similar to the viking explorations and expansions of northern and eastern Europe. Anthropologists should conduct a DNA test of the two societies to confirm this plausible theory. Although northern tribes such as the Inuits, may have migrated from Siberia through the land bridge theory as well. Yet Hawaains and Northern Californians such as Shinooks and Pomo, tend to have greater similarities then norhtern inuits and Siberian Asiatic tribes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 17 December 2014 (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)

What`s a lede? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

Wow. You couldn't look it up yourself? Okay, for you and other lazy people, "lede" is a deliberate re-spelling of "lead," to prevent confusion between lead, for the opening of an article, with lead, the thin piece of metal typographers use to set type. (It's the spacing between lines of text.) It would've have been so much easier and faster for you to have simply typed lede in the wiki search box - you do understand how Wikipedia works, don't you?.__209.179.8.124 (talk) 01:43, 9 November 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)

I agree wholeheartedly with the first comment. I was brought up to use the term Red Indian and I use the term regularly with my grandson when we talk about Hiawatha, Crazy Horse etc. I know that in some quarters it is not now thought quite politically correct. But that isn't the point: it's still a commonplace term where I come from. And I'm sure it is for millions of other ordinary folk all across the English-speaking world. Given that the term is unquestionably still current I'd add 'also referred to as Red Indians' in the text. Cassandra. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

P.S. Just Googled the term 'Red Indian' to make sure it's not just me. The name is very much alive and kicking, with thousands upon thousands of hits. Cassandra — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Here are three ngrams of "Red Indian" compared to "Native American" in British English[4], American English[5], and all English[6] publications on Google from 1800 to 2000. The trend is clear - "Red Indian" has no currency, even though apparently Britain has been slower to give it up.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:22, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

That doesn't strike me as a logical conclusion. One can't say that 'Red Indian has no currency' unless its use has actually ceased. Factually one can only say that its use has declined. I suspect that it's mainly Americans who are sensitive about this. But of course Wiki's job is just to report the facts not be judgemental - or sensitive. Writing from a British perspective, but also as someone with a lifelong respect and admiration for Indian culture I can't say that on this side of the Atlantic that the term 'Red Indian' has any negative or perjorative overtones at all. It is however a useful way to distnguish native Americans from West Indians and Indians from India. But, regardless of anyone's views or feelings, since it is still very much a current term it strikes me that it should therefore be recorded as such. Cassandra — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:59, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

A term will never get a currency of zero, because it will get repeated in quotes and in place names such as "Red Indian Lake". And since the shift in Britain occurred around 40 years ago it will also continue to be in use among older generations untill they die out. That does not mean that the word is current it means that it is obsolete. The fact that you admire Native Americans really has nothing to do with the possible overtones of the word. this article is not about terminology, if any reliable sources can be found describing the term it would be appropriate to write about the usage of "red indian" in the article on the Native American naming controversy but not here. One more thing: Historically "Red Indian" was in fact used as a specific term to describe the Beothuk people of Newfoundland who had the custom of painting their faces with ochre.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:23, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

I didn't pay much attention to this thread previously, and when I did, I initially thought Bermicourt was wrong about this. However, the data presented by Maunus suggests the OP actually has a point - it seems that RI was more prevalent than NA in British usage until approx. 1978, and for most of its history was roughly equally prevalent as AI (until around 1955).[7] So on the basis of prevalence in historical usage in BE, the complaint seems to be justified. Samsara (FA  FP) 14:28, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure I was making 'a complaint', simply making an observation. Factually in the UK today one can buy Red Indian Headresses, Red Indian costumes etc. in any toyshop. These are advertsied without embarrassment or seemingly any recognition that the name is now thought by some to be a perjorative term (Eskimo is commonly used too, even though most folk know that Inuit is the preferred term these days). The OED quote is quite correct, but of course most folk don't read the OED. The use of the RI name does indeed seem to be declining, but it remains in common informal usage, if not in formal writings. All of us happily and thoughtlessly call Greeks 'Greeks' even though they haven't called themselves that for the best part of three thousand years. We have no sense that we might be insulting the inhabitants of Greece - and from the UK the Red Indian thing seems, in some ways, rather like that; it is obviously a much more sensitive issue in North America. However since to assert that RI is no longer used is factually untrue, I'd be inclined to include something like 'In British English the older term Red Indian remains in common use informally, though its use is declining.' Cassandra — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Just one further observation. Words often look the same but mean different things to different people. 'Red Indian' is presumably seen as a perjorative term in North America because of historical conflicts there. 'Red Indian' is/was associated with negative words such as savage, barbaric, hostile and dangerous. By contrast elswhere, and in the UK in particular, the word associations instead tend to be positive ones: e.g. noble, free, adventurous, heroic, dignified and romantic. Thus I suggest the reason the term continues to be commonplace, at least informally, outside North America is simply because linguistically it isn't universally seen as perjorative, in particular not in the UK. Cassandra — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

By coincidence a full page article appeared in the British Daily Mail newspaper on 6th November 2014 which uses the term 'Red Indian' no fewer than seven times (it also uses the term 'Native American') . The op-ed piece by Richard Littlejohn is headlined 'Next, these idiots will stop children playing Cowboys and Indians'. The article is about the harrassing of one Ellie Goulding who has been accused by her critics of being 'racist, ignorant and insensitive', and guilty of 'cultural appropriation' after she was photographed wearing an Indian headress. Whatever ones views on the matter, the term 'Red Indian' is unquestionably in current British usage. Cassandra. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:36, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Oh sure, there will always be those who use the term. The author of that piece also made the false claim that public funds were used to teach Asian women hopscotch, and when a teacher changed sex and was allowed to keep her job, attacked the decision. The teacher died a probable suicide and the coroner said that Littlejohn " "...carried out what can only be described as a character assassination, having sought to ridicule and humiliate Lucy Meadows and bring into question her right to pursue her career as a teacher". So him using 'red Indian' proves that bigots will continue to use such terms. Dougweller (talk) 12:14, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

I don't know whether Mr Littlejohn is a bigot or not. The point is that one of Britain's largest circulation national daily newspapers saw nothing wrong in using the term 'Red Indian'. The Daily Mail habitually employs asterisks in place of words deemed unsuitable for publication, not least racist terms. The logical conclusion is that (i) Red Indian is a current term in British English and (ii) it is not generally thought of as offensive. The implication that only bigots would use the term is a false conclusion - though logically even it were true it would not alter the fact that the term does still enjoy indisputable currency. Cassandra — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 8 November 2014[edit]

Wikipedia calls native americans Indians? Do you have any clue about geography or you are lost like colombus? Indians are from India. (talk) 04:44, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: It is very obvious that Native Americans are commonly referred to as Indians. There is a section in this article about this. Cannolis (talk) 12:53, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Why no mention at all of Native American Government? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:A000:FFC0:6A:353A:A4D8:6E1A:A392 (talk) 18:24, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Native American redirect[edit]

Shouldn't Native American redirect to Indigenous peoples of the Americas rather than here? Native Americans aren't just from the US. 2601:9:4301:EFA0:F8F7:3CFC:255E:6A55 (talk) 06:03, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

American Indian also redirects here. This might also be somewhat misleading. Jarble (talk) 03:40, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

First vs. Native[edit]

For too long, these people have been called "Native" Americans. There is nothing native about them, though. They were the first Americans, no doubt. The Americas have no indigenous people, as every human on these continents came here from other places. The First Americans (known incorrectly as "Native" Americans) came across the Bering land bridge, the same as the Aztecs, Mayans, etc. They are not native to the continent.

Can we get a discussion rolling to correct this phrase? DeeJaye6 (talk) 01:13, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

The article can only report common usage, not create it. Rmhermen (talk) 03:04, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
That's correct. DeeJaye6, see WP:NOR and WP:VERIFY. We simply reflect what reliable sources say. Dougweller (talk) 14:02, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
What Doug said. FWIW, the land bridge theory has only ever been one theory, challenged from it's inception, and is now discredited by DNA evidence and recent archaeological finds placing primitive humans on the North American continent far earlier than previously suspected. Beringian DNA is found on both sides of the theoretical land bridge, with no solid evidence for it originating on one side or the other. There seems to have been a culture that existed simultaneously on both sides, with plenty of traffic back and forth. I'll look at the article and see if the sources are up to date on that. - CorbieV 18:11, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Colour me sceptical. I don't follow your logic: Beringian DNA being found on both sides does not conflict with the conventional view at all, on the contrary, it bolsters it – as an obvious analogy, European DNA is found on both sides of the Atlantic, demonstrating European migration/colonisation genetically. Denying the land bridge theory completely essentially means denial of out-of-Africa – are you proposing a kind of "out-of-America" scenario? Or a peopling of the Americas that preceded 40 kya? Perhaps you should explain your stance more clearly. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:45, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Unclear language in attribution plus potentially inadequate citation info[edit]

From "Native American and African relations"

He contends that because of European fears of a unified revolt of Native Americans and African Americans, the colonists encouraged hostility between the ethnic groups:

Who contends? Back in 2011, some indirect attribution ("The hostility has been attributed to") was changed to this less-than-useless phrasing referring to a "he" who was not (and never is) introduced. The reference provided appears to be the proceedings of a symposium conducted by the Southern Anthropology Society in 1970, but the citation is otherwise lacking. Only the title ("Red, white, and Black"), page numbers and ISBN are provided. It was enough to confirm it's a legitimate source, but—and correct me if I'm wrong—shouldn't there be more info? (talk) 08:37, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Why isn't the title just "Native American"[edit]

After all, Native American redirects to this page.--Prisencolinensinainciusol (talk) 22:18, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

While that redirect is odd it is the way it should be. This article is only about Native Americans in the US, not those elsewhere - but "Native American" is mostly used to describe US Natives so that is why the redirect goes here and not to Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. It is a problem with now perfect solution.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:26, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
In American English "Native American" refers not only to Indians in the USA but to all Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. See Native American naming controversy. Rmhermen (talk) 04:20, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
In fact American English "Native American" with overwhelming frequency refers to North American Native Americans - by far enough that that is the primary topic of that usage. It is quite rare to find Native American applied to South American indigenous groups.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 04:44, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
@Maunus: Have you found any statistics or search results to support this assertion? Jarble (talk) 22:32, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
I dont have quantitative evidence no. I happen to work with indigenous peoples of Latin America professionally and know that the literature hardly ever refer to them as "Native Americans". A quick google books search with the term "Native American" confirms this. And the Native American Encyclopedia[8] for example does not cover any cultures south of the US. Nor does Native American Architecture[9]. Or the Handbook of Native American Literature[10]. This is the typical pattern, works that include Latin American indigenous groups under the label are in the minority.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 23:28, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
But we can easily find the opposites as well - genetic studies of the skeleton of the "Native American girl" found in a Yucatan cave [11][12], Prevalence of problem drinking in a Venezuelan Native American population", the "Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World" which covers South American as well as North American, the National Museum of the American Indian whose collections cover "Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere (excluding Hawai’i)" but really only means the Americas. If usage was consistent we wouldn't have these repeated discussions. Rmhermen (talk) 13:49, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but I am convinced that the former pattern is predominant, and that users typing in "native american" as a search term are most likely to be interested in this article.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:41, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
Without much regard for context, I'm incline to say that it should simply be Native American because WP:CONCISE. What ends up happening is that an editor uses the phrase "native american" in an article, referring to inidigeonous people of North America/US. Then, possibly being aware of MOS:NOPIPE, they will pipe the link to this page. This is makes the wikitext unecessarily complicated.Prisencolinensinainciusol (talk) 19:33, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Native American race[edit]

There seems to be a few definitions of Native American. While the US considers it as either being registered in a tribe regardless of racial composition or actually indigenous but only in the bounds of the US mainland, Alaska, and Hawaii while calling all other Native Americans "American Indians"(same thing), yet Native Americans are a race descended from proto-Mongoloids, ALL of them (Not just ones indigenous to all of the US).

I believe this wiki should include Native Americans from all over the Americas as its Native American race definition and not stick to the US' shortsighted definition. It literally makes no sense that a Native American from South America would be wrong to identify as "Native American". What other race are they? American Indian and Native American aren't separate races and aren't listed as so, even in the US. This is like pretending Native Americans in what is known as Latin America don't exist. All people of the Native American race should be included on this wiki. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:32, 19 June 2015

Revert, why[edit]

The content being removed is sourced, and the removal entirely shifts the meaning of the paragraph; from "extent unknown, few instances known" to "there are only a few instances." Besides, there is no unanimity among sources about the extent of biological warfare. Vanamonde93 (talk) 20:00, 23 June 2015 (UTC)