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American and Latin-American Indians:: A Brief and Informative Guide-And Much More

American and Latin-American Indians:: A Brief and Informative Guide-And Much More

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American and Latin-American Indians:: A Brief and Informative Guide-And Much More

290 pages
4 heures
Dec 7, 2000


This brief informative guide to American, and Latin- American, Indians will save one much time and trouble when researching for reports or essays. I have covered as much as possible, with the intent of keeping it as brief as I possibly could.

This brief guide covers much more than the American and Latin-American Indian tribes. you will learn; how they lived, the coming of the white man, Indian wars, language groups, brief biographies of Indian Chiefs and Army Commanders, Military Forts, the Pilgrims and Rangers, the Revolutionary War, the Westward Movement, and much more.

After completing this book I have found it to be very informative, and much less time consuming, to say the least. Example: If you want to know how the Indians lived, simply turn to that page and you will begin learn about their food, transportation, housing, clothing, communication, family life, religion and ceremony, and government.

There are also additional articles, such as: the Bison, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Territory, History of the Stagecoach, Totem Pole, and Writings.

I can only hope that you find this book as useful as I and several of my friends and family members have.

Dec 7, 2000

À propos de l'auteur

I am a single parent and father to my seventeen-year- old daughter, Angila. I have never been one much for writing, that is, until Angila had inspired me to do so. Now I am working on a variety of books; mine and my daughters favorite, a mystery series for teen readers. I was born in Oxfordshire England and had moved to the United States when I was young. I am not of British descent, my father was in service. Likewise, myself becoming of age, I, too, enlisted into the Armed Forces. I have traveled extensively and seen many accomplishments, the good, and the not so good. I, with the help of my daughter, run and operate our own business. I dedicate as much spare time as I can to my writings, however, I always make time for my daughter, Angila.

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American and Latin-American Indians: - Keith Evans




A Brief and Informative Guide-

And Much More

Keith Evans

Copyright © 2000 by Keith Evans.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any

form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,

or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing

from the copyright owner.

This book was printed in the United States of America.

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American Indians, which are the native races of the Americas. This name was given to them by Columbus, who, of course, thought he discovered the Indians. (For the same reason the islands Columbus discovered were named the West Indies).

In this chapter we will focus on the life and history of the American Indians, the American and Latin-American Indian tribes and their language groups. We will also focus on additional noteworthy Indian tribes, and Latin-American History.

In physical characteristics, Indians very so much that there are exceptions to almost anything that can be said about them. Generally they have Mongoloid features; coarse, straight black hair; little facial or body hair; and their skin color ranges from a reddish brown to a yellow-brown.

In cultural background there are also great differences among all Indians. Some groups developed a high degree of civilization, notably: the Aztecs of Mexico, the Mayas of Central America, and the Incas of Peru. Their cities were built of stone, elaborately and artistically carved.

They wove cloth and worked with copper and gold. The Mayas also had a very accurate calendar. Each of these civilizations was of long growth, and there were others, that of the Toltecs, for example, in Mexico and Guatemala.

Most Indians, however, were wandering hunters, practicing some agriculture but living in a Stone Age type culture. They had lived in, or roamed over, all parts of the Western Hemisphere, but in very small numbers compared to the vast land areas.

Indian Population

No one really knows, just how many Indians were living in the Americas when the white man arrived. Estimates for the area that became the United States range from 850,000 to 1,000,000. Some authorities estimate that there was a reduction from 850,000 at the time of Columbus to fewer than 400,000 by early 1900, mainly due to that of Smallpox and other epidemics. Since 1900 there has been an increase because of improved heath and sanitation.

Numbering the Indians today is very complicated by the fact that there are many persons of part-Indian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau counts as Indian anyone who so identifies himself or herself. The 1970 figure (and possibly the most accurate and recent count to date) was 792,730, excluding Eskimos and Aleuts. More than half of the Indian population had lived in five states: Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina, New Mexico and California.

Nearly half of the Indians in the United States are in metropolitan areas. Many of the remainder are on or near reservations or that of tribal lands and are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Even on the reservation, Indians are taking increasing responsibility for managing their own affairs. Most Indians wish to preserve their separate identity and their traditional culture.

The Indian population in the United States and that of about 200,000 Indians in Canada are only a small part of the Indians in the Americas. There are an estimated 13,000,000 full-blood Indians in Latin-America, which make up about 50 percent of the population of Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia. Only about 15 percent of all Mexicans have no Indian ancestors.

The Earliest of Americans

It is generally believed that the Americas were peopled from Asia by way of the Bering Strait. Migrations were, in all likelihood, made by several kinds of peoples—small groups of hunters pursuing the Mammoth, Mastodon, Woolly Rhinoceros, and that of the prehistoric Bison, over a long period of time. There are many scientists who now believe that the earliest migrations were 25.000 to 40,000 years ago. A later migration was that of the Eskimos, who were usually not considered Indians, although both peoples are classified as belonging to the chief race called Mongoloid.

The early people of the Americas are known mainly from the distinctive points used on their spears and arrows. Points are named for three sites in New Mexico where they were first found. The Sandia Cave points are estimated to be 20,000 years old; the Clovis points, about 11,000 to 11,500. First to be found, in 1926, was a Folsom point that had killed an Ice Age Bison and so was estimated to be at least 10,000 years old. Since then many more have been found, as they seem to trace the Folsom Man’s migration from Asia.

Much later, nevertheless also in the Southwest, lived several groups who had developed a high degree of civilization. One group called Anasazi, meaning Ancient Ones, or Basket-makers, because of their fine baskets, were predecessors of the Pueblo people, which also included the Cliff Dwellers. The Cliff Dwellers apartment houses at Mesa Verde were built into the canyon walls. They resembled the five-story tower of Casa Grande and the other community houses built on flat land by related Pueblo groups.

Another group, the Hohokam, had built courts for playing ball, and extensive irrigation works along the Gila River.

The Mound Builders left remains over the central and southern states. Some were effigy—mounds in the form of serpents, such as eagles, turtles, or other animals. Some were burial mounds, usually conical. First-topped, or platform, mounds may have been bases for temples. Some enclosures may have been forts. In these earth mounds have been found statues, ornaments, and tools made of stone and copper.

The Coming of the White Man

When the white man arrived in America, the Indian was living in a Stone Age type of culture. His principal business was to get enough food to keep from starving. To do this he had depended on hunting, fishing, agriculture, and the gathering of anything, of natures providing’s, that could be eaten.

Agriculture was often hit-or-miss, however corn and many other products were new, and of value, to Europeans. Indians also gathered many fruits, nuts, seeds, and roots that were useful tools.

Consequently the white man had learned many things from the Indians. The coming of the white man also quickly changed many Indian ways of life.

The Indians were very eager for firearms, the steel knives and tomahawks to replace their stone instruments, and even bits of iron for arrowheads. Glass beads replaced wampum, laboriously made from shells. White men were quite eager for the Indians’ furs. There had always been a certain amount of trade among tribes, but now Indians became professional hunters and trappers.

The greatest change in the Indian ways of life came with acquisition of the horse. Horses had been brought to America by the Spanish and proved so adaptable to the new conditions that herds of wild horses soon roamed the western plains. Indians at first could not tame the wild horses, but they had traded and stole horses from the Spanish in Mexico, and from tribe to tribe. By 1800, even the Sioux tribes living along the upper Mississippi River had horses.

Horses made it possible for Indians to follow the buffalo herds and to depend on the buffalo almost entirely for food, clothing, and for shelter.

When they acquired horses, the Teton Sioux abandoned all agriculture and moved into the plains. For the first time they had enough to eat, and their population than increased enormously. Many tribes of various groups—Cheyenne, Kiowa, Blackfeet, Crow, Arikara, Arapaho, Comanche, Pawnee—had counted all their wealth in numbers of horses.

Thus developed a distinctive Plains culture, that was based on the horse and buffalo hunting.

This Plains culture lasted little more than a century. It began with the horse, which had been obtained indirectly from the white man, and it ended when the white hunters had killed off the buffalo herds, early in the 1880’s.

How the Indians Lived

FOOD: Some tribes depended almost entirely on agriculture and had permanent villages, as did the Pueblo peoples of the Southwest. Others depended almost entirely on hunting, as did the horsemen of the Plains. Only a few tribes in the Northwest depended on salmon fishing almost as completely as the Plains tribes did on buffalo hunting.

Most Indians, however, had to search out every possible food resource. Fish was tabu (forbidden) to the Apache, Navaho and Zuni, but tabu’s were very uncommon.

Typically, corn and other crops would be planted in spring near a permanent village site. The tribe would then go on a summer hunt, and because any large band of Indians would soon frighten or kill off all the game in a region, their hunting grounds were changed frequently. The tribe would return to the village site to harvest crops, then move out again on a fall hunt. A winter camp might be made in an entirely different location. Stops were scheduled to gather such food as wild rice or camas roots, and much time was given to fishing.

Therefore most tribes were migratory in a more or less annual pattern. There were many factors, that influenced these tribes to move to an entirely different region. One good example would be—the hunting grounds were frequently exhausted.

TRANSPORTATION: Although most Indian tribes had made pottery, the potter’s wheel was unknown, and there were no wheels used for transportation. Instead of wagons, the Plains tribes used what is known as the Travois. It consisted of two poles bound on either side of an animal (most commonly used was the horse), and the other ends dragging the ground with a mat or bundle tied between them. However, dogs, the only fully domesticated animals, were used before horses were obtained and could draw only light loads. So when horses were acquired, the travois was practicable for long journeys.

The birchbark canoe was used from Alaska south to the Great Lakes area. It was framed of spruce wood and covered with bark that had been sewn together and then was made waterproof by using pitch, it was very light and could be carried for brief distances between streams. In the East, South, and along the Pacific Coast, the dugout canoe was used. It was built from a single log, hollowed out by burning and cutting. Some dugouts were as much as 100 feet in length, and might be highly decorated.

The Bull Boat of the Missouri River tribes was made of buffalo hide stretched on a circular framework of willow branches. The Balsa, made of rushes, that was tied in bundles, was used by Indians of the Pacific Slope. Some tribes had no boats—the Blackfeet, for one example, used only temporary rafts.

HOUSING: In nothing did tribes differ more than in their habitations. Most Indians lived in single-family dwellings, a great many dwelt in large community houses, and both types were widely used.

The Wigwam of the Algonquians was domed or conical, framed with poles and covered with bark, rushes, or branches. The Apache Wickiup was that of a circular brush shelter, which were sometimes covered with bark or earth. The Choctaw Indians covered a frame of poles with palmetto leaves. The conical wigwam with crossed poles as frames became a Tipi covered with buffalo skins. The Tipi, with an interior lining and adjustable smoke-flaps, was a comfortable home, even during the winter months.

The Long-House of the Iroquois was that of a public house, 50 to 100 feet in length by 16 to 18 feet in width. It had a frame of poles, and the roof and sides were that of elm or other bark. The Mandan clay-covered house was circular, and was about 40 feet in diameter, and was supported by heavy posts and cross beams. The Hogan, or Earth Lodge of the Navaho was a similarly shaped dugout of family size. The Omaha, Osage, and Pawnee built their lodges of earth or grass. Be that as it may, the most elaborate community dwellings were that of the Cliff Dwellings and Pueblos of the Southwest. They were made from stone, adobe, or coarse plastered wickerwork, often several stories high.

CLOTHING: Tanned deer hide, which is also known as Buckskin, was a common material for clothing. The men, of many tribes, wore a shirt which hung free over the hips, a breech-cloth, or (loin-cloth as it is so very often called), leggings and moccasins. The women of the tribes commonly wore a short-sleeved dress extending below the knee and tied at the waist by a belt. The women also wore leggings and moccasins. There were a few tribes people that wore sandals and some even went barefoot, but moccasins of varied design and decoration were almost universal.

Their garments were sewn with a bone awl, and were often elaborately decorated with shells, porcupine quills, feathers and, after the white man came, beads. Necklaces, armbands, and other articles of personal adornment were very common.

Buffalo cloaks, (or robes), served as winter overcoats, which were replaced by blankets after the buffalo were gone. Some Indians in prehistoric times wore fabrics made from cotton, hair, fur, mountain-sheep wool, or feathers.

The feathered headdress, often made with long trails, was a late development among the tribes of the Plains, although many other Indians had used feathers as ornaments. Many Indians of the East and the South had worn turbans or headbands. Along the Pacific Coast hats were of basketry.

COMMUNICATION: The Indians spoke many different languages, however a sign language of hand gestures had been widely used and understood by the tribes between the Mississippi and Rocky Mountains, and from Canada to Mexico.

No Indian tribe, of those times, had a written language. However, they made many Pictographs (pictures and, or symbols expressing ideas, which is called Petroglyphs when done on stone), yet these rarely meant anything except to the persons who had made them. The Incas of Peru, however, were able to convey messages by the means of knots tied in ropes. Smoke signals conveyed only a very few simple ideas, and had usually required prearrangement.

The Sequoya, a Cherokee, knew of the white man’s books, but did not know how to read them. The Indians had devised a syllabic alphabet used in printing newspapers and books for his people.

FAMILY LIFE: In many tribes descent was through the mother, and those children were members of the mother’s clan. There was little distinction between mother and aunt, father and uncle, brother and sister or cousin. This wide relationship formed a clan, of which might be spread through several bands of villages of a single tribe. Marriage within the clans were almost always taboo. Plural marriage was common; it was often that young men would marry sisters of the same family.

The Indians were generally tolerant with their children, very seldom punishing them, nonetheless, they were always taking great pains in training them.

RELIGION AND CEREMONY: There are many myths and folk-tales of great variety among tribes, but most of these myths and tales show belief in magic powers possessed by the forces of nature. The Great Spirit was not all-powerful, and the Evil Spirit might be a part of him. Old Man, of the Blackfeet Indians, was the creator, but he could also be very tricky or mean, and sometimes evil, however, sometimes he over-reached himself and was defeated. Similar to that was Old Man Coyote, of the Crows. He had very sly and even humorous qualities of that animal, yet he could be a friend to man. Sun, his wife moon, and their only son Morning Star were powerful persons, but had frailties similar to those of Greek Gods.

The sun dance, of many Plains tribes, was dedicated to the sun, but these Indians were not exclusively sun worshipers. They had many dances with religious motives, for example, the Buffalo Dance, the Corn Dance, and the Rain Dance.

Young warriors had sought individual aid by prolonged fasting and prayer in solitude. These young warriors might dream that an animal or bird spoke to them; that creature would then become the personal Medicine of the fasting warrior. Indians feared all ghosts, though he had only vague ideas of a hereafter.

GOVERNMENT: The Iroquois had a highly developed confederacy and decided issues around a council fire. The Sioux buffalo hunting and the Pueblo agriculture were very highly organized communal efforts, as were many religious festivals. The tribal councils, however, generally had very little control over the individual, and the tribes chiefs were governed only by the powers of personal leadership. Crime among Indians was largely a personal matter. Murder might be avenged by relatives of the victim, or a compensation might be paid by the murderer.

There were secret societies of warriors who had often exercised considerable police power and directed hunts and the tribal migrations. The Rabbit Society of Kiowa boys was something like a Boy Scout troop.

Warfare was almost entirely a matter of personal leadership. A young warrior would announce that he had planned a raid; those who wished, could join him. If he were uniformly successful he would then become a popular war chief. Warfare was a normal state; all other tribes were either allies or enemies.

The Indian Wars

When the white man first met the Indians they might have been greeted with friendliness, curiosity, fear, or even immediate hostility. Indians resented most all intruders; on the other hand they were eager for the white man’s goods and usually could be persuaded to trade.

THE EARLIER CONFLICTS: The Spanish enslaved and destroyed the natives of the West Indian islands, and their triumphs of Mexico and Peru were unscrupulous. Aztec, Inca, and Maya civilizations were suppressed. Many priests protested the cruelties, and dedicated missionaries had sought to Christianize the Indians. In much of South America, Central America and Mexico, the Indians were little disturbed and eventually were absorbed into the general population.

The English settlers at Jamestown, Virginia, maintained a troubled peace with Powhaton. After Powhaton’s death, his brother, Opechancanough led the Indians in massacres of the settlers in 1622 and 1644.

Massachusetts settlers likewise made peace with Massasoit, but fought his son King Philip. Then later the colonists waged war against the Pequot in Connecticut.

The french in Canada were interested in the fur trade and had become very friendly with the Algonquian tribes. The Iroquois took the side of the British in the French and Indian War.

During the American Revolutionary War most frontier settlements were raided by Indian allies of the British. An American expedition under Major General John Sullivan had defeated the Iroquois and destroyed their villages.

After the revolution, Indians of the Northwest Territory opposed any settlers. General Arthur St. Clair was defeated and suffered a very high loss. Major General Anthony Wayne had won the Battle of Fallen Timbers and negotiated the Treaty of Greenville, opening Ohio to settlement.

Tecumseh had sought to unite tribes of the Middle West and South against the whites, but the defeat in 1811 of his brother, the Prophet, in the Battle of Tippecanoe thwarted his plan. His followers were allied with the British in the War of 1812.

When Andrew Jackson became President of the United States, he sought to move all the Indians west of the Mississippi River. After an eight-year war in Florida some Seminoles eluded the troops and remained there. Black Hawk fought unsuccessfully to retain a Sac village in Illinois.

THE WESTERN WARS: The Mexican War and settlement of the dispute over the Oregon country added to the United States a huge area inhabited by numerous Indian tribes. From 1847 and on through 1891 there was not a single year, and very few months, in which one or more Indian fights were not recorded.

Most all Indian war parties raided for horses and plunder. They depended on surprise, ambush, and hit-and-run attacks. They would fight only when the advantage was great for them, and were very quick to flee when they were strongly opposed. Infantry was scattered widely over the Plains to guard trails and settlements. The Cavalry was used to pursue and punish the raiders, but rarely could it bring them to bay. When pushed too hard the Indian horsemen would scatter and ride off in all directions.

While great numbers of troops might be engaged in the chase of a small band of elusive Indians, most of the fights were between small groups. Rarely were as many as 100 soldiers engaged. Casualties, of both sides, were few as compared to most battles of the Civil War or even the Mexican War. Also, there was never no fight in which large numbers of Indians were slaughtered. Furthermore, any Indian attacks on settlements, wagon trains, or stage coaches were very infrequent, regardless of the popularity of all those such scenes in fiction and drama programs.

Indians west of

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