Native American Facts

Native Indian Life

Native American Facts: Fact Sheet for kids

  • Native American Facts - Fact 1: Clothing: The clothes varied from tribe to tribe. Many were made from the skins and furs of animals, others wore clothes made from birch bark and some wore woven clothes. Tribes in the hot climates wore limited clothing whereas those in cold climates needed clothing to keep out the snow, rain and the cold

  • Native American Facts - Fact 2: Some men of the Crow tribe who were known as the "Bird People", wore a full bird as part of their ceremonial headdress, as seen in the above picture. This costume was probably the inspiration for the bird headdress worn by Johnny Depp as Tonto in the 2013 movie 'The Lone Ranger'. Men of the Crow tribe grew their hair for all their lives so that it swept the ground behind them. The hair of Chief Long-hair measured 10 feet, 7 inches in length
  • Native American Facts - Fact 3: Weapons: Warriors used many different types of weapons for both hunting and warfare including bows and arrows, war clubs, battle hammers, hatchets, lances, spears, tomahawks and knives
  • Native American Facts - Fact 4: Food: Food such as meat and fish were obtained by the men of the tribes by hunting, and fishing. It was the responsibility of the women to cook the foods. Many tribes were farmers and raised crops such as corn, beans and squash that were referred to as the 'Three Sisters'
  • Native American Facts - Fact 5: History: The introduction of the horse by Europeans resulted in the migration of many tribes to the Great Plains where they led a nomadic lifestyle hunting bison.
  • Native American Facts - Fact 6: History: The bison, often referred to as buffalo, provided the Plains tribes with food, clothing, tepees, bedding and many other objects used in their daily lives 
  • Native American Facts - Fact 7: History: The deliberate slaughter of the bison herds in the 1870's was a calculated strategy to prevent the Native American Indians continuing the Great Plains lifestyle. Over 7 million bison were slaughtered from 1872 to 1874 which resulted in the demise of the culture of the Plains Indians
  • Native American Facts - Fact 8: The Iroquois Confederacy created a constitution with 117 articles which influenced the development of the U.S. government
  • Native American Facts - Fact 9: Lands: Native Indian lands were not owned by individuals, it belonged to the whole community, but there were tribal boundaries. The idea of an individual person having exclusive use and entitlement of a specific piece of land was completely alien to Native Americans until the encroachment of their lands by Europeans
  • Native American Facts  - Fact 10: Languages: There are over 600 different dialects of many different languages. The six primary groups of Native American languages are categorised as Siouan, Aleut, Algonquian, Athabascan, Chinookan and Uto-Aztecan which are all separated by location
  • Native American Facts  - Fact 11: Languages and Communication: Native American Indians developed hand signals and sign language in order to communicate with other tribes and European traders. They also developed a system using smoke signals to communicate messages over long distances
  • Native American Facts - Fact 12: Jewelry: Jewelry was made from a variety of materials including the claws, teeth and bones of animals, stones, ivory, fibres, wood, shells and quills. Precious and semi-precious gemstones such as turquoise were also use when these were available. Glass beads acquired by trade were used by other tribe
  • Native American Facts - Fact 13: Headdresses: Magnificent feather headdresses and war bonnets were worn by the Plains tribes. The significance of a headdress and the brave deeds of the wearer could be judged at a glance from the feathers attached to it. Every feather had a meaning as did the cuts that were made into the feathers. But there were many other types of head gear including crown styles, roach headdresses and even turbans. 
  • Native American Facts - Fact 14: Hairstyles: The most famous hairstyle is now known as the 'Mohawk' or 'Mohican', but it was actually introduced by the Pawnee tribe. The hair was shaved to leave just a scalp lock that was stiffened with fat and paint and stood straight up from the head like a crest. The Pawnee warriors not only plucked their beards but also plucked their eyebrows
  • Native American Facts - Fact 15: Wampum derives from the word 'wampumpeag' and used to describe the beads, made from shells, that were polished, strung or woven together to make jewelry and belts. Wampum was so highly valued that it was used as a type of currency in the form of a wampum money belt
  • Native American Facts - Fact 16: Dwellings and Homes: There were many different types of houses and dwellings including Wigwams, tepees, longhouses, plank houses, wikiups, brush shelters, pit houses, wattle and daub houses, grass houses and igloos. The type of dwelling used by the different tribes were dependent on the climate and the natural resources that were available
  • Native American Facts - Fact 17: Culture: Totem Poles were only carved by tribes of the Pacific Northwest Coast. A totem pole erected in the front of a home would show the ancestry and the social rank of the family who lived there
  • Native American Facts - Fact 18: Culture: War paint was used by many tribes to intimidate their enemies and convey their achievements in battle. It was believed that the application of certain symbols and colors gave the wearer power and protection
  • Native American Facts  - Fact 19: Culture: Vision Quests were commonly undertaken by young men as a rite of passage. A Vision Quest was sometimes accompanied by the inducement of a Trance State for the purpose of attaining guidance or knowledge from supernatural forces or spirits.
  • Native American Facts  - Fact 20: Culture: The Medicine Man was believed to have a spiritual connection with animals, supernatural creatures and all elements of nature. The Medicine Man conducted ceremonies and rituals when the tribe was facing adversity or needed to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the tribe including sickness.
Native Indian Weapons and Tools
Native American Life
Native Indian Tribes Index

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