Native American History

Native American History

Native American History
Facts and history about the life and lifestyles of Native American Indians. Native American History began thousands of years before the first European explorers set foot on their lands in North America. The white invaders had a dramatic effect on the lives of the American Indian tribes. Native American history details significant events, dates and the impact on the indigenous people of North America.

Such events included the terrible diseases that decimated many of the tribes, the introduction of the horse that led to the Buffalo hunting culture of the Great Plains Indians. Westward expansion and the belief in the Manifest Destiny of America resulted in the building of roads, canals and railroads, the encroachment of Native Indians lands and the demise of the way of life.

Native American Life - Native American History
The life, history and lifestyle of Native American Indians is a varied and fascinating subject. The following history fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Native American History. For additional facts and history refer to the
Native Indian Timeline and Indian Wars & Battles

Native American History Fact Sheet for kids

  • Native American History Fact 1: Anthropologists believe that the first people came from Northeastern Asia the Bering Strait to Alaska about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.
  • Native American History Fact 2: The first people were nomadic hunters of the Stone Age culture who explored North America and moved further south establishing new cultures and new civilisations. They used flint to create their weapons and tools and as their skills increased they developed different types of arrowheads which enabled archaeologists to apply dates and names to these cultures including the Clovis and Folsom culture.
  • Native American History Fact 3: The Anasazi people were the cliff dwelling ancestors of the Pueblo people who inhabited the high plateau region of northwestern Arizona. Their name was Navajo for "those who lived before."
  • Native American History Fact 4: The 'Mound Builders' were the ancient people who constructed elaborate earthworks across the North American continent from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast across the North American continent
  • Native American History Fact 5: Later cultures were established included the Adena, Hopewell and Mississippian Culture and many of the indigenous people settled in villages raising the 'Three Sisters' crops of corn, beans and squash 
  • Native American History Fact 6: Christopher Columbus arrived in North America in 1492. He called the native people indios, the Spanish word for Indians, because he thought he had reached India. His discovery began the white encroachment of the Indian lands bringing dramatic and many disastrous changes to the lives of the indigenous people
  • Native American History Fact 7: The European invasion of the New World was led by the most powerful countries in Europe, including England, France, Holland, Russia and Spain, all looking to expand their wealth and their empires. Many had the objective of 'civilizing' the Native Americans and converting them to Christianity
  • Native American History Fact 8: The Europeans introduced terrible, unknown diseases such as smallpox, tuberculosis, cholera, measles, influenza and smallpox. The American Indians had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in the indigenous population of North America
  • Native American History Fact 9: Spain began establishing colonies in the Southwest, the Southeast and California invading the lands of tribes such as the Pueblo, Zuni, Cherokee, Apache and the Comanche
  • Native American History Fact 10: The Native Americans were exploited by the Europeans who not only took over the lands but also introduced enforced labor and enslavement, conversion to the Christian religion and even taxes to their history
  • Native American History Fact 11: The Russians sought wealth via the fur trade mainly in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands invading the lands of tribes such as the Inuit, Aleut, Haida and the Tlingit
  • Native American History Fact 12: The English established the 13 original colonies of 'New England' in the Northeast encountering tribes such as the Powhatan and the Wampanoag
  • Native American History Fact 13: The French established New France in the the Great Lakes, the Northeast and Canada invading the lands of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Huron and the Chippewa
  • Native American History Fact 14: Violent and bloody conflicts erupted between the white colonists and settlers and the Indian tribes including the Powhatan Wars (1609 - 1646), Pequot War (1638) and the Beaver Wars (1640 - 1701)
  • Native American History Fact 15:  The Europeans introduced the horse to the Native Americans which started the Indian Horse culture that led to the migration of many Woodland tribes to the Great Plains. By the 1700's the Pawnee, Cheyenne, Sioux. Crow, Shoshone, Mandan, Nez Perce and the Crees had all acquired the horse and had become highly skilled horsemen
  • Native American History Fact 16: The conflicts between the most powerful countries in Europe spilled over into the 'New World' as the French and the English fought for dominance of the lands and the lucrative fur trade. Alliances were made with the different tribes in the Northeast and American Indians were drawn into the long conflict known as the French and Indian Wars (1675-1760)
  • Native American History Fact 17: The Hudson Bay Company (HBC), which specialized in fur trading with the Native American tribes, was first established in 1780
  • Native American History Fact 18: The American War of Independence (1775 - 1783) erupted. Many tribes became involved in the conflict, allied to either the British or the Americans
  • Native American History Fact 19: The 1783 Treaty of Paris and ended the American Revolutionary War and established the early U.S. boundaries. The government of the new United States of America hoped to maintain peace with the American Indians on the frontier but
  • Native American History Fact 20: After the American Revolution the government of the new United States of America hoped to maintain peace with the Native American Indians on the frontier. But as time passed treaties were broken and promises of payment for land taken were not fulfilled by the US government
  • Native American History Fact 21: The Lewis and Clark Expedition explored and mapped the US lands bought in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase fuelling the drive for Westward Expansion
  • Native American History Fact 22: Following the War of 1812 the US government policy turned to one of removal of the Indians west of the Mississippi River
  • Native American History Fact 23: The Creek War (18131814) broke out in Alabama and Georgia and many tribe members move south to Spanish Florida. The refugee Creeks begin to be referred to as the Seminole. The First Seminole War was fought 1817-1818
  • Native American History Fact 24: The 1820 Land Act led to the future confiscation of lands from Native Americans and lower cost land for settlers in the west
  • Native American History Fact 25: Steamboats began to appear on western rivers and in 1811 the construction of the Cumberland Road began making it easier to travel. Then came the railroads. As settlers continued to migrate westward they made settlements on Indian lands and demanded and received protection by the Army.
  • Native American History Fact 26: The Indian Removal Act was signed into law on May 28, 1830. The new law  gave President Andrew Jackson, a dedicated enemy of the Native Americans, the power to exchange land west of the Mississippi for the southeastern territory of the Five Civilized Tribes who consisted of the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles.
  • Native American History Fact 27:  The Department of Indian Affairs was established and the government adopted the policy of Segregation, moving the tribes on to Indian reservations in Oklahoma
  • Native American History Fact 28: The Five Civilized tribes were removed from their tribal homelands - culminating in the tragic history of the 1000 mile march during the dead of winter called the Trail of Tears
  • Native American History Fact 29: Chief Osceola led the Seminole resistance movement against their forced re-location to Oklahoma beginning the Second Seminole War (1835 - 1842)
  • Native American History Fact 30: The 2000 mile long Oregon Trail opened in the 1840's bring Wagon Trains of even more settlers who believed in the Manifest Destiny of Americans
  • Native American History Fact 31: The concept of Manifest Destiny encompassed the belief that the occupation the North American continent, was a divine right of the American people who they believed were culturally and racially superior to other nations and that it was God's will to bring civilization and enlightenment to other races.
  • Native American History Fact 32: The wagon trains of settlers moving ever westward over the Oregon Trail encroached  on the lands of many of the tribes of the Great Plains Indians including the Sioux, Fox, Sauk, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Cayuse and the Shawnee.
  • Native American History Fact 33: The Apache Wars (1861 - 1900) were fought in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas led by Geronimo and Cochise.
  • Native American History Fact 34: A series of Ute Wars broke out in Utah due to Mormon settlers taking over their lands
  • Native American History Fact 35: In 1862 U.S. Congress passed the Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers
  • Native American History Fact 36: The Plains Wars (1851-1890) aka the Sioux Wars, erupted the encompassed a series of battles in which the US Army faced embarrassing defeats in Red Cloud's War 1865 -1868 led by Chief Red Cloud and the Battle of the Rosebud which led to the Battle of Little Bighorn in which a combined force of Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne warriors led by Chief Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Rain in the Face and Chief Gall defeated General George Custer and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army
  • Native American History Fact 37: The defeats led to the introduction of another US strategy as the deliberate slaughter of the bison herds began to prevent the Native American Indians continuing the Great Plains lifestyle
  • Native American History Fact 38: It is estimated that over 7.5 million bison were slaughtered from 1872 to 1874. The near extermination of the bison inevitably meant the demise of the culture of the Plains Indians who relied on the animal for almost every aspect of their existence
  • Native American History Fact 39: The Wounded Knee Massacre followed the killing of Chief Sitting Bull when Chief Big Foot led the last band of Sioux who were massacred by the US Army at Wounded Knee Creek
  • Native American History Fact 40: The policy of Assimilation began as a means to control tribal government, no attempts were made at integration. The Dawes General Allotment Act was passed by Congress in 1897 leading to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and tribes by the allocation of land to individual Native Americans and the sale of more Indian lands to white settlers
  • Native American History Fact 41: Native Americans waited until 1969 to be declared citizens of U.S. and in 1979 the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed
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