The Native Americans: More Fun Facts
Do you love Native American jewelry, art, and culture? Are you fascinated with our First Nations Peoples? Continuing from our last post, here are some more fun facts and pieces of trivia you may not have known about these first Americans...
- The term “Native American” is an umbrella term for those people indigenous to the continental United States but does not include Alaskan Natives or Native Hawaiians.
- The term “Indian” was given to the Native Americans by Christopher Columbus, who mistakenly thought he had landed in the East Indies.
- In the US, most indigenous people refer to themselves as “American Indians”, while in Canada they prefer the term “First Nations”. Both countries’ indigenous peoples use the term “Native American”.
- Throughout the US and Canada, white governments sought the eradication of Native culture and identity. They attempted this via aggressive boarding school assimilation regimes.
- Lewis and Clark, who led the first expedition across the western United States, were assisted enormously by the Nez Perce people who drew them river maps, built them canoes, and otherwise guided them to the Pacific.
- More than 1500 Native American languages were studied by linguist Joseph Greens burgh. He concluded that they could all be classified into one of three groups and that, based on this as well as blood typing, there were three separate migrations from Asia into the Americas thousands of years ago.
- According to a scientific paper published in Science journal by Lizzie Wade, the genome of the average African American includes 0.8% Native American, whereas Latinos have on average 18% Native American ancestry.
- The word “avocado” comes from the Aztec Indian language Nahuatl, and means “testicle”. The word “barbecue” comes from Arawaken language and means “framework of sticks”.
- There are numerous Native American words that have been adopted in their pure form and are used directly in English: potato, tomato, coyote, manatee, poncho, cannibal, bayou, abalone, shack, peyote, chocolate, chia, chilli, mesquite, and guacamole, among others.
- Native Americans have lived on the North American continent for twelve thousand years, and people indigenous to South America have lived there for thirty thousand years.
- French explorers adopted the word “Sioux” from the Chippewa tribe; the word means “enemy”. The Sioux are in fact the Lakota, whose name means “where the people of peace dwell”.
- Many Native American village sites eventually became trading posts and evolved into major cities – including Pittsburgh, Chicago, Kansas City, St Louis, and Detroit.
- Celebrities who are purported to have Native American ancestry include Cher, Johnny Depp, Elvis Presley, Ava Gardner, Rosa Parks, Burt Reynolds, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Bob Thornton, and Dolly Parton.
- “Ohio” means “beautiful river” in Iroquois.
- “Mississippi” means “great water” in Algonquin.
- “Minnesota” means “sky-tinted water” in Dakota. Dakota itself means “allies”.
- “Iowa” is a tribal name meaning “sleepy ones”.
- “Massachusetts” means “at the great hill” in Algonquin.
- “Arizona” derives from the Papago airzonac meaning “small springs”.
- “Kentucky” derives from the Native American word “kenta” meaning “meadow”.
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