Portal:Indigenous peoples of the Americas

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Introduction

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many, especially in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture. The impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended heavily on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming, hunting and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, chiefdoms, states, kingdoms and empires. Among these are the Aztec, Inca and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and socially advanced nations in the world. They had a vast knowledge of engineering, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, writing, physics, medicine, planting and irrigation, geology, mining, sculpture and goldsmithing.

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Sign for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The removal included many members of the following tribes, who did not wish to assimilate: Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others, from their homelands to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. The Native Americans who chose to stay and assimilate were allowed to become citizens in their states and of the U.S. The phrase "Trail of Tears" originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831.

Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease and starvation on the route to their destinations. Many died, including 2,000-6,000 of 16,542 relocated Cherokee. European Americans and African American freedmen and slaves also participated in the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole forced relocations.

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[[Image:{{{image}}}|right|200px|A 1934 sketch of Crazy Horse made by a Mormon missionary after interviewing Crazy Horse's sister, who claimed the depiction was accurate.]] Crazy Horse (Lakota: Tȟašúŋke Witkó in Standard Lakota Orthography, IPA:tχaʃʊ̃kɛ witkɔ), literally "His-Horse-Is-Crazy"; ca. 1840 – September 5, 1877) was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S. Federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876.

Four months after surrendering to U.S. troops under General Crook in May 1877, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a military guard, using his bayonet, while allegedly resisting imprisonment at Camp Robinson in present-day Nebraska. He ranks among the most notable and iconic of Native American tribal members and has been honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a 13¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

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Sacsayhuamán ruins in Cusco
image credit: Martin St-Amant

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