While we think of the United States as a land of fifty states, it was a very different land centuries ago, with over 20 million Native Americans living here in more than 1,000 distinct tribes and ethnic groups.
- Even in 2016, there are still more than 500 tribes recognized in the United States by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
- From that population peak of roughly 20 million, Native American tribes were decimated by the twin killers of war and disease, such that the Native American population dropped to only a quarter-million. The present Native American population in North America is still less than 3 million.
- The largest tribal groups currently, by population, are Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Sioux, Chippewa, Apache, Blackfeet, Iroquois, and Pueblo.
- Before Europeans arrived in North America, many scholars say more than a thousand languages may have been spoken here; only 296 indigenous languages remain, and only 8 of those languages are practiced by enough people to fill even a small town. It’s likely that within the next century, fewer than 20 Native American languages will remain.
- While none of those native languages had written components, many of them were quite complex – as complex as Russian or Latin, in many cases.
- Because of the wide range of languages, many bordering tribes communicated and traded via sign language components.
- Those eight languages with a chance of surviving? Navajo, Cree, Ojibwa, Cherokee, Dakota, Apache, Blackfoot, and Choctaw.
- Native Americans Prior to 1492.
- Native American languages.
- First Owners of America.
- Native Americans – Tribes/Nations.
- Ancient Origins
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