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Native Americans in the United States
- Created 2012-02-14
within the boundaries of the present-day
, including those in
. They are composed of numerous, distinct
s, many of which survive as intact political communities. The terms used to refer to Native Americans have been
. According to a 1995 U.S. Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as "
" or simply "
"; this term has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups, but does not traditionally include
, such as
Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of conflict and adjustment between
societies. Many Native Americans lived as
societies and told their histories by
s; Europeans therefore created almost all of the surviving historical record concerning the conflict.
The indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial and mostly
immigrants. Many native cultures were
and occupied hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire community. Europeans at that time had
cultures and had developed concepts of individual
with respect to land that were extremely different. The differences in cultures between the established Native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations of each culture through the centuries, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence, and social disruption. Native Americans suffered high fatalities from
contact with Eurasian diseases
to which they had not acquired
are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations, although estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U.S. vary significantly, from 1 million to 18 million.
and established the United States of America,
conceived of the idea of "civilizing" Native Americans in preparation for assimilation as U.S. citizens. Assimilation (whether voluntary, as with the
, or forced) became a consistent policy through American administrations. During the 19th century, the ideology of
became integral to the American nationalist movement. Expansion of European-American populations to the west after the American Revolution resulted in increasing pressure on Native American lands, warfare between the groups, and rising tensions. In 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the
Indian Removal Act
, authorizing the government to relocate Native Americans from their homelands within established states to lands west of the
, accommodating European-American expansion.
As American expansion reached into the
, settler and miner migrants came into increasing conflict with the
, and other Western tribes. These were complex
cultures based on (introduced)
hunting. They carried out resistance against American incursion in the decades after the completion of the
in a series of
, which were frequent up until the 1890s but continued into the 20th century. Over time, the U.S. forced a series of treaties and land cessions by the tribes and established
for them in many western states. U.S. agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but European-American agricultural technology of the time was inadequate for often dry reservation lands. In 1924, Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens were
Contemporary Native Americans have a unique relationship with the United States because they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands with
. Cultural activism since the late 1960s has increased political participation and led to an expansion of efforts to teach and preserve indigenous languages for younger generations and to establish a greater cultural infrastructure: Native Americans have founded independent newspapers and online media, recently including FNX, the first Native American television channel; established
Native American studies
programs, tribal schools and
, and museums and language programs; and have increasingly been published as authors.
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