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.
Ancient Pueblo peoples, Ancestral Pueblo peoples , or Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture centered on the present-day Four Corners area of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. They lived in a range of structures, including pit houses, pueblos, and cliff dwellings designed so that they could lift entry ladders during enemy attacks, which provided security. Archaeologists referred to one of these cultural groups as the Anasazi, although the term is not preferred by contemporary Pueblo peoples.
The word Anaasází is Navajo for "Ancient Ones" or "Ancient Enemy".
Archaeologists still debate when this distinct culture emerged. The current consensus, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BCE, during the archaeologically designated Early Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers wrote that the Ancient Puebloans are ancestors of contemporary Pueblo peoples.
Chimu culture feather pectoral, feathers, reed, copper, silver, hide, cordage, ca. 1350–1450 CE
Mapuche man and woman. The Mapuche make up about 85% of Chile's indigenous population.
Drawing accompanying text in Book XII of the 16th-century Florentine Codex (compiled 1540–1585), showing Nahuas of conquest-era central Mexico suffering from smallpox
Schematic illustration of maternal (mtDNA) gene-flow in and out of Beringia, from 25,000 years ago to present
Current distribution of the indigenous peoples of the Americas (not including mestizos, zambos and pardos)
Bill Reid's sculpture The Raven and The First Men. The Raven represents the Trickster figure common to many mythologies.
Maya women from Guatemala
Textile art by Julia Pingushat (Inuk, Arviat, Nunavut, Canada), wool, embroidery floss, 1995
This map shows the percentage of indigenous population in different countries of the Americas.
Two Maya women in the highlands of Chiapas
Cultural areas of North America at time of European contact
Brazilian indigenous man of Terena tribe
Eight Crow Nation prisoners under guard at Crow agency, Montana, 1887
Language families of indigenous peoples in North America: shown across present-day Canada, Greenland, the United States, and northern Mexico
Ethnic groups ca. 1300 to 1535 CE. (See the image for the numbered List of indigenous peoples)
Indigenous people at a Brazilian farm plantation in Minas Gerais ca. 1824
Louis David Riel (, French pronunciation: [lwi ʁjɛl]; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political and spiritual leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence. He is regarded by many today as a Canadian folk hero.
The first resistance was the Red River Rebellion of 1869–1870. The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. Riel was forced into exile in the United States due to the controversial execution of Thomas Scott during the rebellion. Despite this, he is frequently referred to as the "Father of Manitoba". While a fugitive, he was elected three times to the Canadian House of Commons, although he never assumed his seat. During these years, he was frustrated by having to remain in exile despite his growing belief that he was a divinely chosen leader and prophet, a belief which would later resurface and influence his actions. He married in 1881 while in exile in Montana, and fathered three children.
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