The Indigenous peoples of the Americas Portal
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.
The United States was the first jurisdiction to acknowledge the common law doctrine of aboriginal title (also known as "original Indian title" or "Indian right of occupancy"). Native American tribes and nations establish aboriginal title by actual, continuous, and exclusive use and occupancy for a "long time". Individuals may also establish aboriginal title, if their ancestors held title as individuals. Unlike other jurisdictions, the content of aboriginal title is not limited to historical or traditional land uses. Aboriginal title may not be alienated, except to the federal government or with the approval of Congress. Aboriginal title is distinct from the lands Native Americans own in fee simple and occupy under federal trust.
The power of Congress to extinguish aboriginal title — by "purchase or conquest", or with a clear statement — is plenary and exclusive. Such extinguishment is not compensable under the Fifth Amendment, although various statutes provide for compensation. Unextinguished aboriginal title provides a federal common law cause of action for ejectment or trespass, for which there is federal subject-matter jurisdiction. Many potentially meritorious tribal lawsuits have been settled by Congressional legislation providing for the extinguishment of aboriginal title as well as monetary compensation or the approval of gaming enterprises.
The following are images from various Indigenous peoples of the Americas-related articles on Wikipedia.
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
Mapuche man and woman. The Mapuche make up about 85% of Chile's indigenous population.
Eight Crow Nation prisoners under guard at Crow agency, Montana, 1887
Ethnic groups ca. 1300 to 1535 CE. (See the image for the numbered List of indigenous peoples)
Two Maya women in the highlands of Chiapas
This map shows the percentage of indigenous population in different countries of the Americas.
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)
Chimu culture feather pectoral, feathers, reed, copper, silver, hide, cordage, ca. 1350–1450 CE
Bill Reid's sculpture The Raven and The First Men. The Raven represents the Trickster figure common to many mythologies.
Textile art by Julia Pingushat (Inuk, Arviat, Nunavut, Canada), wool, embroidery floss, 1995
Indigenous people at a Brazilian farm plantation in Minas Gerais ca. 1824
Language families of indigenous peoples in North America: shown across present-day Canada, Greenland, the United States, and northern Mexico
Brazilian indigenous man of Terena tribe
Cultural areas of North America at time of European contact
Maya women from Guatemala
Did you know…
Select [►] to view subcategories
Things you can do
- Join a WikiProject:
- Suggest featured articles and pictures.
- Help maintain the Indigenous peoples of the Americas portal.
Former featured articles
Former good articles
Did you know? articles
In the News articles
American indigenous language Wikipedias