The way of life for the Native Americans changed greatly when the settlers arrived but they fought strongly to hold onto their sacred beliefs. No amount of influence or interference from the Europeans could change what the American Indians believed in. The natives fought long and hard to try to preserve their heritage and their lifestyles. While they are still given a small portion of land to live on, the plight of the Native American people has been going on since the settlers first set foot upon this land and continues to this day.
Although they are all considered Native Americas or American Indians, there are over 550 different tribes in the United States. According to Time For Kids (2008), “Nearly 1 out of every 100 people in the U.S. is a Native American. Most live in areas west of the Mississippi. Native Americans belong to 561 tribes. The Cherokee tribe of Oklahoma is the largest.” (para.1). The five largest tribes are;
1. Cherokee 308,000
2. Navajo 219,000
3. Chippewa 104,000
4. Sioux 103,000
5. Choctaw 82,000
Figure 1. The above shows the top five largest American Indian tribes in the Untied States. As one can see, the populations are large, yet still the American Indians do not have enough land to sustain their tribes and heritage. Note: From Time For Kids (2008).
The Cherokee tribe or rather Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe, often referred to as the most advanced tribe among the American Indians. As stated on Cherokee Nation (2009), “Since earliest contact with European explorers in the 1500’s, the Cherokee Nation has been identified as one of the most advanced among Native American tribes. Cherokee culture thrived for thousands of years in the southeastern United States before European contact. After contact, Cherokee society and culture continued to develop, progressing with acquisitions from European settlers. Soon, we had shaped a bicultural government and a society that matched the most ‘civilized’ of the time” (para.1). The Navajo Nation, most known for their language, is the second largest Native American tribe, located mostly in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The language of the Navajo people was often considered a mystical language. According to Navajo Nation (2005), “ Visitors from around the world are intrigued and mystified when they hear the Navajo language – so, too, were the enemy during World War II. Unknown to many, the Navajo language was used to create a secret code to battle the Japanese. Navajo men were selected to create codes and serve on the front line to overcome and deceive those on the other side of the battlefield. Today, these men are recognized as the famous Navajo Code Talkers, who exemplify the unequaled bravery and patriotism of the Navajo people” (para. 2). During World War II the Navajo men who used that secret code were known as Wind Talkers. The third largest tribe in the United States and probably the least known, are the Chippewa Indians. In Access Genealogy (2009), “One of the largest tribes North of Mexico, whose range was formerly along both shores of Lake Huron and Superior, extending across Minnesota Turtle Mountains, North Dakota. Although strong in numbers and occupying an extensive territory, the Chippewa were never prominent in history, owing to their remoteness from the frontier during the period of the colonial wars” (para.1). The last two tribes in the top five are the Sioux Indians and the Choctaw Indians. The Sioux people were among the most powerful within the Native American tribes. The Sioux was also home to one of the most popular Indian chiefs, Sioux Chief Sitting Bull. The Choctaw Indians are located mostly in Oklahoma. According to Choctaw (2008), “The Choctaws were one of the largest and most advanced tribes in all of North America” (para.1). Early Life
Before the arrival of the settlers, Native Americans lived a peaceful life, hunting and living...