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10 Little-Known Facts About Native Americans

Native American

Native Americans dominated the continent before Europeans got to the coast of America. Still, little is known about their history before the discovery of the “New World”. These civilizations occupied both Americas, had entire empires rise and fall over thousands of years.

What makes the Native American culture special is its traditions, respect of earth and deep understanding of nature’s rules. Divided tribes of Native Americans were living on different territories. Nevertheless, they believed the land is sacred, should be respected and that no one can own it.

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Here are some of the little-known facts about Native Americans and their culture:

1. In the time of Nazism in Germany, they were classified as Aryans.

2. In the early 1600s, five tribes formed an all-male council that had to decide on important issues the tribes were encountering. What’s so outstanding about this is that their women had the right to discharge any councilor.

3. The Sequoia tree is named after Cherokee leader Sequoyah who contributed in developing an alphabet for his people.

4. One of the most famous Native American characters in the Western culture is Pocahontas. This actually wasn’t even her real name, but her nickname meaning “the playful child”. She was called Matoaka and was the favorite daughter of the notable ruler of wide Algonquian tribes.
Her marriage with John Rolfe was the first recorded interracial marriage in American history.

5.  More than 24,000 Native Americans fought for the U.S. during WWII. The most distinguished group of volunteers was the Navajo Code Talkers. They created a secret Navajo code enemies couldn’t break.

6. Half of the U.S. States got their names after Amerindian words. For example Iowa is also the name of a tribe and it means “sleepy ones”

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7. Native Americans have been inhabiting America for more than 14.000 years. They were never a single nation, but lived in groups divided among tribes of different cultures, languages and traditions.

8. More than 95% of residents in the poorest place in the US are Native American and the median income of men is $0.

9. Many words from languages Native Americans spoke entered English. Ex. Chipmunk – red squirrel, opossum – white dog, pecan – nut etc.

Courtesy George Catlin

10. Lacrosse is a sport that has its origins in the culture of Eastern Woodlands Native Americans. The tribal game was then modified by European colonizers and reshaped into its professional current form.

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