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Portal:Indigenous peoples of the Americas

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Otomi people

Otomi dancers from San Jeronimo Acazulco in Mexico state performing the traditional Danza de los Arrieros

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South, and Central America, and their descendants. Pueblos indígenas (indigenous peoples) is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries. Aborigen (aboriginal/native) is used in Argentina, whereas "Amerindian" is used in Guyana but not commonly in other countries. Indigenous peoples are commonly known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are commonly known as Native Americans or American Indians, and Alaska Natives.

According to the prevailing New World migration model, migrations of humans from Eurasia to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge which connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait. The majority of authorities agree that the earliest migration via Beringia took place at least 13,500 years ago, These early Paleo-Indians spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living there since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation accounts.

Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous Americans; some countries have sizable populations, especially Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Greenland, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru. At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, Mayan languages, and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many also maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization, and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many Indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects, but also cater to modern needs. Some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western society, and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. (Full article...)

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Flag of the American Indian Movement.svg

The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a Native American advocacy group in the United States, founded in July 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. AIM was initially formed to address American Indian sovereignty, treaty issues, spirituality, and leadership, while simultaneously addressing incidents of police harassment and racism against Native Americans forced to move off of reservations and away from tribal culture by the 1950s era federal government termination policies, created in the 1930s but never enforced. "As independent citizens and taxpayers, without good education or experience, most 'terminated' Indians were reduced within a few years to widespread illness and utter poverty, whether or not they were relocated to cities" from the reservations. The various specific issues concerning Native American urban communities like Minneapolis, also known as "red ghettos", are high unemployment levels, racism, police harassment, poverty, and substandard housing. Aim's overriding objective is to create "real economic independence for the Indians". From its beginnings in Minnesota, AIM soon attracted members from across the United States and Canada.

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Inupiat Family from Noatak, Alaska, 1929, Edward S. Curtis (restored).jpg
A family photo of an Eskimo (Inupiat) mother, father, and son, photographed in Noatak, Alaska, by Edward S. Curtis circa 1929.
image credit: public domain

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Ishi portrait.jpg

Ishi (c. 1860 – March 25, 1916) was the last member of the Yahi, a group of the Yana people of the U.S. state of California. Widely acclaimed in his time as the "last wild Indian" in America, Ishi lived most of his life completely outside modern culture. At about 49 years of age, in 1911, he emerged from "the wild" near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral homeland, present-day Tehama County, near the foothills of Lassen Peak, known to Ishi as Wa ganu p'a.

Ishi means "man" in the Yana language. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber gave this name to the man because it was rude to ask someone's name in the Yahi culture. When asked his name, he said: "I have none, because there were no people to name me," meaning that no Yahi had ever spoken his name. He was taken in by anthropologists at the University of California, who both studied him and hired him as a research assistant. He lived most of his remaining five years in a university building in San Francisco.

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14 - Chipitiere - Août 2008.jpg
Native village of Chipitiere, in the Cultural Zone of Manu National Park, Peru
image credit: Martin St-Amant

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