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North America

North American Indigenous Peoples

North American Indigenous Peoples, the term for all indigenous peoples in North America, also mistakenly called "Indians". The term "Native American" derives from Christoffer Columbus 's belief that the land he had discovered belonged to or was close to India.

In many contexts, the term North American indigenous population will primarily be understood to include people in the United States and Canada, although North America as a geographical term also includes Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. See Abbreviationfinder for acronyms related to the continent of North America.

Anthropologists consider, on the basis of cultural criteria, the Mesoamerican cultural area (which covers most of Mexico and Central America: see Mesoamerica ) as belonging to North America, while the indigenous people of the Caribbean and southern Central America (the east coast of Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as Costa Rica and Panama ) are part of the Circum-Caribbean cultural area and in this cultural-geographical context are more closely associated with South America.

Society, language and identity

Most communities were organized on the basis of kinship. Above all, the nuclear family (mother, father, and child) existed as a base unit - often as an independent household, but it was common among hunters and sanctuaries in the more marginal areas (on the west coast and among indigenous peoples of tundra, plateau - and desert ) to form collaborative units of extended-generation families. These large families acted as independent production and consumption units with little or no contact for much of the year. However, from time to time several family groups could gather for common hunting.

The more settled peoples, i.e. the hunter/fisherman peoples on the northwest coast and the peasant peoples in the south and east, were usually organized into more extensive genealogy groups ( clans and the like). Nevertheless, most were in relatively loosely organized local groups with a recognized cultural and linguistic community, which sometimes provided the basis for an overall performance during seasonal events or when an external enemy threatened.

However, in some places, such as in the southeastern forest area, on the northwest coast and in Mesoamerica, there were ranked and stratified societies based on hierarchically organized genealogies that could be mobilized for specific economic, political or ritual purposes.

Leadership among most hunter and sank people was of an informal and temporary nature. The most skilled hunter and warrior served as an adviser, but he had no firm or lasting authority ; he had to work by example and by persuasion. Similar arrangements also applied, in part, in the plain area until the horse was introduced and pressed by the whites. The new situation led to a stronger military organization with war orders and a marking of the war chief's dignity.

Actual chief judges with hereditary titles and a centralized organization can be found in the southeastern area; here also grew larger alliances. After the arrival of the Europeans, and accelerated by the fur trade that came with them, extensive political and military alliances also developed in the area around the Great Lakes. Urban communities, state formation and empires existed during different historical periods on the American continent - including North America.

About 500 languages were spoken in North America (including Mesoamerica) before the European invasion. Many of the original languages have since disappeared, either because the people who spoke them are gone, or because they have switched to speaking an Indo-European language. In some cases, loss of language has also meant loss of identity. In Mexico and Central America, it has long been common to count groups that have switched to Spanish as " mastiser " or " ladino, " even in areas where no white marriage has taken place. Mastis and ladinos are not usually counted as indigenous people.

In the United States and Canada, there have in many ways been the opposite. There are many nations that stubbornly hold on to identity, even though their original language is no longer in use. Some have also managed to maintain their affiliation, even though there has been a significant infighting with whites. In Canada, there is also a group of mixed French-Indigenous people, called métis ("mastiser").

Countries in North America
  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Bahamas
  3. Barbados
  4. Belize
  5. Bermuda
  6. Canada
  7. Costa Rica
  8. Cuba
  9. Dominica
  10. Dominican Republic
  11. El Salvador
  12. Grenada
  13. Greenland
  14. Guatemala
  15. Haiti
  16. Honduras
  17. Jamaica
  18. Mexico
  19. Nicaragua
  20. Panama
  21. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  22. Saint Lucia
  23. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  24. Trinidad and Tobago
  25. United States

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