About Native Americans

Native Americans

Native Americans

Native Americans who lived near the Great Lakes often fished by torchlight. The light drew fish to the surface of the water. Then they could be caught with spears.

preparing buffalo

This painting shows Native American women of the Great Plains preparing buffalo skin. They used buffalo skin to make clothing or coverings for tipis (the cone-shaped tents shown in the background).

inuit ice

The Inuit are Native Americans who live in the icy Arctic. Their traditional diet consists mainly of fish and seals. Here, an Inuit man fishes through a hole in the ice.

hopi farmers

The Hopi are Native Americans who live in the American Southwest. For centuries, the Hopi have survived by growing corn in the harsh, dry climate of the area.

iroquoris village

Iroquois tribes lived in villages of longhouses, large, bark-covered houses. To defend their villages against enemies, they sometimes erected palisades, tall walls made from sharpened logs stuck upright in the earth.

ottawa village

This illustration shows a traditional village of the Ottawa, a group of native people who lived in Canada. The cone-shaped tents, called wigwams, were made by covering pole frames with tree bark or animal hides.

wanapum mat house

The Wanapum peoples who lived along the Columbia River in the Northwest constructed houses of reed mats. A frame of wooden poles supports the house.

horse travios

Native Americans of the Great Plains often carried their belongings with a travois, a sled made of two poles and a hide-covered platform. The travois was pulled by a horse or dog and used to carry clothing, food, and other loads.

traditional crow cloth

The Crow Indians originally lived on the Great Plains. This Crow dress, daing from 1900, is decorated with elk teeth and carved bone.


inuit man

The Inuit people live in the Arctic. Because the Arctic is so cold, the Inuit wear warm clothes made from animal skin and fur.

baby in cradleboard

Many Native Americans used cradleboards to carry their babies and keep them warm and safe. Cradleboards were made from a wooden frame and had a cloth enclosure for the baby. A mother would carry the cradleboard on her back to free her hands while she worked.

kwakuital mask

This mask was made by the Kwakiutl people in the Pacific Northwest. It represents Hamatsa, a man-eating spirit in Kwakiutl mythology.

inuit song

Music and poetry are very important to the Inuit people. The Inuit often use songs to tell stories. This song tells of a young man’s first hunting trip.

navajo corn song

The Navajo people have traditional songs for corn grinding, games, social dances, and other occasions. Corn-grinding songs, like this one, are rarely performed today because most Navajo buy cornmeal in stores.

choctaw game

Native Americans have played the game of lacrosse for centuries. This painting shows an 1834 lacrosse game held by the Choctaw people in Oklahoma. As many as 700 men tried to catch a ball with their netted sticks and throw it between the poles to score a goal.

low a medicine man

Most Native American tribes had religious leaders called medicine men, or shamans. They used their skills to try to cure illness, improve harvests, or bring rainfall. This portrait shows a medicine man of the Iowa people.

the trial of tears

In the 1830s, the United States government forced many Native Americans to move to Indian Territory. This territory later became part of the state of Oklahoma. The march to Indian Territory became known as the Trail of Tears.

sitting bull

Sitting Bull became a chief of the Sioux Indians at age 22. In the 1860s and 1870s, he fought to protect the Native American way of life from white settlers.
pow wow
The Shinnecock people of New York State hold a powwow, or gathering of Native American tribes, every year. The powwow features singing, dancing, and arts and crafts.


Native Americans

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