Some researchers believe that the first people to arrive in the Americas came from Asia 15,000 years ago. Others say that people arrived here as early as 35,000 years ago. Now called Indians or Native Americans, these people formed many different nations and spoke hundreds of different languages. To capture the history and culture of so many in just five sites is impossible, so today's selections are simply a potpourri of interesting Native American topics.
"American Indians have an enduring heritage of connections with the natural universe. These connections are the focus of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's new Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians." Exploring tribes from four different locales, this online exhibit from the well-known Pittsburgh museum concludes: "Though all of these peoples have chosen different pathways and strategies for making a life in their various environments, one similar concept is voiced by all -- that a reciprocal connection exists between people and the rest of the world."
"Native Americans have occupied northern New England for at least 10,000 years. There is no proof these ancient residents were ancestors of the Abenaki, but there is no reason to think they were not." Fifty native tribes (in alpha order from the Abenaki of New England to the Winnebago of Wisconsin) are covered with single paragraph summaries that expand to full page reports.
"The Oneida Indian Nation, one of the original members of the Iroquois Confederacy, enjoys a unique role in America's history having supported the Colonies in the struggle for independence from England. The Nation exists as a sovereign political unit which predates the Constitution of the United States." Great photos and terrific use of 360-degree movies, make this virtual museum site come alive. Best clicks are the Oneida crafts including beadwork, dolls, carvings, and wampum belts.
"The Native Americans of the Plains lived in one of the most well-known shelters, the tepee (also tipi or teepee). The Plains cultures adapted this basic structure because many of these people were hunters, so their houses had to be easily movable. The tepee was an ideal dwelling because it could hold up to the hot weather of the summer months, and the cool weather of the fall and winter months." But contrary to popular culture, not all American Indians lived in tepees. This site from Minnesota State University explains in words and pictures, that outside the Midwest, Indians lived in ice igloos, adobe villages, wooden plank houses and more.
In the early years of the twentieth century, " ... with little scientific training, and only a modicum of outside support, a young music teacher from a respectable Midwestern family vowed to preserve the old Indian songs in wax. Frances Densmore spent her life trying to gather up scraps and artifacts of the old Indian ways, shipping them off to the high ground of the Smithsonian Institution before a tide of American progress rose to carry them away." More than one hundred years later, her incredible recordings and photographs are preserved online in this beautiful site from Minnesota Public Radio.