In the past, Native Americans communicated in three different ways. Although the tribes varied, they all used some form of spoken language, pictographs and sign language.Continue Reading
The spoken language varied among the major tribes, and within each tribe, different dialects developed. For instance, even though the Mohawk and the Cherokee people lived hundreds of miles apart, they both spoke dialects of the Iroquois language. Because Native Americans did not have a written language, they used pictures, often drawn on hides or bark, to explain what they meant. People also used hand sign language when communicating with tribes of a different language. During the day, they would build a large, smoky fire to draw attention to themselves. At night, they would create a large fire that could be seen long distances away. To increase the range of their signals, the Native Americans would use copper or mica mirrors to reflect the glow of the fire.
Because the tribes had varying methods of communication, they were able to be in contact with tribes who were both different from them and lived far away. In modern times, Native Americans still communicate with other tribes, and non-natives using both written and spoken English, even as they work to keep the old ways of communication alive.Learn more about US History
Some researchers believe the first Native Americans were semi-nomadic groups from Central Asia who followed migrating herds across a land bridge from Siberia into Alaska toward the end of the last Ice Age. Archaeologists call this group the “Clovis-culture” after the discovery of artifacts near Clovis, New Mexico.Full Answer >
Navajo Native Americans wore two-piece aprons, breechcloths, animal skins, deerskin shirts and moccasins. The clothing evolved over time from the primitive clothing of the ancient Navajo to the more elaborate clothing worn during the 1800s and 1900s.Full Answer >
Some of the materials that Native Americans made their dwellings out of are wood, buffalo hide and grasses. The types of dwellings built out of wood included the wigwam and the longhouse. The Algonquin tribes who inhabited the northern territories of North America generally built wigwams.Full Answer >
Many white reformers believed that Native Americans should assimilate into white culture by giving up their own cultures and traditions. This goal was largely accomplished by the forced removal of Native American children from their homes.Full Answer >