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What are some facts about native American tribes?

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Quick Answer

The 2010 census reported that the largest Native American tribe in North America is the Cherokee, followed by the Navajo and Choctaw tribes. Historians believe that the U.S. Constitution was influenced by or based on the Iroquois Confederacy, though the contribution was not officially recognized until 1988.

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Full Answer

Some tribes, including the Cherokee, had matrilineal family units; women held leadership positions, with those who wielded especially great influence becoming known as the "Ghigau," the Cherokee word for "beloved woman." The word has also been translated as "war woman" and was awarded to female fighters who distinguished themselves.

Evidence has suggested that the Vikings and some Native tribes may have encountered each other at least 500 years before Christopher Columbus. The oldest cotton cloth in the world, found in Mexico, is at least 8,000 years ago and has been traced to local tribes.

The iconic uniforms of the British army during the American Revolution achieved their distinct red shade by using cochineal, an extremely valuable 16th-century export from America. The dye was made from dried cactus-eating insects by Native Americans, who developed the process long ago.

Native American words from various languages have found their way into the English lexicon, including but not limited to barbecue, chocolate, squash and hurricane.

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