What Are Some Facts About Native Americans for Kids?


Quick Answer

Native American is the name given to the people who were the original inhabitants of North America, having arrived in Alaska at least 12,000 years ago. Upon their arrival they quickly spread throughout the Americas, developing numerous different cultures and ways of life, including tribes such as Cherokee and Seminole.

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Full Answer

Most Native Americans sustained themselves through varying degrees and combinations of hunting, farming, fishing and gathering. The most predominantly farmed crop was corn, known to them as maize; however, they also grew squash, beans, pumpkins, cotton and potatoes. Bison were hunted on a large scale and were not only eaten, but their bones were used for tools, and their hides were used for clothes.

Animal hides were also used to make the famous homes of the nomadic Native Americans, known as teepees. To make these they used wooden poles to make a cone-shaped structure and surrounded it with bison hides. Other tribes, such as the Iroquois of the northeast, lived in larger "Longhouses," made from wood and bark. These could sometimes be over 24 meters long and 5 meters wide. Native Americans were very spiritual people, and their various cultures exhibited countless different forms of spirits and deities. One example is the Great Spirit, who was considered the supreme being that watches over everything and was worshipped by the Sioux and the Algonquian Nations.

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