American Tribes - N
A tribe from eastern Texas, their name means "blackberry place" in the
Caddo language. The Nabedache was the western branch of the Hasinai
branch of the Caddo Confederacy. Their traditional territory was
located between the Neches and Trinity Rivers. European contract
brought devastating diseases, and the Nabedache suffered an epidemic
in 1690-91. In the ensuing century, their principal village, was 12–15
miles west of the Neches River. The tribe moved further up the Neches
between 1779 and 1784. Ultimately, they were forced to relocate to the
Wichita Reservation in Indian Territory in the 19th century. Today
they are enrolled in the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.
Nacisi - Also known as Nacassa and
Nahacassi, this tribe was probably a Caddoan group. They lived on the
Red River in Louisiana. In 1790 they had moved out of that area and
were under the jurisdiction of the Nacogdoche Indians in Texas.
Nacogdoche - The Nacogdoche are a
Caddoan tribe of the Hasinai group in eastern Texas who lived in the
vicinity of present day Nacogdoches in the 17th and 18th centuries. In
1716 the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Nacogdoches Mission was
established in the principal Nacogdoche settlement and was
intermittently maintained until 1773. The tribe was greatly reduced by
disease and warfare by 1800. Many of the Nacogdoche were absorbed by
the population of the Spanish settlement established at Nacogdoches in
1779, while others lost their identity among other nearby Hasinai
tribes. Descendants of the Nacogdoche Indians are probably included in
these Hasinai survivors, who today live in Caddo County, Oklahoma.
aka: Yankton, Yanktonai -
is the name they give themselves and means "Allies" or "Confederates,"
expressing their intimate relationship with the Dakota and Lakhota
Sioux tribes. The Yankton lived in the southern part of what is now
South Dakota, and the Yanktonai lived to the north. They lived in
teepees and were in most other respects of the Plains Culture. They
generally displaced the more sedentary Arikara in the north, in the
south they fought the Pawnee. They now live on the Crow-Creek and the
Lower Brule Reservations in central South Dakota.
Naltunnetunne - An Athapascan tribe
formerly living on the coast of Oregon between the Tututni and the
Chetco tribes, their name means "people among the mushrooms. They had
a dialect distinct from that of the Tututni that is no longer
spoken. Like many other West Coast Indian tribes, the Naltunnetunne
Indians were relocated to the Siletz Reservation in Oregon during the
1800's, where they were merged with other native peoples. In 1877 the
numbered 77 people.
- Originally, the Nanticoke
lived in Delaware and Maryland.
The Nanticoke people
were known for their sympathy to escaped slaves, many of whom they
sheltered. Today, many
Nanticoke people still live in Delaware, while others have joined
Delaware (Lenape) and Munsee groups
in their forced migrations.
Napissa - This tribe was united with
the Chickasaw living in adjoining villages and speaking the same or a
similar language. They isappeared from history early in the 18th
century, probably absorbed by the Chickasaw
Nanatsoho - Part of the
Kadohadacho branch of the Caddo Confederacy, the Nanatsoho lived at
the border of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. During the late
17th and early 18th centuries, they settled along the Great Bend of
the Red River, in present day Bowie and Red River Counties. Henri
Joutel, a French adventurer, was the first known European to have
contact with the tribe in 1687. Ultimately, they assimilated into
other Kadohadacho tribes in the 19th century and are enrolled in the
Caddo Nation of Oklahoma today.
Napochi - A Muskogean tribe, they lived
near the Coosa river in Alabama. In 1560 they were known to have been
at war with the Coças (Creek). Sometimes known as the Napochee, they
were relatives of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes. The Napochi no
longer exist as a distinct tribe and are be believed to have merged
into the Chickasaw, Choctaw and/or Acolapissa tribes.
Narragansett - There were more than 10,000 Narragansett in the
early 1600s but this had dropped to half that number by 1674.
Narragansett lost almost 20% of their population in a single battle
with the English in December of 1675. Massacre and starvation soon
killed most of the others. By 1682 less than 500 Narragansett
remained. They were allowed to settle with the Eastern Niantic on a
reservation at Charlestown, Rhode Island. Though increasingly racially
intermixed, the Narragansett have been able to maintain their
reservation, organization and population through the years. Federally
recognized since 1983, the Narragansett tribal rolls currently list
over 2,400 members, most of whom still reside in Rhode Island.
Natchez - The
Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the
Natchez Bluffs area, near the present-day city of Natchez,
Mississippi. They were a socially advanced people whose language
has no known affinities. The Natchez are noted for having distinct
social classes which dictated their responsibilities and privileges.
Male offspring were of the class next below that of their father,
whereas female offspring retained the status of their mothers. In
1729, they had a number of battles with the French and afterwards
their social system collapsed and the survivors were either enslaved
by the French or given refuge by the
Today, most Natchez families and communities are found in
mainly within the Cherokee and Creek nations. The last
speaker of the language died in 1965.
From Louisiana this tribe was part of the Caddo Confederacy. In the
early 17th century they were joined by some of the remnants of the
Kadohadacho, a tribe with many members who had been killed or enslaved
by the Chickasaw. They settled on the Cane River around present day
Natchitoches, Louisiana, which is a city named after the tribe. The
Natchitoches do not exist as a distinct tribe today. They merged
together with other Caddoan tribes in the 1700's. They are enrolled in
the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma today.
Nauset - Shortly after Columbus'
voyage to the New World in 1492, a steady stream of European
explorers, fishermen, and adventurers began regular visits to the
coast of New England. Located on a landmark as obvious as Cape Cod,
the Nauset had contact with Europeans at an early date, but these
first meetings were not always friendly. Through the
years, the native community at Mashpee has become associated with the
Wampanoag, although many of its members are descendents of the Nauset.
The current population is about 1,100.
Navajo stringing a bow, 1913, photo by Roland Reed.
This image available for
- Native Navajo economy relied on agriculture and livestock such as sheep,
goats and horses. They planted fields of corn, beans and squash and
practiced hunting and gathering to obtain even more plant foods.
life became difficult after western contact. The whites wanted them to
stop raising sheep because of soil erosion and actually killed many of
livestock. With the loss of their sheep, they did not know how to
support themselves. Many Navajo
left the government reservation to seek wage labor. Some served as
migrant workers in seasonal harvesting, others went to cities for
employment in factories, while others helped with railroad
construction and operations. Located in northern
today accept changes made in the past and have made every effort to
create a promising future for themselves.
Neusiok - Also known as the Neuse tribe,
they were thought to have been of Iroquoian stock. In 1584 they
occupied the country on the south side of lower Neuse river, within
the present Craven and Carteret Counties, North Carolina. They were at
war with the more southerly coast tribes. In the later colonial period
the Indians of the same region were commonly known as Neuse Indians
and had dwindled by the year 1700 to 15 warriors in two towns,
Chattooka and Rouconk. They probably disappeared by incorporation with
Neutrals - The tribe was
originally located in southern Ontario north of Lake Erie. Their territory
also included a some of western New York (east and south of Niagara Falls)
and a portion of southeastern Michigan near Detroit. In 1641 2,000
warriors of the Neutrals attacked a large, fortified Asistagueronon
village in central Michigan (presumed by location to have been Mascouten).
After a ten-day siege, the village was overrun, and 800 prisoners taken.
Women and children were taken back to the Neutrals' villages, but the men
were blinded and then left to wander aimlessly in the woods until they
starved to death. Eventually, the tribe drifted south, migrating into
several other tribes. Some of the blood of the Neutrals probably
still flows in the veins of the Seneca in
Neketemeuk - Thought to have been a
Salishan tribe who lived above the Dalles, Oregon. Later historians
discredited the existence of an independent tribe of this name.
Nemalquinner - A Chinookan tribe,
they lived at the falls of the Willamette, in Oregon when they were met by
Lewis and Clark in 1806. They also had a temporary house on the north end
of Sauvies Island. They numbered 200 in 4 houses.
Nespelem - A small Salishan tribe of
Washington state, they are relatives of the Okanagan tribe and speak the
same language. In the 1800's, many other native tribes of Oregon were
moved onto Nespelem land by the US government, which eventually became the
intertribal Colville Reservation, where most Nespelem descendants still
Perce - The largest ethnic
group in the Columbia Plateau, in western
and south east
Nez Perce were closely
related to the Cayuse, Tenino and
Umatilla tribes to their west. Their name means "pierced noses," given
to them by French traders. Acquiring horses in the mid 1700s, they
quickly became known for their outstanding horsemanship. Friendly
with the white man at first, this changed when the United States withdrew
their reservation status of the Wallowa Valley in northeastern
Chief Joseph soon led his band in the
Nez Perce War. In
1877, his band was forced to retreat from the
tribe, traveling 1,800
miles with the U.S. Army in pursuit. The army caught up with the band in
Chief Joseph surrendered. In a
speech that has become famous, he concluded with "Hear me, my chiefs. I am
tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will
fight no more, forever."
Nipmuc - The Nipmuc generally lived
along rivers or on the shores of small lakes and seem to have occupied the
area for as far back as can be told. Like other New England Algonquin, the
Nipmuc were agricultural. They changed locations according to the seasons,
but always remained within the bounds of their own territory. Part of
their diet came from hunting, fishing, and gathering of wild food, but as
a rule they did not live as well as the coastal tribes who had the luxury
of seafood. Each group was ruled by its own sachem, but there was very
little political organization beyond the village or band level. Only
two identifiable groups of Nipmuc have survived to the present day. Both
are recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have nearly 1,400
members, 250 of whom live in Connecticut (which has not recognized the
Nipmuc). The Hassanamisco have a small two acre reservation at Grafton,
Massachusetts. The Chaubunagungamaug have a privately owned ten acre
reservation in northeast Connecticut. Although both groups have applied,
neither is federally recognized.
Nootka - A confederacy of twenty or more tribes of mountainous
western Vancouver Island who all speak closely related dialects belonging
to the Wakashan language family. They had a hunter-gatherer economy with
extensive reliance upon fishing, including the hunting of whales. Well
crafted dugout canoes were used to ply the ocean. The Sky and Thunder gods
were important in their religious beliefs, as were the Wolf Spirits. At a
certain point in their lives, Nootka boys were abducted by men
impersonating Wolf Spirits. They were taken away and taught wolf songs and
dances. In a mock battle before men of the tribe rescued their boys and
drove away the Wolf Spirits. The Nootka also practiced the ritual giving
away of wealth known as "potlatch," the word itself coming from the Nootka
patchatl, "sharing." Today the Nootka live in 18 villages scattered about
This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
Navajo weaving, 1915, photo by William J. Carpenter.
This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
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