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Native American Tribes - E-I

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Erie - With French contact limited to one brief meeting, very little is known for certain about the Erie except they were important, and they were there. The Dutch and Swedes also heard about them through their trade with the Susquehannock, but never actually met the Erie. All information about their social and political organization has come from early Jesuit accounts of what they had been told by the Huron.


Eyak - The Eyak, literally "inhabitants of Eyak Village" are a Native American indigenous group traditionally located on the Copper River Delta and near the town of Cordova, Alaska. The Eyak's territory reached from present day Cordova east to the Martin River and north to Miles Glacier. The Eyak initially moved out of the interior down the Copper River to the coast. There they harvested the rich salmon fishing grounds. When the Russians arrived they recognized the Eyak as a distinct culture and described their territory on their maps. They also traded with the Eyak and sent them missionaries. Because of their small population they were often raided and their territory boundaries were under pressure from the Chugach to the west. The Tlingit, on the east side, had better relations with the Eyak and this led to intermarriage and assimilation of many Eyak. This pushed the Eyak's territorial boundary further west and contributed to the Eyak's decline. When the Americans arrived they started canneries and competed with the Eyak for salmon. This combined with integration with, and diseases introduced by non-native settlers led to the further decline. As populations decreased the remaining Eyak began to congregate near the village of Orca. In 1880 the population of the village of Alaganik was recorded at 117 and by 1890 it had declined to 48.In 1900 total population was estimated at 60. As more settlers arrived this last village became the town of Cordova. As of 1996 there were 120 living, partial Eyak descendents. The last full blood Eyak died in 2007.

Eno - A tribe associated with the Adshusheer and Shakori in North Carolina in the 17th century, historians belive it doubtful that the Eno and the Shakori where of Siouan stock, as they seem to have differed in physique and habits from their neighbors. However, their alliances were all with Siouan tribes. Little is known of them as they disappeared from history as tribal bodies about 1720, having been incorporated with the Catawba on the south or with the Saponi and their confederates on the north, although they still retained their distinct dialect in 1743. The Eno and Shakori were first mentioned in 1654, when the Tuscarora tirbe described them as  living next to the Shakori, “a great nation ” by whom the northern advance of the Spaniards was valiantly resisted. The next mention of these two tribes was in 1672 stating they lived south of the Occaneechi about the headwaters of Tar and Neuse rivers. The general locality is still indicated in the names of Eno River and Shocco Creek. In 1701, the Eno and Shakori confederated and the Adshusheer united with them in the same locality. Their village, called Adshusheer, was on Eno River, about 14 miles east of the Occaneechi village, which was near the site of present-day Hillsboro.


Eskimo - See Inuit

Esselen NativeEsselen - A tribe of Californian Indians, constituting the Esselenian family, most of its members who were on the founding of Carmelo mission, near Monterey, California in 1770, which resulted, as was the case with the Indians at all the Californian missions, their rapid decrease  A portion of the tribe seems to have been taken, to the mission at Soledad, for Arroyo de la Cuesta in 1821 says of an Esselen vocabulary obtained by himself, “Huelel language of Soledad; it is from the Esselenes, who are already few.” The original territory of the Esselen lay along the coast south of Monterey, though its exact limits are diversely given. Experts estimate there were about 500 to 1200 individuals living in the steep, rocky region at the time of the arrival of the Spanish.


Almost nothing is known of the mode of life and practices of the Esselen, but they were certainly similar to those of the neighboring tribes. What little is known in regard to the Esselen language shows it to have been simple and regular and of a type similar to most of the languages of central California, but, notwithstanding a few words in common with Costanoan, of entirely unrelated vocabulary and therefore a distinct stock.


About 460 individuals have identified themselves as descendants of the original Esselen people and banded to together form a tribe. The Department of the Interior has set aside 45 acres of Fort Ord that the tribe can use to build a cultural center and museum. But they must first obtain federal recognition. In 2010 the Esselen Nation petitioned the federal government for recognition as a tribe but the Bureau of Indian Affairs said they didn't meet the says the formal criteria.



Eyeish - A tribe of the Caddo confederacy, they spoke a dialect, now extinct, very different from the dialects of the other tribes; hence, it is probable they were part of an older confederacy which was incorporated in the Caddo when the latter became dominant. The early home of the tribe was on Eyeish Creek between the Sabine and Neches Rivers of East Texas. Spanish explorer Luis de Moscoso Alvarado led his troops through their country in 1542, encountering herds of buffalo. According to early documentation, the Eyeish were not on good terms with the tribes west of them on the Trinity River, nor with those on Red River in the north at the time the French entered their country late in the 17th century. The mission of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores was established among them by the Franciscans who accompanied Don Domingo Ramon on his tour in 1716-17. They were, however, not open to Spanish influence, for after 50 years of missionary effort, the mission register showed only 11 baptisms, 7 interments, and 3 marriages performed at the mission, although the tribe had not been backward in receiving material aid from the missionaries.

Father Gaspar José de Solís reported in 1768 that this tribe was the worst in Texas: drunken, thievish, licentious, impervious to religious influence, and dangerous to the missionaries. Their villages were not far from the road between the French post at Natchitoches and the Spanish post at Nacogdoches, and the tribe was thus exposed to the contentions of the period and to the ravages of small-pox, measles, and other new diseases introduced by the white race. In the latter part of the 18th century the Eyeish were placed under the jurisdiction of the officials residing at Nacogdoches and in 1779, it was reported there were some 20 families and that they were hated by both Indians and Spaniards. In 1785 there were reported to have been 300 people living on the Atoyac River, opposite the Nacogdoches river.

In 1805 John Sibley stated that only 20 members of the tribe were then living; but in 1828 they were said to number 160 families between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers. These differences in the estimates would seem to indicate that the Eyeish were considerably scattered during this period. Those who survived the vicissitudes which befell the Caddo in the 19th century joined with their kindred on the Wichita Reservation in Oklahoma. Nothing definite is known of their customs and beliefs, which, however, were probably similar to those entertained and practiced by other tribes of the confederacy, and no definite knowledge of their divisions and totems has survived.

Five Civilized Tribes - A group of southeastern tribes noted by whites for their advanced culture. All were Muskogean speaking peoples except for the Cherokee. The five tribes included the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole.

Fox - An Algonquian tribe, they were so named, because once while some Wagohugi, members of the Fox clan, were hunting, they met the French, who asked who they were. The Indians gave the name of their clan, and ever since the whole tribe has been known by the name of the Fox. Their own name for themselves is Měshkwa`kihŭg, which means red-earth people" because of the kind of earth from which they are supposed to have been created. They were known to the Chippewa and other Algonquian tribes as Utŭgamig, or "people of the other shore".

Fremont - The Fremont people lived throughout Utah and adjacent areas of Idaho, Colorado and Nevada from 700 to 1300 AD. The culture was named for the Fremont River and its valley in which many of the first Fremont sites were discovered. More ...

Assiniboine and Gros Ventre FlagGros Ventre, aka: Ahe, A'aninin, Ahahnelin, A'ane, Atsina - Pronounced "Grow Vaunt," the word means "big belly" in French. No one knows exactly why the French called them this. The Gros Ventre were kinfolk of the Arapaho, and called themselves A'aninin, the White Clay People. The Gros Ventre were probably original residents of Minnesota and North Dakota, but, as European expansion pushed them westward, the tribe migrated to Montana, where most of their descendants still live today.

Guale - Guale was an historic Native American chiefdom of Mississippian culture peoples located along the coast of present-day Georgia and the Sea Islands. Spanish Florida established its Roman Catholic missionary system in the chiefdom in the late 16th century. During the late 17th century and early 18th century, Guale society was shattered by extensive epidemics of new infectious diseases and attacks by other tribes. Some of the surviving remnants migrated to the mission areas of Spanish Florida while others remained near the Georgia coast. Joining with other survivors, they became known as the Yamasee, an ethnically mixed group that emerged in a process of ethnogenesis. See More HERE.

Hidatsa - Also known as the Minitari and a band of the Gros Ventre, the Hidatsa spoke a Siouan language. Occupying several agricultural villages on the upper Missouri River in North Dakota, they were in close alliance with the Arikara and the Mandan tribes. Hidatsa villages, with circular earth lodges, were enclosed by an earthen wall. Their survival depending upon the cultivation of corn and an annual organized buffalo hunt. They had a complex social organization and elaborate ceremonies, including the sun dance. After the smallpox epidemic of 1837, they moved up the Missouri River and established themselves close to the Fort Berthold trading post. Together with the Arikara and Mandan, many Hidatsa reside on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. More ....

Hohokam - Around 400 B.C., these Indians migrated from northern Mexico and settled at a place now called Snaketown, near Phoenix, Arizona. This group, who lived in pit houses, wisely invented an early form of irrigation, digging canals up to ten miles in length, then damming and directing the water through rows of crops. They made pottery using a unique dye from the saguaro cactus. Their culture lasted almost 2,000 years and are most likely the ancestors of the Pima and Papago tribes.

Hopi FlagHopi - The Hopi occupancy of Arizona makes it the longest authenticated history of occupation of a single area by any Native American tribe in the United States. The Hopi located their villages on mesas for defensive purposes but land surrounding the mesas was also utilized by clans, families, medicinal and religious purposes. While the majority of its land was appropriated by the federal government, they retained 9% of their original holdings which is today the Hopi Reservation. Encompassing some 1.6 million acres, the Hopi headquarters is at Kykotsmovi, ArizonaMore ...


Houma - Originally the Houma were from east central Mississippi and were of the Chakchiuma. By 1682 the Houma had separated from the Chakchiuma and were living a few miles inland from the east bank of the Mississippi River just below the present border between Mississippi and Louisiana. Over time, they drifted south into Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes southwest of New Orleans. Most of their descendents are still there today and live in or in the vicinity of Montagne, Golden Meadow, and Dulac-Grand Caillou.


Hualupai, aka: Walapai - The Hualapai, meaning "People of the Tall Pine," have lived along the Colorado and the Grand Canyon for centuries. The Hualapai are descendants of the "Pai," whose earliest physical remains have been found along the Willow Beach bank near the Hoover Dam, dating back as early as A.D. 600. Traditional hunters and gatherers, they were first discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500's. From 1865-1868, the Hualapai were involved in the Hualapai War, as a result of encroaching settlers upon their lands. The Hualapai Reservation was established by an executive order in 1883, when the tribe numbered around 700. Today, the Hualapai live on a reservation encompassing a million acres along 108 miles of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Their tribal capital is located at Peach Springs, Arizona, with a total population of some 1,600 members. Their economy is based on tourism, river-rafting, cattle-ranching, hunting expeditions, and timber-cutting, as well as crafting of traditional and modern folk arts.


Huron - Many people today do not realize that Huron and Wyandot are the same people. Originally, more than a dozen Iroquoian-speaking tribes of southern Ontario, they referred to themselves as Wendat meaning "island people" or "dwellers on a peninsula." Rendered variously as: Guyandot, Guyandotte, Ouendat, and Wyandotte. The French, however, called members of a four-tribe confederacy Huron, a derogatory name derived from their word "hure" meaning rough or ruffian. This has persisted as their usual name in Canada.


lllinois/Illini - The destruction of the Illini after contact with white settlers is one of the great tragedies in North American history. By the time American settlements reached them during the early 1800s, the Illini were nearly extinct and replaced by other tribes. For the most part, the blame for this could not be placed on a war with the Europeans or the Illini refusal to adapt themselves to a changing situation. Actually, few tribes had adapted as much or attached themselves more closely to the French. This made it easy to place responsibility for the fate of the Illini on their native enemies, or perhaps even nature itself. The story of the Illini's decline is a chilling indication of how the European presence, regardless of purpose or intention, unleashed destructive forces upon North America's native peoples which reached far beyond the immediate areas of their colonization.

Inuit/Eskimo -  The Inuit are the indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Alaska, Greenland, and Canada, with close relatives in Russia. They are united by a common cultural heritage and a common language. They have over the years been called "Eskimo,” but prefer to becalled by their own name "Inuit," meaning simply "people." Traditionally, they have relied on fish, sea mammals, and land animals for food, heat, light, clothing, tools, and shelter. According to archaeological research, the origins of the Inuit lie in northwestern Alaska where they lived in houses made of driftwood and sod. Beginning about a thousand years ago, the Inuit began to move eastward into Arctic Canada. Within a few hundred years, they had replaced the earlier inhabitants of the region, a now-extinct people known as Tunit. By about 1250 AD, the first Inuit had entered Greenland through the Smith Sound area in the far northwest of the island. Here, they may have first encountered Viking hunters coming from the Norse colonies in southwest Greenland. In many areas, the old sod and whalebone winter houses were abandoned in favor of houses made of blocks of snow. They were easier to build as they could be put up anywhere, even on the sea ice, and required only an hour or two to construct. Today, the Inuit continue to live in the arctic regions, working in all sectors of the economy, though many still supplement their income through hunting. Tourism is a growing industry as guides take tourists on dogsled and hunting expeditions, and work with outfitting organizations.

Iowa/Ioway - Iowa, or Ayuwha, was a term borrowed by the French from the Dakota that signifies "Sleepy-ones." The Iowa people are of Sioux stock and closely related to the Otoe and Missouri tribes. They moved about a great deal, mostly in the states of Iowa and Minnesota. Through various treaties with the U.S. Government they lost their lands in Minnesotaq, Iowa and Missouri. The Ioway practiced farming and lived in villages; however, bands that lived farther west adopted more of the customs of the Plains Indians. In 1836, another treaty assigned part of them a reservation along the Great Nemaha River in present-day Brown County, Kansas and Richardson County, Nebraska. More ...

Innu - The Montagnais and Naskapi have different tribal names but consider themselves part of the same culture, Innu.
The Innu are indigenous people of eastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada. Most Innu people still live in their traditional territory today, which they call Nitassinan.


Iroquois - The Iroquois Indians lived in the Northeastern of the United States, in what is now New York. The Iroquois Indians were actually a "nation" of Indians made up of five tribes, including the Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk. These tribes were hostile and war-like among each other until they joined together to become the "League of the Five Nations." When they were not at war with each other, their primary occupation was clearing fields and building villages. The men carefully removed all facial hair and wore their hair in a Mohawk style. Tattoos were common for both sexes. The Iroquois often practiced torture and ritual cannibalism. There are some 80,000 people in the United States today that claim an Iroquis heritage.


Continued Next Page


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