Native Americans – The First Owners of America

Native Americans, or the indigenous peoples of the Americas, are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America and their descendants. Those who live within the boundaries of the present-day United States are composed of numerous distinct tribes, bands, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as intact, sovereign nations.

Most authorities agree that the first evidence of people inhabiting North America indicates that they migrated here from Eurasia over 13,000 years ago, most likely crossing along the Bering Land Bridge, which existed during the Ice Age. However, some historians believe people migrated into the Americas much earlier, up to 40,000 years ago. These early Paleo-Indians spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes.

Application of the term “Indian” originated with Christopher Columbus, who thought he had arrived in the East Indies in his search for Asia. However, considerable evidence supports successful explorations that led to the Norse settlement of Greenland, the L’Anse aux Meadows settlement in Newfoundland, and potentially others some 500 years before Columbus landed in the Bahamas. From the Native American aspect, many tribes’ oral histories indicate they have lived here since their genesis, as described by many creation myths.

By the time European adventurers arrived in the 15th century, scholars estimate that more than 50 million people were already living in the Americas. Of these, some 10 million lived in the region that would later become the United States. As time passed, these migrants and their descendants pushed south and east, adapting. These new arrivals brought centuries of conflict and adjustment between Old and New World societies. Today, Native Americans account for about 1.5 percent of the United States population, many of whom continue to take pride in their ancestral traditions — still practicing the music, art, and ceremonies that took place many years ago.

Native American Photographic Prints

Native American Photographic Prints

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

May the Warm Winds of Heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your Mocassins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.


Medicine man with patient, by Captain Eastman, C. Schussele Lithograph.

Medicine man with patient, by Captain Eastman, C. Schussele Lithograph.

Ancient & Modern Pueblos – Oldest Cites in the U.S.

Ancient Cities of Native Americans



Disease & Death Comes to the Plains Indians

Ghost Dance – A Promise of Fulfillment

Great Pueblo Revolt

Heroes & Leaders

Indians and Emigrants on the Overland Trails

Indian Horse Culture

Indian Captives

Indian Removal Act of 1830

Indian Wars

Indian Wars Timeline

Indigenous Americans Long Path to U.S. Citizenship

Kachinas of the Puebloans

Lacrosse – Routed in Tribal Tradition


Herbs, Plants & Healing Properties

Medicine According to Cherokee Legend

Cherokee Inspired Natural Remedies (product)

Medicine Bags or Bundles

Medicine Men & Healing Practices

Medicine Wheel & the Four Directions

Native American and Other Ancient Remedies

Native American Smudging

Patent Medicine & the Popular Medicine Show

Mythology and Legends

Native American Archaeological Periods

Native American Facts & Trivia

Native American Photo Galleries

Native American Tribes

List of Native American Tribes

Navajo Long Walk

Notable Native Americans


Quotes – Great Words From Great Americans

The Plight of the Buffalo


Potawatomi Trail of Death

Proverbs & Wisdom

Pueblo and Indian Reservation Etiquette

Pushing the Indians Westward


Rituals and Ceremonies

The Role of Astronomy and Mythology In Native American Culture

Spanish Missions & Presidios

Symbols, Pictographs & Petroglyphs

Tee-Pee Trading Post (products)

Timeline of Events

Totems & Their Meanings

Trail of Tears

Virginia’s Early Relations With Native Americans

Writing Credits

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated March 2023.

See our Native American Photo Galleries HERE