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Native Americans today, live within the scope of the current United States including the indigenous peoples of Hawaii and Alaska comprises of very many, specific tribes, ethnic groups and bands. Many of these people survive as intact and sovereign nations. Natives refer to themselves differently based on the region and the generation from which they come from. Some of the oldest natives talk of themselves as being “Indians” while the recent natives have referred to themselves as “indigenous”. There has been a lot of controversy revolving around these terms and the term “Native America” has been officially used by major press houses and by some scholars and academicians. However, this group of Native Americans does not include Native Hawaiians or some Alaskan Natives like the Inuit or Aleut people among others. The native individuals from Canada are called First Nations.
The initial evidence of indigenous people inhabiting the North America shows that they migrated to that region from Siberia more than 11,000 years ago. There is a high chance that they crossed the Bering Land Bridge which existed during the Ice Age. Following that time in history, a lot more waves of people’s movement and migration occurred. This included many people’s groups coming from South America and Asia. In simple terms, the Native Americans lived well in harmony and continued to prosper up to about the 15th century when the Europeans first came on the North American shores. During that time, horses were transported over, which started to spread diseases among the land’s natives. Owing to the lack of immunity against such peculiar diseases, many started to die from chicken pox and measles. Later on, the Europeans would start to set up farming lands and homes for themselves.
Over the years, the Native Americans have continued to decrease in numbers despite being a very populous group initially. Today, they are only about 1% of the total population of the United States. Those with claims of being Native Americans have lived in marked Indian reservations. The Native American symbol is used in various national sports teams as a charm. The suicide rate realized among the Native Americans has increased over the years. However, they pride in their ancestral conventions, still practicing the art, ceremonies and music that occurred many years ago. There are still an important group of people to this age and with the opening of a museum in 2004 in honor of their heritage, their contribution to the American society does not seem to end any time soon.