MSN Home  |  My MSN  |  Hotmail
Sign in to Windows Live ID Web Search:   
go to MSNGroups 
Free Forum Hosting
Important Announcement Important Announcement
The MSN Groups service will close in February 2009. You can move your group to Multiply, MSN’s partner for online groups. Learn More
The Wakan 
What's New
  Welcome to the Wakan Circle  
  Management list & Msn Code of Conduct  
  What is The Red Road  
  Dedicated to Our Ancestors  
  In Loving Memory.... Mamthesonak....5..1..2008  
  Happy Thanksgiving to All  
  Wakan CHAT ROOM #! 1  
  Cherokee ? Board  
  Indian News  
  American Indian Radio  
  Reservation Help  
  Prayer & Healing  
  Prayer Ties  
  Wakan Journeys  
  Mourning Place  
  OurCreator OurStrength  
  Spirit of Red Man  
  Abuse Shelter  
  Recovery Room  
  Warning Message>  
  Culture& History  
  Medicine Wheel & Shield  
  Earth Wheel,  
  Daily Motivation  
  Elder Meditation  
  Healing Stones  
  Words of Wisdom  
  A Womans World  
  Women Warriors  
  Women Of Courage  
  American IndianWomenRights  
  Herbs, Oils, Etc  
  Medicinal Herbs.  
  Natural Soaps  
  Plants & Culture  
  Wakan Medicines  
  Sacred Animals  
  Animal Medicines Etc  
  Totems & meanings  
  All Totems  
  Pow Wow Updates  
  Events Updates  
  POW WOW Guidelines  
  Leonard Peltier  
  Dreamcatchers Information  
  Your Dreams  
  Indian Music +++  
  Childrens Corner  
  Childrens Board  
  Our Storytellers  
  More Storyteller  
  Crafty Corner  
  Picture of Members  
  Our Poetry Page  
  Annie's Poetry  
  Heart Songs  
  Annie's Country Kitchen  
  Old&New Remedies  
  Legends - Tales  
  White Buffalo Legend  
  White BuffaloECT  
  The Sacred PIPE  
  Age of the Sacred Pipe".  
  Sweat Lodge  
  Vision Quests  
  Smudging ect.  
  Our Elders  
  Trail Of Tears  
  TrailOfTears Park(Powwow)  
  Cherokee Nation...Trail Map  
  Samuel Cloud turned 9 years old on the Trail  
  Cherokee Rose +  
  Cherokee History  
  Cherokee..Lessons on Life  
  Cherokee Sayings  
  The Cherokee Belief System  
  Cherokee Traditions  
  Cherokee Tribes  
  Our Cherokee Language  
  Cherokee Moons ect  
  Cherokee Seasons  
  Seven Clans of Cherokee Society  
  Cherokee history  
  Cherokee Words  
  Cherokee Nation  
  Building Body and Mind  
  Goal of Indian Spirituality  
  American IndianCodeOfEthics  
  Indian Beliefs  
  Maps of our Nations  
  Indian Prayers  
  American IndianLegends  
  Battle inHistory  
  American Indian Philosophy  
  Indian Poetry  
  Indian Authors  
  American Indians Poems  
  Great Quotes  
  American Indian Quotes  
  American Indian Quotes (more)  
  American Indian Spirituality #1  
  American Indian Spirituality# 2  
  Many Legends  
  Indian Heritage  
  Indian Genealogy  
  American Indian Religion  
  More Religion  
  Indian Beliefs  
  Indian Languages  
  Navajo Words  
  Blackfoot Words  
  Lakotah Words..  
  Ojibwe Words  
  Mohawk Words  
  Cherokee Lessons  
  Strength Of Our Ancestors  
  Our Military  
  Code Talkers  
  Todays History  
  Our Founding Fathers  
  The Six Nations:  
  History of Native Americans  
  In Honor of my People!!!!!  
  In Remembrance of The People  
  OUR LAND WAS TAKE----------------(message from our people)  
  Sign Language  
  The DRUM  
  Power of the Flute  
  Ceremonial Dance  
  Spiritual Warrior  
  Indian Lands  
  Indian Spirituality.message  
  Spiritual Animals  
  Indian Myths ect  
  Indian Tribes !  
  Black Indians  
  Indian Tribes  
  Indian Quotes  
  Chiefs ect  
  Native Men  
  Todays Indians  
  Are You Indian????  
  Tribal Colors  
  Seven Teachings  
  Sacred Prayers ect  
  Our Prayer Carriers  
  The Philosophies  
  Moons ect.  
  Native American Code Of Ethics  
  Mother Earths Lament  
  Copyright Corner © Disclaimer...Copyright info  
  ALL Links Pages  
  Other Websites Links ect  
  Banner Exchange  
  Members Birthdays  
  World Clock & More  
  PSP Makers groups Links  
Childrens Corner : Frequently Asked Questions about American Indians
Choose another message board
(1 recommendation so far) Message 1 of 1 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameAnnie-LL  (Original Message)Sent: 6/3/2007 3:33 AM

Frequently Asked Questions about American Indians

Q: What is the difference between "American Indian," "Native American," "First Nations," and "indigenous people"? Which one should I use?
A: "American Indians," "Native Americans," and "First Nations people" are synonyms. They all refer to the same people. "Indigenous people" is a broader term that refers to any culture that lived in a place first. So Native Americans are all indigenous people, but not all indigenous people are Native Americans. For example, native African cultures are also indigenous.

Most indigenous people in the US use "American Indian," and most indigenous people in Canada use "First Nations." "Native Americans" or "indigenous Americans" are frequently used to refer to people in both countries. Some native people have a preference for one term or the other, but none of them are offensive. Most Native Americans identify themselves primarily by their tribe (such as Cherokee) anyway.

It's better to avoid using "Red Indian," for two reasons: first, this name originally referred to a specific tribe, the Beothuks, who painted their bodies and faces with red ochre. So it may cause confusion if you use it to refer to all Native Americans. Second, the term "Red Indians" has been used by racists in the United States, so using it may hurt somebody's feelings or give them the wrong impression. Please do not call native people "savages," "primitives" or "redskins." Those are always rude words.

Q: Are Inuit/Eskimos Native American? What about Hawaiians? What about the Metis?
A: No. Like the Native Americans, these three groups are indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States. However, they have unique histories and cultures and consider themselves distinct from Native Americans. The Inuit are polar people who live in the far north of Canada, Alaska, and Greenland. (The word "Eskimo" is considered rude by many Inuit.) The Hawaiians are Polynesian people who are considered indigenous Americans for political reasons (the Hawaiian islands are very far from the North American mainland, but were annexed by the United States). The Metis are mixed-race people whose ancestors were primarily Cree Indians and French Canadians. They have developed a unique culture from these two influences.

The Native Americans, Metis, Inuit, and Hawaiians all face similar problems for their languages and cultures, but they consider themselves distinct peoples.

Q: What was Native American culture like in the past? What is it like now?
A: There are hundreds of indigenous American cultures, from California to Maine, from the Yukon to Argentina. These cultures can be as different from each other as Chinese culture is from French. If you want to learn about Native American culture, the best idea is to pick a specific Native American tribe to learn about. Then, if you are very interested, you can learn about a second tribe and compare their societies and traditions.

Q: What did Native Americans look like in the past? What were their clothes and hairstyles like?
A: They didn't all look the same. For one thing, different tribes had different typical clothing styles. As you can imagine, Gwich'in people in Alaska didn't dress the same as Calusa Indians in southern Florida! For another thing, individual Native American people in the same tribe often looked quite different from each other. All their clothes were made by hand, and they were usually decorated with designs, beadwork, and other art, so no two people in the tribe had the same dress. But here are some pictures of Indian clothes and moccasins to give you a general idea of what traditional Native American clothing looked like. And here is a page showing several different Native American hair styles

Q: How many Native Americans are there today?
A: According to the census reports, there are about 2 million Native Americans in the United States and 1 million in Canada.

Q: How many Native American languages are there, and how many people speak them?
A: There are about 150 Native American languages in Canada and the United States, and another 600-700 languages in Central and South America. We don't know exactly how many languages there are because not everyone agrees on which languages are unique. If two languages are similar enough that speakers can usually understand each other, they are called dialects of the same language. For example, American English and British English are dialects. On the other hand, English and German are different languages, because even though they are related, an English speaker can't necessarily understand a German speaker. However, sometimes there are borderline cases. For example, Spanish and Italian speakers can often understand each other. And sometimes speakers of two dialects of English can hardly understand each other at all (especially when they're talking quickly!) So although most linguists consider East Cree and Plains Cree to be dialects of the same Cree language, some people believe they should count as two languages because Cree speakers can't always understand each other. So depending on how you count them, there are between 750-850 indigenous languages spoken in North, Central, and South America. There are about half a million speakers of indigenous languages in Canada and the US, and as many as 25 million speakers in Central and South America.

Q: What does it mean when you say Native American languages are endangered?
A: If children stop learning their native language, the languages can die out just like endangered species. Some Native American communities are bilingual, but in most places parents have stopped teaching children their native language. In the past, the United States and Canadian governments used to take Indian children away from non-English-speaking homes, without their parents' permission, and put them into boarding schools. This was extremely traumatic for the children, so many parents stopped using their native languages to try and protect them. This bad policy was eliminated, but now many Native Americans have grown up without their language, and it is difficult to try to learn a new language as an adult. Some communities are trying to recruit elders to teach the youngest generation the language before it is too late.

Q: Is there anything I can do to help preserve Native American languages?
A: If you are Indian, learn your language! More than anything else, this is in the hands of the kids. Young people can learn a language more quickly and easily than older people. Visit older relatives and record them talking. You can make a difference.

If you are not Indian, or if you have distant Native American relatives but nobody you could learn the language from, you can still learn some words the same way you learn any other foreign language. You could even study linguistics when you grow up, and help Native American communities preserve their languages first-hand!

Q: Will you help me write a report about Native Americans?
A: We cannot do your homework for you, however, we can show you where to find some useful American Indian information. See our Native American Kids Menu for our answers to kids' questions about thirty different Native American tribes (more coming soon). You can also see our main Native American CultureMenu for information and links on more tribes; though these pages do not have kids' sections yet, they do have linguistic material and good links to valuable American Indians information.

Q: Can you translate something into a Native American language for me?
A: Unfortunately, no. We don't have time to provide free translation services. However, you can find links to various online dictionaries and vocabulary sites from our list of Native American tribes and their languages. There is also a nice places that lists the word "Hello!" and other common phrases in many languages, including Native American languages.

Q: Can you help me find a good book about Native Americans?
A: You can have a look at our list of Native American Books. Depending on your age, some of these books may be too hard or just right for you. I especially recommend the Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes for younger readers--if your library doesn't have it, ask them to get it!

Q: I'm supposed to do my homework about Native American religion but I can't find anything but ads?
A: It is almost impossible to learn anything about Native American religions online. First of all, every tribe has slightly different traditions. Second, many of these traditions are private and Native Americans don't talk about them on the Internet. And third, there is a lot of spam (mass-produced, incorrect information trying to fool people) on the web about Native American religions--many dishonest white people try to trick people into giving them money for fake Indian rituals. That is why you see all the webpages making strange claims or trying to sell you things.

Q: How did Native Americans get to the Americas?
A: Native American tradition says that Indians were always here. Most of the scientific evidence suggests that Indian ancestors came from Asia in prehistoric times, either by foot over a land bridge or using ancient boats. This would have happened more than 20,000 years ago, and no human culture has good records of what it was doing 20,000 years ago, so perhaps we're both right.

Q: Did Viking explorers meet the Native Americans before Columbus did?
A: Yes. There are archaeological remains of their settlements in Newfoundland, and both Norse sagas and Indian oral history describe the encounter. The Indians the Vikings met were probably the Beothuk, though they may also have encountered the Micmac

Q: Where do Native Americans live today?
A: Most still live in North America, in what are now Canada and the United States. Some Indians live in cities and towns with Americans and Canadians of other races, while others live on reservations or reserves--special villages and lands which are under Indian jurisdiction, and therefore have some different laws than the rest of the state or province. For example, on many Indian reservations, alcohol is illegal. On some gambling is legal. The Hopi reservation doesn't follow Daylight Savings Time. Tax laws are different. Native Americans living on reservations/reserves are citizens of the United States or Canada, obeying federal laws, voting, and serving in the armed forces, but they are also subject to tribal laws and elect tribal leadership.

Q: Aren't there Native Americans in Central and South America, too?
A: Definitely! In fact, there are many more indigenous people in Central and South America than there are in Canada and the United States. Here is a nice website about Central and South American Indian cultures.

Q: Why don't Native Americans like sports teams with Indian mascots?
A: Some Native Americans find the concept of using humans as mascots spiritually offensive, but most native people who object to sports teams are doing it because of specifically racist aspects of the teams. For example, "Redskins" and "Squaws" are such crude words I really hesitated to use them on this page at all, but major professional and college sports teams use them as their names. Other teams with non-offensive names, like "Indians" or "Warriors," still use offensive pictures (like the Cleveland Indian mascot) or have white dancers mimicking Native American religious rituals. These things are hurtful and make Indians feel angry, just as mocking pictures and names making fun of you would. Most Native Americans do not have a problem with sports teams that have non-offensive names and do not include rude pictures or religious insults. Some Native American tribes have welcomed local sports teams named in their honor when those teams treat them respectfully.

First  Previous  No Replies  Next  Last