We are the first Americans. We have been here for about 14,000 years. Europeans only arrived about 500 years ago.
Columbus called us “Indians.” He was almost right. We came from Asia (Siberia) and the Pacific Islands. He just didn’t realize that we walked or sailed halfway around the world.
A U.S. education teaches a little about “American Indians” as if the Indigenous people of the United States are unique. Actually there is a continuum of Indigenous peoples from Canada’s Northwest Territories to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina and Chile.
A U.S. education teaches that we are primitive. We are just not European. After climate change runs its course, humanity may have no choice but to return to our ways of living in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the land. We are people of the land.
A U.S. education teaches that we are extinct, but basically we have always been here. We are the first Americans.
We are Taíno and Garifuna (Caribbean), Aztec and Mayan (Mexico), Inca (Peru), Quechua (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina), and Mapuche (Chile). These are just a few of our major indigenous cultures.The United States recognizes 562 indigenous tribes. Mexico has 89 different living indigenous languages. Colombia recognizes 102 indigenous groups.
There are estimated to be about 70 million of us.
In the United States, November is National Native American Heritage Month (nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov).