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National Museum of the American Indian by Kim Alaniz

Native American encounters

National Museum of the American Indian by Kim Alaniz Creative Commons Attribution

Although a fraction of its pre-Columbian size, there are more than three million Native Americans from 500 tribes, speaking some 175 languages and residing in every region of the United States. Not surprisingly, North America’s indigenous people are an extremely diverse bunch with unique customs and beliefs, moulded in part by the landscapes they inhabit – from the Inuit living in the frozen tundra of Alaska, to the many tribes of the arid, mountainous Southwest. Culturally speaking, America’s tribes today grapple with questions about how to prosper in contemporary America while protecting their traditions from erosion and their lands from further exploitation, and how to lift their people from poverty while maintaining their sense of identity and the sacred. This collection brings together a selection of important American Indian sites that comprise a drop in the bucket of the diverse and rich native cultures of the United States.