The Native Americans are not a homogenous population. There are about 500 different tribes grouped together by language group, or by geographic region, or by cultural area. The cultural area concept allows tribes to be organized by a combination of geographical and cultural parameters. The ten major cultural areas are the Arctic, Subarctic, Northeast, Southeast, Plains, Plateau, Southwest, Great Basin, California and Northwest coast. Once you know in which cultural area the tribe you are researching is classified, you can concentrate your research strategy on works covering that particular area.
Native Americans are also known by other phrases. There are several articles on the Research Wiki whose titles include the terms "American Indian," "Native Races," or "Indians of [a locality]." Searches on the Wiki should be made under each of these terms, as well.
See also: Indians of North America
Did You Know?
- The term Indians of North America is the traditional term used by English-speaking non-Native Americans. Despite the widespread use of the term, both within the Native American community and the North American population, many people prefer to use the term Native Americans, acknowledging the fact that these peoples were the original inhabitants of the continent. The term is associated with the 1960's Native American campaigns for civil rights - campaigns which helped to change the policy of the federal government to one of self determination for the tribal communities.