What Does Native American Mean in History?

What Does Native American Mean in History?

Native American is a term that refers to the indigenous people of North America. These people have a rich history dating back thousands of years. They have their own culture, languages, traditions, and beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation.

The Arrival of Europeans

The arrival of Europeans to North America in the 15th century had a significant impact on Native Americans. The Europeans brought with them diseases that were foreign to the Native Americans, which led to the decimation of entire communities. They also brought a different way of life that clashed with the Native American way of living.

Despite these challenges, many Native American communities were able to adapt and survive. Some even formed alliances with European settlers for trade and protection.

Treatment by the United States Government

The relationship between Native Americans and the United States government has been fraught with conflict throughout history. The government has frequently broken treaties and forced Native Americans onto reservations.

In addition, policies such as boarding schools aimed at assimilating Native American children into American culture caused great harm and trauma within native communities.

Contemporary Issues

Today, Native Americans continue to face challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and inadequate healthcare. They also continue to fight for their rights in areas such as land ownership and environmental protection.

  • Land Ownership: Many native communities are fighting legal battles to reclaim land that was taken from them unjustly.
  • Environmental Protection: Oil pipelines and other projects threaten sacred sites and natural resources important to many native communities.
  • Cultural Preservation: Efforts are being made to preserve native languages and traditions, which are at risk of being lost as younger generations assimilate into mainstream American culture.


The term Native American encompasses a diverse group of people with a rich history. While they have faced numerous challenges throughout history, they continue to persevere and fight for their rights and cultural preservation. It is important for us to acknowledge and learn from their history and work towards creating a more just and equitable society.