from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sitting Bull , chief and medicine man of the Hunkpapa - Lakota - Sioux . Photo by David Frances Barry, 1885
John Ross , Cherokee chief from 1828 to 1866; Color lithograph c.1843

Indian is the collective term used in German for the indigenous peoples of America or their members. Not to be Eskimo peoples and Aleutians of the Arctic territories and the population of the US Pacific Islands counted. Your ancestors America in prehistoric time of Asia from settled and there is a variety of cultures and languages developed. “Indian” is a foreign name used by the colonialists , and there is no corresponding self-titling of the well over two thousand groups. However, there are overarching terms in Canada , in the USA as well as in the former Spanish and Portuguese parts of America.

Their ancestors first developed the hunter-gatherer culture they had brought with them and soon lived - sometimes nomadically - mainly on land mammals such as bison , caribou and guanacos or on birds such as rheas . Shortly after the last ice age , they also sailed the Pacific along the coast. Ceramics, agriculture (such as the cultivation of pumpkins, which began before 4000 BC) and graduated forms of sedentarism as well as very early long-distance trade characterized the cultures in the north of the continent, while in the south of North America cattle breeding and irrigation management led to higher yields and before 3000 BC. BC led to urban cultures that reached north to the Mississippi River and southern Canada. The outstanding breeding successes of the rural Indians of Central and South America are the cultivation and a. of avocado, potato, tomato, corn, pineapple, paprika, tobacco as well as the alpaca wool and the guinea pig. In addition, many hunter cultures continued to exist in large parts of the double continent, which were mostly organized nomadically in small hordes or larger segmental or tribal societies .

In today's Latin America, the Spanish conquerors (" conquistadors ") destroyed the great empires of Central and South America within a few decades . However, the diseases introduced by the Europeans were even more destructive. In some regions, such as B. in the Caribbean, there was a genocide of the indigenous population, who were then replaced by African slaves; in other regions, such as B. in South America, Indian and European populations mixed. Only in a few areas, such as Bolivia and southern Mexico , are the Indians still in the majority today. In Bolivia, Evo Morales was the first indigenous president and chairman of the ruling socialist party Movimiento al Socialismo from 2006 to 2019 . Today the politics of industrial and agricultural use, the deforestation of the forest and the exploitation of natural resources pose a danger for their local communities , which in South America are still strongly tied to their natural surroundings and in some cases still live in isolation .

In North America the indigenous peoples of the Indians gradually became a minority from 1600 onwards. This displacement process lasted into the 20th century. The European immigration societies regarded the Indians as "inferior" and tried to systematically suppress them: through a targeted policy of assimilation , above all by taking children to boarding schools ; through attempts to turn the “Indians” into (sedentary) farmers; through segregation in " Indian reservations ", forced resettlement and segregation as well as through punitive expeditions in which entire Indian villages were wiped out.

The consequences of trauma have long been underestimated or ignored. Since the late 20th century, churches and some governments have apologized for abuse, genocide against ethnic groups and cultural destruction. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were attempts at redress. In addition, they acquire the ability to participate and the skills to enforce contractual and political rights.


The German term "Indian" goes back to the Spanish word indio , a neologism from the colonial era . Christopher Columbus believed he had arrived in India when he reached Hispaniola in 1492 . At the time, however, the European seafarers used “India” not only to refer to the Indian subcontinent , but also to the whole of East Asia , which they tried to reach via the western sea route. Although Amerigo Vespucci finally cleared up Columbus' error in 1502, the designation of the inhabitants found in the newly discovered areas as "Indians" was retained. Competing terms such as “Americans” (for example in the Codex canadiensis ), which in some cases disappeared again, but especially “savages” and “pagans” (which emphasize the non-affiliation with “civilization” and Christianity and thus create a demarcation), were in use early on.

In Spanish there is no distinction between “Indian” and “Indian” that is recognizable in German; both categories of origin are identified with the word indio . In order to avoid misunderstandings, in almost all are Latin American countries, the "real" Indians not as indios , but as hindú ( " Hindus " hereinafter), although this really only indicates non-Indian religion. In literature, the neologism amerindio was also coined - based on the French amérinburg . In Latin America, on the other hand, the general designation indígenas ("natives") or pueblos indígenas ( indigenous peoples ) prevails for Indians .

In Brazilian Portuguese , índio is generally understood to mean a “native” (actually indígeno or nativo ); the Brazilians differentiate between índios latinoamericanos , índios africanos and índios australianos (Latin American, African and Australian natives).

In English , where there is no semantic distinction similar to that in Spanish, the term Red Indians was coined to distinguish it from Indians , which in German can also be translated as "Indian", but today similar to the German term "Rothaut" because of its racist connotations is usually no longer used. Today the term Native Americans is predominantly used in the USA .

In German, the term “Indian” is sometimes restricted exclusively to the indigenous people of North America , while the groups living in South and Central America are then referred to in this diction as “Indians”.

Often the term Indian , Indian or Indio is rejected or avoided by the members of the societies addressed as a colonial foreign name. Until the Europeans arrived, there was no reason for those affected to form an overarching term for the population of the continent. Even the self-designation of many communities was often simply synonymous with “human”. Apparently the indigenous people originally only very rarely understood the continent or the world they knew as a unit (a counterexample are the Kuna in Panama and Colombia , who called the continent the Abya Yala “continent of life”). Although there were manifold collective names for ethnic groups and related ethnic groups already pre-colonial , it was only in the face of colonization that the Indian ethnic groups of North America, for example, gained a certain sense of togetherness. Gail Tremblay believes the shared experience of colonial rule, the attempted genocide, the attempted assimilation and the pain of loss are the determining factors that have led to the perception of connections across national lines. Conceptually, this was done with the principle of retaining the Indian term, as can be seen from the designation American Indian , which members of North American Indian peoples also use themselves.

However, the connecting aspect of common spiritual home on the continent emphasize names like "Indians" ( Native Americans , americanos Nativos , more accurately translated: "indigenous Americans"), "Indigenous Peoples of America" ( indigenous peoples of the Americas , original peoples of America , pueblos originarios de América ) or "indigenous American populations" ( indigenous American peoples , pueblos de América indígenas ). In contrast to the term "Indian", however, these terms also include the Inuit , Unangan and Yupik in Alaska and the northern Canadian Arctic . However, these peoples arrived in America much later than the Indians and are genetically and culturally different from the earlier immigrants. The latter also applies to the native inhabitants of Hawaii , American Samoas and Easter Island . All of them are therefore not included under the term "Indian" in German usage.

Likewise, mestizos , métis or zambos , i.e. descendants from connections between Europeans or Africans and Indians, are generally not counted among the latter. In any case be such designations, which - like "Half-Blood" ( half-breed ) or "half-breed" ( mixed-blood ) - on notions of "blood purity" ( Blood purity, Limpieza de sangre back) and People for the "unmixedness of blood “Seeking to categorize, today mostly viewed critically or rejected as racist. On the other hand, the mestizaje , i.e. the inseparable mixture of Indian and immigrant European and African ancestors, which also characterizes many Latin American majority populations in their self-image, is considered a cultural and sociological distinguishing feature of Hispanic and Lusitan America compared to the purely "white" or "racially separated" societies in the North of the continent.

In Canada , a comprehensive term that is not restricted to Indians is predominantly used, namely First Nations or Premières Nations , ie “First Nations”. However, complications arise from the fact that the Indian Law of 1876, which is still valid and therefore continues many traditions of the colonial Indian term, between Status Indians ( i.e. registered members of the state-recognized First Nations who have certain rights), Non- Status Indians (who do not have these rights because they are not registered) and Treaty Indians (who are subject to the provisions of individual treaties concluded with a large number of tribes ). Due to these legal definitions , for example, “mixed” couples lose their right to the rights of the indigenous people, possibly even their formal recognition as “Indians”. Even members of the First Nations are therefore often not legally considered Indians today . In the long run, this can lead to the disappearance of the "officially recognized" Indians and thus to the insignificance of the rights granted to them by law.

Because of the different processes in the construction of a political subject from state to state , which in Latin America, for example , call itself Indígena (e.g. in Guatemala or Brazil), Nacionalidad Indígena ( Ecuador ) or Pueblo Originario ( Bolivia ), it also happens inconsistent terminological solutions in the political arena - especially since terms such as Partido Indio (“Indian Party ”) or National Congress of American Indians also continue to exist as self-names.

This struggle for terms is not only due to the history of the term, but also to the social connotations with which the terms are connected. For example, Indian in English- speaking America and Indian in Spanish-speaking America are often viewed as a derogatory qualification in the language of the general public. The same applies to the French and Portuguese-speaking regions. The translation into German further complicates this linguistic and terminological jumble of self and external names, determined by the need for demarcation and assignments in the area of ​​tension between racism and cultural self-determination. Ultimately, the term Indian, relatively low in discrimination in German (see also the image of the Indian in the German-speaking area ) has proven to be the one that most likely solves these naming problems in the eyes of many. However, the often unreflected aspects of external description, the homogenization of groups that do not belong together or the belittling remain to be questioned critically again and again.

Population and Reserves

Reserves in the USA (excluding Alaska)
Indian reservations in Brazil
Xavantes in their Maraiwatséde reserve

The American Indian population is very unevenly distributed, with several thousand reservations . Most of the Indians in Central and South America do not live in reserves.

While in Canada nearly 700,000 people (2.1% of the population) were considered Indians in 2006 and 615 tribes were recognized in around 3,000 reservations, there were 566 federally recognized tribes in the USA, which represented 0.97% of the population, and around 245 unrecognized tribes. Priorities can also be identified within the states. The majority of the US Indians live in California , Arizona , New Mexico and Oklahoma . A total of around 3.5 to 4 million Indians live in North America.

In contrast, 65 to 70 million Indians live in Latin America, around half of them in Mexico and a third in the Andean countries . Only in Bolivia do they head the government. The demarcation to the rest of the population is less clearly defined, reserves exist mainly in Brazil, Colombia , Panama , Paraguay and Venezuela and are mostly in the forest areas of the Orinoco , Paraná and Amazon basins .

In Mexico alone, the indigenous population is estimated to be 30% of the over 100 million Mexicans. Mestizos make up another 60% of the total population. In Belize you go from 10% and 45% of the population. In Guatemala 59.4% are mestizos ( called Ladinos here ), 45% of the population belong to different Maya groups. 9.1% of them are Quiché , 8.4 Cakchiquel , 7.9 Mam , 6.3% Kekchí , and a further 8.6% belong to other Maya groups. In the neighboring country of Honduras , the proportion of Indians is 7%, that of the mestizos is 90, similar to El Salvador , where the Indians only make up 1% of the population. In Nicaragua , the proportion of mestizos is 69%, that of the Indians is 5%. In Costa Rica the proportion of Indians is only around 1%, in Panama it is 5%. The Caribbean is an extreme, because there are practically no Indians left in Cuba , similar to Jamaica . On Dominica , 300 to 500 Caribs live in their own reserve.

There are also priorities in South America. While the proportion of Indians in Colombia is only 1%, the proportion of mestizos there is 58%, and 3% are descendants of blacks and Indians. In Guyana the proportion of Indians is 9.1%, in Suriname it is 2%. The proportion is considerably higher in the Andean countries , such as in Ecuador , where 25% of the population are Indians, in Peru 45, in Bolivia even 55% - 30% are Quechua and 25% Aymara .

Further south, in Chile , the proportion of the Indian population is just under 5%, most of them are Mapuche . In Argentina their share is below 3%, in Uruguay there are almost no Indians, in Paraguay their share is around 5%, but in Brazil it is below 1%.

In North America, the Indians often live in reserves , the Canadian reserves in the US reservations are called. In Canada, the reservations were created as a result of contracts the Indians made with the government. Commissions determined the boundaries of the reservation after questioning the Indians, but without including them in the decision. Within these areas they had their traditional rights and they did not pay any taxes for sales made there. Around half of the Indians now live in cities.

The American Indian policy changed direction several times. Starting in 1830 , all tribes were forced to leave their residential areas east of the Mississippi , and several tribes were often grouped together on a reservation. Although the rural Indians often live in poverty, some tribes managed to recover economically. According to the 2000 census, around 85% lived outside of reservations, mostly in cities.

In Brazil and neighboring countries there are still isolated peoples , groups who have had such bad experiences in contact with whites that they try to avoid them. In Brazil alone it is assumed that there are around 67 groups.


Distribution areas of the indigenous languages ​​of North America before colonization

The languages ​​are made up of dozens of distinct language families as well as many isolated languages . There have been several attempts by linguists to group these into parent families, none of which are generally accepted. Two language families differ significantly from the others: the Na Dené languages and the Eskimo-Aleut languages . Genetic analyzes of the Indians suggest several waves of immigration in the colonization of America . It can therefore be assumed that these languages ​​are spoken by Indian peoples who later came to America as immigrants, when the other peoples had already settled the continent.

Scriptures only developed Indian cultures in Central America . The oldest evidence comes from the Olmecs in Central America and dates back to around 900 BC. Chr. Dated. Other scripts developed here, especially those of the Maya , Mixtec , Zapotec and Aztec . There was a range of variation between a purely logographic script and a largely phonetic script .

History of Languages ​​in America

After the colonization of America, attitudes towards indigenous languages ​​ranged from neglect to deliberate repression. Only the mission orders began to learn the languages ​​early and set up schools for them. This applied first to Peru , where a university was established, then to numerous mission areas between Québec and California in the north, through the Mexican metropolitan areas to the border areas in southern Chile and along the Portuguese border (Brazil). Occasionally, as a result, they spread languages ​​to areas where the language was not previously in use, such as Quechua . In addition to the languages ​​spoken by millions, such as Aymara , Guaraní and Nahuatl , the missionaries learned only a few languages, which in turn strengthened their survival.

In North America, the use of indigenous languages ​​has long been actively suppressed. This policy culminated in the so-called termination with the aim of detaching Indians from their tribal association and integrating them into society as individuals. In particular, the use of Indian languages ​​in school was strictly prohibited. This goal was only abandoned in 1958 and since then there have been numerous attempts to revive the North American languages.

Spread today

In North America, some of the larger languages, such as Cree (with 60 to 90,000 speakers) in Canada or Navajo in the southwestern United States (with around 150,000 speakers) are not endangered, while others are on the verge of extinction. At least 74 languages ​​are still in use in Canada.

Indian languages ​​in Mexico with more than 100,000 speakers

The Mayan languages dominate in Mexico and neighboring countries to the south . Mexico recognizes 62 national Indian languages, with more than 6 million residents over 5 years old naming one of these languages ​​as their mother tongue in 2005 .

In the Caribbean, the Carib and Arawak languages are rarely spoken; their representatives include the Taíno .

It looks different in South America. According to estimates, around 1500 languages ​​were spoken there before Columbus , of which around 350 still exist today. The classification into language families is, as in all of America, highly controversial. The number of speakers is considerably higher than in North America and the Caribbean, but at the same time the majority of them are concentrated in a few languages. These in turn were learned and promoted by missionaries. Numerous languages ​​survived, for which materials are now available in writing and on the Internet.

While Tupí languages predominate in the eastern lowlands of South America , the largest branch of which is the Tupí-Guaraní languages , the Andean region is dominated by Quechua languages , which the Incas already used . In addition to them, there are large language groups, such as the Aymara languages , to which Aymara belongs, the indigenous language with the most speakers in South America (approx. 2.2 million). In Argentina , around a quarter of a million people speak one of the two Araucanian languages .

Mainly in North America, new languages ​​emerged in contact between whites and Indians, especially mixed languages such as the Chinook Wawa on the Pacific coast , because extensive trade required a simple language of communication . In addition, there were languages ​​such as Michif , the most important language of the Métis in Canada, which emerged from Indian and European languages ​​when a mixed people came into being and has origins in the Cree and French. The bungee , also spoken by Métis, has Scottish Gaelic and Cree roots.

Bolivia , Paraguay , Ecuador and Peru now recognize one or more indigenous American languages ​​as an official language in addition to Spanish.


Indian cultures before 1500

The colonization of America occurred in several waves of immigration that spanned at least 16,000 years. In this continuum, European immigration is just one of many. The main route of the groups known as Paleo-Indians led from Siberia via Beringia to Alaska and from there to the south. Genetic analyzes can explain the aboriginal distribution in terms of three waves, the first of which was by far the most significant. Almost all Indian peoples emerged from it and their distribution fits in with a quick and direct advance from Siberia via Alaska to the south through the entire continent. A genetic share of 10% among the Chippewa falls out of this pattern and is interpreted as an indication of a second wave. After all, the first wave can only explain 57% of the genetic makeup of the inhabitants of the North American Arctic, so that the third wave is assumed here. These analyzes coincide with previous linguistic and morphological studies.

The early settlers adapted to their new surroundings and lived as nomadic hunters , fishermen , hunters and gatherers , and later as sedentary farmers with corresponding urban cultures ( Archaic period ). From South America to far north they bred from around 7000 BC. Plants such as maize , pumpkin and potato as well as numerous species displaced by European farmers and thereby transformed the landscape to a much greater extent than was long assumed.

The livestock was limited to a few species such as llama and related Kameloide ( alpaca and vicuña ), and the guinea pigs in the realm of Inca , the turkey in North and Central America and the dog . In addition to the Inca lama, only dogs were available as pack animals for smaller loads, which in North America were clamped in simple triangular towing harnesses called travois . In addition, her hair was the raw material for blankets and clothing.

The wheel as a means of locomotion was apparently unknown, although wheels and even cogwheels were used as components of mechanical devices. As a rule, people went on foot and transported their own loads or used watercraft such as canoes . Dignitaries in hierarchical societies in Central and South America were sometimes carried in sedan chairs.

North America

In Alaska, the oldest known finds go back 12,000 to 14,000 years. The Clovis culture was considered the oldest culture for a long time . But at the latest the finds in the Paisley Caves , which are around a millennium before the Clovis finds, showed that the earliest inhabitants did not belong to this culture. The oldest human remains were provided by the Buhl woman from Idaho , who is over 10,500 years old, and the remains from On Your Knees Cave on the Prince of Wales Island in Alaska, which are around 9,800 years old. This early phase was followed by the Archaic Period . At its end between 2000 and 1000 BC The use of ceramics, agriculture and various forms of gradual settlements developed far into the north. Hunting techniques were significantly improved by atlatl and later by bow and arrow . While hunting cultures existed in the north, where caribou and bison herds provided food, hunting played an increasingly minor role in the south. Population densities occurred in North America around the Great Lakes, on the Pacific coast around Vancouver Island , on the Mississippi and in many places on the Atlantic coast and in the southwest.

In North America, complex communities (Templemound cultures) existed in the catchment area of ​​the Mississippi and Ohio ( Adena culture , Mississippi culture ) , but they perished shortly before the arrival of the first Europeans. They radiated far to the north and west. In the southwest of the USA, earth building settlements with up to 500 rooms, the so-called pueblos, emerged . This culture went back to the basketmakers who were already growing corn. Large villages with palisades and permanent confederations developed around the Great Lakes. As in the west, these groups cultivated corn and pumpkin, as well as an extensive long-distance trade - for example in copper and certain types of rock that were important for hunting weapons and jewelry - which continued in British Columbia until 8000 BC. Can be proven.

Oldest traces in Meso and South America

Cueva de las manos (Cave of the Hands) in the southern Argentine province of Santa Cruz , approx. 7300 BC. BC, today world cultural heritage

Apart from the much discussed finds from Monte Verde , the finds from Los Toldos in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz are probably the oldest in South America. They go back at least 12,000 years. Similar to the North American sites, the remains point to the hunting of large mammals ( giant sloths and horses), guanacos and llamas. Something similar was found in Cueva del Milodón (Chile), where extinct prey such as horses were also found. The Casapedrense culture (approx. 7000 to 4000 BC) was considered the forerunner culture of the Tehuelche, or Patagonians , whose oldest finds, however, now date from 9400 to 9200 BC. To be dated.

Mesoamerican cultures

In the arid regions, an irrigation industry developed early on, which in turn allowed higher population densities and more complex forms of organization. The Yucatán needed similarly complicated procedures for freshwater extraction as in the arid regions of central and southern Mexico . This is where from around 3000 BC. BC a culture based on larger settlements, which is counted as part of the pre-classical Mayan era. One of the oldest Mayan sites was Cuello in Belize , which dates back to around 2000 BC. Is dated.

Mayan pyramid in Chichen Itza

One of the most important metropolises of the Maya was, alongside Uxmal, Chichén Itzá, which flourished for the first time between the 5th and 7th centuries . A whole network of interconnected cities was created. After the unexplained collapse of the Mayan culture in the 10th century, Toltecs settled (or at least culturally dominated) the city. With the Maya, Tulúm now assumed a leadership role on the coast, possibly a sign that the economic focus shifted to maritime trade in the 12th century.

Between 100 and 600 AD, Teotihuacán was the cultural, economic and dominant center of Mesoamerica . Its population is estimated to be up to 200,000 for the period between 450 and 650. The city extended over 20 km². The sun pyramid there alone, which was built around 100, extends over a base area of ​​222 by 225 meters and is around 65 m high. Other large buildings such as the Ciudadela , a kind of closed rulership, were built. The economic base of the city was, in addition to irrigated agriculture, an extensive obsidian trade ; it was probably handled on the square in front of the Ciudadela and reached at least as far as today's border with the USA. The city's roots go back to 1500 BC. BC back. From 750 the metropolis was deserted. The remaining power vacuum was only filled again in the 10th century by the Toltecs .

The Toltecs immigrated to the south of Mexico from the 9th century and formed an urban culture for two centuries, which, however, was threatened by the more militarily organized Chichimecs , who also came from the north.

The area ruled by the Aztecs (green) and tributary (green dotted) before the arrival of the Spaniards, and their neighbors

At the end of the 14th century, the Aztecs , who referred to themselves as Mexica , succeeded in conquering a great empire that surrounded themselves with tributaries. Its roots go back to the 11th century. The capital Tenochtitlan should have had tens of thousands of inhabitants, possibly even 150,000.

Cultures in South America
Machu Picchu, whose incan name has not been recorded
Ollantaytambo in the southeast of Peru, almost 2800 m high

The oldest stone tools in South America date back to around 10,000 BC. BC, similar to the cave paintings near Ayacucho in Peru and in the Lauricocha caves at the source of the Marañón . The first cultivation of pumpkins and beans and the breeding of llamas date back to before 4000 BC. At that time the pumpkin appeared far north, in Maine .

The oldest ceramics were found in the Ecuadorian Guayas basin. They are assigned to the Valdivia culture and dated to the 4th millennium BC. In North America, pottery has only established itself in the metropolitan areas; in other areas, a wide variety of techniques and obstacles set limits to its spread. The Valdivia culture already produced an urban organization with cults, rites and offerings.

One of the oldest cities, Caral (north of Lima), was discovered in 1996. Five years later, the step pyramid there could be dated to 2627 BC. To be dated. The town had houses for at least 3,000 residents. Temple complexes, artificial irrigation systems and long-distance trade with the coastal inhabitants and those of the Amazon region indicate an advanced civilization that is already well developed.

Sechín Bajo is even older , a city whose pyramid dates back to 3200 BC. BC, and which has been excavated since 2003.

On the coast of Ecuador there existed around 1600 BC. The Machalilla culture . The typical ceramic vessels with handles, which are also handed down to the Chavín , Mochica and Chimú , go back to them. The subsequent Chorrera culture brought about 1200 to 500 BC. Ceramics in human and animal form emerged. The houses were grouped around a large square and built on artificial embankments.

The Chavín culture (around 800 to 300 BC) had close ties to that of the Olmecs , which suggests the use of the symbolic clusters of jaguar , puma , bird and snake . The contemporary Paracas culture in the Lima area was known for its cult of the dead, its skull deformation and trepanation techniques , its ceramics and its textiles. They also created scratching pictures in the Nazca desert . This technique was perfected by the subsequent Nazca culture.

The Herrera culture existed in the highlands of Bogotá (before 4th century BC to 2nd century AD), on the western side of the Andes the Calima culture (4th century BC to 2nd century AD) .). Tombs from the 4th century go back to the San Agustín culture , which changed the landscape significantly up to the 7th century.

Between 300 BC And after AD 600, the Nazca culture existed around 500 km south of Lima, which built irrigation canals. The Mochica culture developed similar irrigation systems in the desert strip on the Pacific coast. In addition to precious metals, copper was also processed. The Nazca culture was strongly influenced by the Paracas culture, from which they also adopted various skull manipulation techniques and the art of creating huge scratches (see Nazca Lines ).

Around Lake Titicaca existed from the 1st century BC. The Tiahuanaco culture , whose cultural center was the Tiahuanaco ruins of the same name, including the Pumapunku , formed from around AD 1000 to around AD 1000 . Their traces can be proven in Peru, Bolivia and in the north of Chile. Around the same time, the Wari culture (600 to 1100) emerged, which followed north along the coast. Both cultures were dominated by capitals that were of considerable expansion. The Wari surrounded their capital with defensive walls, their main temple Willkawayin has been preserved.

The Chimu developed the first large empire between 1000 and 1470 with the capital Chan Chan in the area around the Peruvian Trujillo . From around 1200 to 1532, the Incas created an empire that reached its greatest extent in the 15th century. In addition to Cusco , which was the capital at times, and Machu Picchu , Ollantaytambo should be mentioned, where the basic layout of an Inca city has largely been preserved.

The history of the groups living on the eastern edge of the Andes and in the forest areas of the Amazon is much less researched. However, numerous finds point to considerably older cultures (approx. 2450 BC), which may have arisen before those of the Andean highlands. Little is known about the Chachapoya , who lived on the eastern edge of the Andes from around 800 to 1600. They built rock graves on steep cliffs.

Between 1000 BC BC and 500 BC BC the Arawak migrated down the Orinoco . They built canoes and lived from fishing, hunting and growing corn , beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and cassava . There were also peanuts , red pepper , pineapple , tobacco and cotton .

Colonial history

Excerpt from page 34 of the Codex Osuna , with symbols representing the three Aztec cities Texcoco , Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan , plus lines written by Spaniards in Nahuatl
Control of non-Indian nations over South America (from 1700):
green: Portugal,
red: Spain,
blue: France,
brown-gray: Holland
Control of non-Indian nations over North America (from 1750):
ocher: United Kingdom ,
olive green: France,
salmon red: Spain,
blue: United States,
dark brown: Russia
Florida: Athore shows René Goulaine de Laudonnière Jean Ribault's column (with the coat of arms of France). Theodor de Bry copperplate engraving after a colored drawing by Jacques Le Moyne, 1591
Possible Route de Sotos, 1539–1542

From 1492 the double continent was gradually taken over by European states. The persecuted forms of colonization and settlement differed significantly from one another and had serious effects on the cultures encountered there. While trade predominated in the north for a century, and the first permanent colonies did not emerge on the east coast until after 1600, the Spaniards conquered the great empires of Latin America within a few decades. While more than three quarters of the Indians lived in the Spanish area, Portugal with Brazil and France and England with the north received the more sparsely populated regions.

Collapse of the indigenous population

Wars initially played a major role in the extermination of indigenous peoples; However, imported diseases, punitive expeditions, resettlements and forced labor decimated the population to a hardly quantifiable extent. Some ethnic groups in Central America disappeared as a result of introduced epidemics without a European even having seen them.

Around 1940 the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber was mainly followed , who estimated the population in 1492 to be only eight million and north of the Rio Grande to one million people. These estimates were willingly taken up because they diminished the extent of the annihilation and upheld the political myth that Europeans had conquered a largely deserted continent, thereby legitimizing their possession. Since then, new, extremely different estimates have been made on the most varied of methodological bases. They range from little more than 8 million to over 110 million. More recent estimates assume a very rough approximation of 50 million inhabitants, around half of whom lived in Mesoamerica and a quarter in the Inca Empire.

How much the discussion has gotten into motion is shown by the thesis that the huge herds of bison observed later were grazing animals of the Indians. The herd size consequently did not represent a natural equilibrium , but was based on over-multiplication that occurred in a few generations after the sharp decline in the human population. The Smithsonian Institute tripled its estimate for North America to three million people.

The densest population certainly existed in the advanced civilizations of Latin America, where accordingly the numerically largest population losses were recorded. Hernán Cortés destroyed the empire of the Aztecs with about 500 soldiers and numerous allied Indians, Pizarro that of the Incas . In the Caribbean , the population was almost completely wiped out within a few decades, with Hernan de Soto dragging devastating diseases to the area between Mississippi and Florida from 1539 to 1542.

The Iberian states, which had agreed in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 on the division of the world and thus also of the continent, sent numerous men overseas to join with Indian women. The number of descendants, called mestizos , grew rapidly . The ruling class was made up of Spaniards and Portuguese, the lower class mestizos and Indians.

Nahua (Aztecs) infected by smallpox, Bernardino de Sahagún ( Florentine Codex ), 1585
Equestrian warriors ( Llanero ) from the steppe of Colombia, mid-19th century.

In North America, diseases such as smallpox , measles and flu were the main causes of catastrophic damage. It is believed that a quarter to half of America's indigenous population fell victim to smallpox alone after the arrival of Europeans. The Indians had no defense against these diseases, which were new to them. Although the targeted spread of diseases was called for in rare cases and attempted using blankets infected with smallpox, the risks were incalculable. At the moment when it was possible to vaccinate one's own population, however, as in 1862 in the Pacific Northwest , some politicians encouraged the spread of the deadly epidemic or accepted it.

Furthermore, in the British colonies in North America, the scalp premiums contributed to the destruction through the scalp proclamation from 1756, until 1749 in Halifax and among the French, and in some US states such as Massachusetts (1744) . In California , after the gold rush of 1849, several thousand Indians were murdered in just two decades.

Despite the impact of the epidemics and, in some areas, of the slave hunt, which cannot be overestimated, that of the wars should not be underestimated. The wars with the most losses in the east are likely the Battle of Mauvilla (1540), the Tarrantiner War (1607-1615), the two Powhatan Wars ( 1608-1614 and 1644-1646), the Pequot (1637), the King Philip War (1675–1676), the French and Indian Wars (1689–1697, 1702–1713, 1754–1763) and the three Seminole Wars (1817–1818, 1835–1842 and 1855–1858). In addition there were the uprisings of the Pontiac (1763–1766) and the Tecumseh (approx. 1810–1813). The French were in the Beaver Wars from around 1640 to 1701 , then in four wars with the Natchez (1716–1729), the Dutch in the Wappinger War and the Esopus Wars (1659–1660 and 1663–1664), the Spaniards against the Aztecs and Inca empires, in 1680 against the pueblos and in numerous other battles. In the western United States, it was above all the uprisings of the Cochise (1861–1874), the Sioux (1862) and Lakota (1866–1867) or the Apaches under Geronimo (until 1886) that became known, as well as individual battles such as the at Little Bighorn or the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890).

Dead on the Wounded Knee battlefield. “Only a dead Indian is a good Indian.” The word that has come into use comes from General Sheridan . He replied to the statement of the Comanche chief Tosowi: "I am a good Indian" with: "The only good Indians that I have seen are already dead."

What proportion of economic exploitation and desolate social conditions, neglect, armed conflicts, epidemics, slave hunts, " ethnic cleansing " and genocide attempts actually played in this demographic catastrophe - the low point was only reached in the first decades of the 20th century - and the relationship between them can hardly be clarified exactly. What is certain is that numerous peoples along with their culture and language have been destroyed. In terms of the number of victims, it was the greatest demographic and arguably also cultural catastrophe in human history. Some researchers therefore speak of an "American Holocaust" , but this term is controversial because of the inherent relativization of the Holocaust to European Jews.

State, feudal system, church and slavery as factors of colonization

On the question of the treatment of the Indians, a comprehensive conflict arose between the exponents Bartolomé de Las Casas as "general defender of the Indians" and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda , the mission orders and the Council of India as well as the local feudal lords. The crown tried to control the grandees , who from the beginning tended to make their rule independent, through an alliance with the petty nobles, the hidalgos , and the church. The administration was to be carried out from Seville , no one was allowed into the colonies without a permit. At the same time, the Indians should be proselytized, grouped together in encomiendas since 1503 and protected from excessive violence ( Laws of Burgos , 1512). They were intended as workers.

Indios panning for gold on a river, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo : Historia General y Natural de las Indias, Islas y Tierra-firme del Mar Océano , Madrid 1535, woodcut

In 1512/13 the Leyes de Burgos stipulated that the Indios should be handed over to the feudal lords - hence the term encomienda - but should not be considered slaves. However, they could be forced to work for wages. Through Indian law , Madrid tried to protect against the brutal harassment of the Indians and the rapid collapse of the population through the encomienda system.

As a result of the Mita system , the provinces in the Inca Empire were already forced in turn to make workers available for public works for a certain period of time. The Repartimiento followed on from this system from 1549, although, as in Chile, for example, the encomienda system continued until after 1650. The Repartimiento- or "allocation system" served above all to provide forces for field work and life-threatening work in gold and silver mines ( Potosí ). It was only superseded after independence from Spain, but still represented a mitigation compared to the encomienda.

In contrast, the so-called Paulistas or bandeirantes , slave hunters from São Paulo , supplied the slave market with Indians. To do this, they roamed huge areas, including Spanish, and depopulated them through kidnapping and displacement with the support of Tupi armies. Successful efforts to protect Indians from slave hunters, such as in the Jesuit state of Paraguay , where Indians such as the Kazike Nicolás Neenguirú successfully battled the slave hunters, were the exception.

Missionaries induced the Indians, often taking advantage of their efforts to protect against exploitation and killing, to give up their beliefs. Their cultural peculiarities were discredited by the missionaries as "uncivilized" or "unnatural".

In South America, order missionaries had already learned Indian languages ​​in the 16th century and documented them in writing in order to be able to proselytize the indigenous people. They thus contributed indirectly to the preservation of numerous languages. A corresponding university was established in Lima . The missions (called “ reductions ”) set up by the Jesuits in the 17th century in the La Plata area , in which they wanted to enable the Indians to develop in a paternalistic but independent and, in a sense, self-determined sense, were shaped by European standards Ultimately, the Guaraní is still alive today and recognized as the official language in Paraguay .

Even where the Spanish conquistadors could not go, apart from the epidemics, they caused massive changes. They had introduced horses , some of which went wild and spread rapidly across the vast plains of South and later North America. They formed the basis for the emergence of Indian equestrian cultures , including the equestrian nomadism in the Great Plains that shaped the end of the 18th century . The horses made hunting and transport much easier and led to a changed balance of power among the peoples, and thus to large-scale migrations. In addition, the riding peoples opened up previously uninhabitable areas, and with the horses they rode into a new commercial object.

The northern colonial powers triggered completely different remote changes by trading in fur . In doing so, they not only changed the societies trading with them, but also had an impact on their near and distant neighbors, be it through trade in arms and the associated shifts in power, be it through the development of trade monopolies in the vicinity of the trade bases (forts). storing tribes, be it by triggering migrations.

Post-colonial history

The liberation from Portuguese, Spanish and British colonial rule in the decades around 1800 meant an intensification of internal colonization and an increase in immigration for the Indians, especially in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The land they inhabited stood in the way of the exploitation interests of domestic elites, which were no longer hindered by any intermediate power or by the colonial administration.

In North America, the Indians quickly became a minority as their numbers rapidly decreased while that of the whites increased. Even large coalitions, such as those under Pontiac and Tecumseh , fought against the advance in vain. The last resistance was broken by 1890.

In doing so, the states tried to reduce the cost of colonization; H. dispute the development of an infrastructure, for example through transcontinental railroad construction, administration and defense, police and courts in various ways. In the USA, the settlers appropriated land that was regarded as untreated (squatting) and later paid small sums for it, a procedure that in Canada was steered in a more orderly manner (cf. economic history of Canada ). Ultimately, however, this also resulted in the occupation of the majority of the land by settlers from Europe, whose immigration was encouraged.

Indios visit a fazenda in Minas Gerais , Johann Moritz Rugenda's painting, around 1824

In South America, the colonial land grants were dissolved. The lands went to large landowners who continued to run them mainly as haciendas or fazendas (Brazil). Numerous conflicts have flared up to this day at this large estate, because although they left small plots of land for subsistence farming to many Indians, they demanded services - a reintroduction of feudal labor.

Resistance was broken with armed force and hunger, the Indians even had to leave all land east of the Mississippi in the USA ( Indian Removal Act and Path of Tears ), in Canada reservations were mostly set up in traditional areas ( reserves ), just as in the USA ( reservations). There, however, several tribes, which were often culturally distant, were often forced into a reservation. By the end of the 19th century, this process in the north was largely complete, the number of Indians reduced to a fraction.

While proselytizing in the south was mainly carried out in the 16th and 17th centuries by Catholic orders, many tribes in the north only became Catholic in the course of the 19th century or joined one of the Protestant denominations. However, this was only the first step towards assimilation , which would result in the eradication of cultures that were viewed as inferior by Canada and the United States, but also by the churches. For several generations, however, this was of little avail, so that the children were largely separated from the adults in order to teach them in residential schools , as existed throughout Canada. There they were forbidden not only to use their language, but also to use their language. They were also forbidden to take legal action against legal and economic marginalization. Traditional rituals such as the sun dance and potlatch were banned until the 1950s, the last of these schools only being closed in the early 1980s. The situation was similar in the USA.

Fishing and hunting rights have also been undermined. In particular, the mass hunting of game by the Americans, such as the slaughter of bison in the late 19th century or the decimation of the caribou herds after the construction of the Alaska Highway , threaten the contractually guaranteed existence of numerous tribes. In addition, the construction of huge dams cut the migration routes of the herds and made the traditional way of life of the Indians even more difficult. Only towards the end of the 20th century did the tribes increasingly gain a say in this and help manage parks and protected areas. However, the situation is very different from region to region.

Bison skull, mid-1870s
American Progress, painting by John Gast , 1872, symbolically exaggerating the civilizing and religious task of the settlers

In the USA this development led to massive rural exodus and urbanization of the Indians, at the same time the reservations were converted into private property, which the impoverished residents often had to sell. In the 1930s, the tribes were given the opportunity to administer themselves and exercise sovereign rights, but attempts were made from 1953 to 1961 to dissolve the partly newly created tribes and the reservations and to induce the Indians to migrate to the cities (Termination Policy). In Alaska, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act from 1971 created a system of shareholdings and cash flows, against which the indigenous people gave up their reservations, apart from Metlakatla on Annette Island .

In Canada, too, the path of privatization has recently been taken. In recent decades, many rights have been fought for in courts, including reparations and shares in the income generated on their land - for example through mineral resources or dams - as well as compensation for mistreatment in schools (see Residential School ). Nevertheless, every second Indian now lives in a city.

In South America, the struggles against subjugation began much earlier, such as in the Mixtón War (until 1542), and lasted into the middle of the 20th century. After the destruction of the great empires, the Spaniards penetrated far to the north and subjugated the Pueblo population on the Rio Grande . In 1680 they succeeded in an uprising that lasted until 1692. The Mayan resistance to land expropriation, enslavement and humiliation was sparked by the execution of several Mayan leaders on July 30, 1847. The rebellion known as the Caste War spread throughout the Yucatan and lasted until 1901. The last Cruzoob , as the insurgents called themselves, did not join until 1935 Peace treaty with the government, which allows them to manage their villages to this day. The uprising of the Zapatistas , which began in Chiapas province in 1994, was also based on the resistance of the Indians, but made use of Western ideologies and guerrilla tactics .

In Bolivia, the only country in which the majority consists of Indians, an Indian president has ruled since 2006. Evo Morales was confirmed in 2008 with 67% of the vote. “Poverty, inadequate access to educational and health facilities as well as a lack of integration into the formal economic life” were the reasons for the resistance of the Indians here, as well as in neighboring Peru - alongside the lack of respect for their culture. The impoverished, also non-indigenous land is increasingly allied against the centralized capitals Lima and La Paz . Well-educated Indians, like Alberto Pizango , who led 1,350 Amazonian villages, represented their claims in courts of law and on the political level, as in North America. In 2009 fighting broke out in which up to 250 Indians were killed.

Dilson Ingarico, President of the Ingaricò Indigenous
Council in Brazil
Member of the Rikbaktsa during the Indigenous Games in
Olinda, Brazil

The situation is completely different in those states of South America in which the Indians have become a small minority, such as Brazil. The land expropriation there is continued, albeit more by companies in search of mineral resources and by landowners, such as against the Makuxi in the north or the Guarani in the south. The government is not adequately counteracting this development, as the Supreme Court found on March 17, 2009. He decided that the Raposa / Serra do Sol reserve in the state of Roraima belongs to the local ethnic groups. The reserve near the border with Guyana was awarded to the Indians by President da Silva in 2005 , but the government did not even intervene when fighting broke out. Since 2002, the Tremembé in the Brazilian city of Ceará have been fighting against a tourism project for their 3,100 hectare reserve. The Suruí , a tribe in the province of Rondônia , which 40 years ago had 5,000 and today only 1,300 members, have contacted Google Earth Outreach . They want to make the destruction of the rainforest visible via Google Earth and monitor their area. The largest forced relocation is planned on the Rio Madeira , where GDF Suez , a semi-public French company, is building the Jirau dam. The Lula government is planning something similar on the Rio Xingu , where filmmaker James Cameron has since intervened. Voith Hydro , Siemens and Andritz provide some of the technical equipment . Dam construction projects also threaten Indian cultures in Canada, for example in British Columbia, as did buildings in the western USA since the beginning of the 20th century. They prevented the salmon migration and thus deprived the dependent tribes of their livelihood.

The situation is particularly unfavorable among the around 100 isolated indigenous groups around the world , who should be spared any (further) contact, because otherwise they would fall victim to diseases that are unknown to them. Such groups exist in Brazil, Peru and Ecuador, as well as in the Chaco area of ​​Paraguay, where the Ayoreo live.


In ethnology , especially for North America, more rarely for Central and South America, a rough classification of indigenous cultures is carried out according to so-called cultural areas , in which ethnic groups with similar cultural-historical characteristics are summarized (see also: North American cultural areas and cultures of the indigenous peoples of South America ) .

Narration, literature, writing

Except for some Central American cultures that had pictorial writing, such as the Maya , who developed a real writing system, the cultures of the Western Hemisphere left little written evidence. But in the last few years the oldest writings were dated around 900 BC. Backdated. The so-called Cascajal stone from the early 1st millennium BC BC shows 62 characters on an area of ​​36 by 21 cm. It proves that the Olmecs, possibly the first, developed a writing system.

Chronicles existed among the Plains Indians that used graphic symbols for important events. These chronicles could not be understood without verbal commentary. The most important pictorial script is the tribal legend of Lenni Lenape , known as Walam Olum, who lives in the east of the USA and is recorded on tree bark . The transmission was therefore largely oral. The oral tradition , however, was to preserve past events able centuries and sometimes millennia. Another memorization technique is the erection of memorial marks, such as totem poles , which were erected on the northwest coast for important deceased persons.

Sequoyah with a table of the Cherokee script he developed. After a painting by Charles Bird King

Early on, missionaries developed scripts that were supposed to reproduce the sounds of the Indian languages ​​more appropriately than the limited possibilities of the Latin and Cyrillic characters allow. In addition, there were independent developments, such as the Cherokee alphabet developed by Sequoyah from 1809 . Today, numerous tribes, such as the Cree, have their own script.

From 1828 to 1834 Gallegina Watie (Elias Boudinot), a Cherokee, was able to publish a newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix , which appeared weekly in English and Cherokee .

North America

In contrast to the narratives of the oral culture, the literary production is predominantly based on the colonial languages, which paradoxically have become the main internal Indian communication media. In addition to the main stream of literature, native literature represents the tradition of the ethnic groups of North America. Despite the translation (into English and French) and the written form, it is deeply rooted in oral traditions.

The written tradition that began in the 17th century through translation into English or French had a distorting effect due to Christian moral reservations and misunderstandings. In addition, numerous stories have lineages and may only be told in certain ritual contexts. The majority of them are neither publicly available nor translated.

William Apes: The Experience of William Apes, a Native of the Forest , 1831

The independent literary tradition goes back at least to the early 19th century, as shown by William Apes' The Experience of William Apes, a Native of the Forest from 1831. Apes (1798–1839) was a Pequot and, like George Copway , an Anishinabe , and Chief Elias Johnson, a Tuscarora , is one of the early examples of American literature. This tradition can be extended to Joseph Brant , who was called Thayendanegea (1742-1807) - he translated the Anglican catechism and the Gospel according to Mark into the language of the Mohawk . The isolated work of Oliver La Farge , the novella Laughing Boy from 1929, as well as the daughter of a Mohawk chief Emily Pauline Johnson (1861–1913) with works such as The Song My Paddle Sings , Flint and Feather or The, represent another attempt at breaking new ground White Wampum , which were also published in the US and UK. She dedicated an ode to Brant to Thayendanegea / Brant .

Emily Pauline Johnson: The White Wampum , 1895

The Kiowa N. Scott Momaday received the Pulitzer Prize for House Made of Dawn in 1969 , and Vine Deloria published Custer Died For Your Sins. To Indian Manifesto . Dee Brown's Burying My Heart at the Bend of the River in 1970 went beyond the national framework . Now authors like Norval Morrisseau with Legends ( Ojibwa Legends of My People , 1965), Dan George and Rita Joe with poetic (My Heart Soars, 1974 and Poems of Rita Joe, 1978), but also political works (Harold Cardinal: The Rebirth of Canada's Indians , 1977) recognized in the north. The regaining of cultural autonomy after the prohibitions of central traditions such as the potlatch (George Clutesi: Potlatch , 1969) also played an important role . Overall, attempts to tie in with the remnants of one's own cultures increased (John Snow: These Mountains Are Our Sacred Places 1977, Beverly Hungry Wolf: The Ways of My Grandmothers , 1980). Here played autobiographical approaches an important role (Rita Joe: Song of Rita Joe: Autobiography of a Mi'kmaq Poet ).


The Dresden Codex, 39 sheets, approx. 20 by 10 cm, approx. 1200 to 1250, p. 9 of the Förstemann edition

Mesoamerica, the region with a long tradition of writing, took up both Spanish and Mayan traditions, such as those of the ruler of Palenque , K'inich Janaab 'Pakal (615-683), in the Temple of Inscriptions . The connection between text and illustration is very close, similar to the four surviving Mayan codices that were written on the inside of worked tree bark from the 5th century, especially of the fig species Ficus glabrata. The Codex Dresdensis (1st half of the 13th century) is the most important among them .

Codex Borgia , p. 71, probably written shortly before the arrival of the Spaniards in Puebla, facsimile edition 1898. The codex was probably used by priests to exercise their ministry. The sun (left), moon (right) and morning star (small symbol) and the 13 birds (= hours) of the day are shown

Bishop Diego de Landa had most of the Maya codices burned from 1562 onwards. Nevertheless, as with the Aztecs , where around 500 of them were created in the colonial phase and still exist today, at least in part, a tradition of codex production has maintained. Most of the Aztec codices do not contain any characters, or they were entered later in Latin script and in Nahuatl . Missionaries wrote their first grammars and dictionaries in this language. The history and prophecy books Chilam Balam were already shaped by both cultural roots . Pre-Hispanic, rather pictographic traditions were combined with those of the colonial period in writing, with the latter slowly gaining the upper hand.

In the more ritualistic performance of oral text presentation, singing played a different role than in Europe. In the 16th century, 91 Aztec songs were recorded in the Cantares Mexicanos , which means that around half of the song texts have survived. The only surviving Mayan songs are the Cantares de Dzitbalché from the 17th century. The mixing of Spanish and Indian traditions is called mestizaje . The literature of the Chicano , which originated from the emigrants to the USA and refers strongly to the Indian roots, refers to this culture of the mestizos .

Similar to North America, Mexico created a literary image of the Indian that was subject to similar changes.

South America

In the south of the continent there was no literary and pictographic tradition that went back as far as that in Mesoamerica. There was indeed the quipu, a means of memorizing knots, which the knot cords, quipucamayos, knew how to use, but the purpose of the cords remains unclear. Nevertheless, oral traditions and the persistence of indigenous traditions had a strong impact on the development of writing and literature.

In the 20th century, indigenism emerged , the most important protagonist of which was José María Arguedas from Peru. He was of Quechua origin and grew up with them. As an ethnologist, he published the Waruchiri manuscript from the 16th century in Spanish in 1966 , which, although flawed, made it known to a wider audience - it had already been translated into German by Hermann Trimborn in 1939. It is considered the most important monument of early colonial Quechua literature . It is also the only collection of texts in Quechua and deals with myths and descriptions of religious ceremonies in the hinterland of Lima - probably from the pen of the clergyman of Indian-Spanish origin Francisco de Avila (before 1608). At that time, the Viceroy Toledo had already implemented reductions, i.e. the concentration and resettlement of the Indians. The piece was written at a time when Indian and Spanish traditions were already overlapping each other.

One of the traditions from Quechua pen, the Comentarios reales de los incas (1609) by El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega , shows a high level of competence in the author's native language despite decades of use of Spanish. Similar to Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayalas Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (around 1615), the work still shows strongly indigenous features and combines oral and written form.

Apu Ollantay , a drama probably from the 18th century, which deals with the forbidden love of the eponymous Inca general for the Inca princess Kusiquyllurs, was particularly popular during the independence movements. Spaniards living in Cuzco in particular and demanding a solution from the colonial power may even consider Quechua to be the appropriate language for their movement.

Quechua has now become a literary language in its own right - Aymara less - into which more and more is being translated. In 1975 Jorge Lira processed the stories he had collected (Isicha Puytu). This was later followed by fairy tales from Urubamba , then Unay pachas by Rufino Chuquimamani, Pirumanta qillqasqa willakuykuna by Carmelón Berrocal and in 1992 Unay willakuykuna by Crescencio Ramos.

Among the more well-known works is the autobiography of Gregorio Condori Mamani and Asunta Quispe Huamán, recorded by Ricardo Valderrama Fernández and Carmen Escalante Gutiérrez in 1982.

In 1994 José Oregón Morales published eight short stories (Loro qulluchi - Fighting Parrots), in which he processed his rural childhood in the Andes and varied fairy tales. Porfirio Meneses Lazón wrote Quechua poems (Suyaypa llaqtan, 1988) and short stories (Achikyay willaykuna (Tales of Dawn, 1998)) in which he contrasts his narrative style with the popular dialogues.

The literary prize Premio de cuento del Concurso Nacional de Literatura Quechua went to Macedonio Villafán Broncano (* 1949) in 1997 for his story Apu Kolkijirka (Mr. Silberberg). Apu, a mountain deity, appears as a first-person narrator and tells the story of "his" place Cutacancha ( Ancash region ).

Art, craft, ritual

According to the interaction between the natural environment and cultural development, the traditions were extremely different. While the monumental cultures between the Mississippi and the Andes often used stone and clay as raw material, the wooded regions of the north preferred wood and other organic materials.

Today the fine Indian art is growing in an expanding art market. Works of traditional carving, such as the totem poles of the Pacific coastal cultures, have become collector's items.

Sculpture by Bill Reid : The Haida Creation Story, in which the raven finds people in a shell (Photo: Joe Goldberg)
Tlingit totem pole in Ketchikan , Alaska

In Canada and Alaska the West Coast Native Art dominates - these were masters of the Haida, Tsimshian and Kwakiutl , then Nuu-chah-nulth and Coastal Salish - and the "Woodlands" school of the "Legend Painters" - above all Norval Morrisseau, an Ojibwa that was sometimes called the "Picasso of the North".

Barter in works for travelers, such as moccasins or small carvings, began by the 17th century at the latest . This art is still offered today in all quality levels. Traditional art often covers the expectations of art that is brought to it, but at the same time tries to find a compromise between the traditions. It often serves a work production that is not perceived as art, but serves ritual, often hidden purposes. Artists such as Tony Hunt and Bill Reid (1920–1998) - despite the prohibition of public rituals such as the potlatch - continued the traditions that were mainly adopted by the Haida Charles Edenshaw (around 1839–1920), Willie Seaweed (1873–1967 ) and Mungo Martin (1879 / 82–1962) were inherited from the Kwakiutl .

In 1973 seven artists founded the "Indian Group of Seven". In addition to contemporary influences, they processed pictographic traditions of the Algonquin and petroglyphs of the Canadian shield . Many artists who work with non-traditional techniques, on the other hand, see themselves primarily as artists and are reluctant to be labeled “Indian artists”.

As in the north, objects such as hats, blankets and baskets were the focus in today's USA, as well as artfully decorated weapons and pipes, in some regions a highly developed architecture. However, the objects were not an art production in the western sense and were not intended for a market. That changed from the 1820s, when the natural foundations of life of the Indians were increasingly destroyed. This is how the Iroquois Realist School was born at the Haudenosaunee in New York City , run by David and Dennis Cusick. Edmonia Lewis (approx. 1845–1911), an artist of African and Indian ancestry (Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation) with a studio in Rome , carved the portrait of President Ulysses S. Grant in 1877 . Angel DeCora (Hinook-Mahiwi-Kilinaka, 1871-1919), who studied at Hampton University, was involved in the Arts and Crafts Movement (around 1870 to 1920, especially in the USA and Great Britain) and conveyed the importance of art to her students Development of self-esteem and resistance to the state's assimilation policy. Another important group were the Kiowa Five from Oklahoma, who first exhibited in Prague in 1928 .

Seated Quimbaya Kazike, built between the 2nd and 10th centuries

The artistic and ritual traditions of Central and South America adopted new materials early on, which the colonizers introduced. Don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxóchitl , a direct descendant of Ixtlilxochitl I of Texcoco , was already painting with ink and water color on paper (Codex Ixtlilxochitl) in the 16th century.

The arts of metal and stone working can be traced much further back. In terms of metals, gold and copper in particular were processed. Numerous relics testify to the craftsmanship, even if many works were melted down by Spaniards who were only interested in gold and who rejected the symbolic artifacts.


See: History of Architecture in the United States # Native American Architecture


Wall painting in Temple 1 in Bonampak , a Mayan city in Chiapas , ca.790

Systematic music collections did not begin in the north until around 1900. In 1911 these were songs by the Malecite and Mi'kmaq from Kahnawake and Lorette. At the same time, scientists recorded chants of the Hurons , Algonquin and Iroquois, the Delaware and Tutelo . But it was only the anthropologist and dancer Gertrude Prokosch Kurath (1903–1992) who succeeded in developing a notation system for the Iroquois dances. Studies of ritual dances followed (William Fenton: The Iroquois Eagle Dance , 1953) and medical societies ( The False Faces of the Iroquois , Norman, Oklahoma 1987).

The music of the Cree and Ojibwa, Blackfoot and Sarcee followed, with researchers from the USA making important contributions as early as 1900. They examined both traditional and blood- adapted country and western music, as well as Christian hymns.

James Teit recorded chants by the Sikani , Tahltan , Tlingit, Carrier , Okanagan and Nlaka'pamux , in 1913 collections were made by the Sikani up to the Great Slave Lake . Others followed in the 1970s and 1980s at Coastal Salish in British Columbia and Washington.

It was not until the 1980s that the First Nations began to conduct research themselves. There were also labels that were worn by Indians.

In addition to drums and various flutes, the Maya used maracas and ocarinas . There is also a stringed instrument that has been shown to imitate the voice of a jaguar. The connection to dance and ritual, like everywhere in America, was much closer than in Europe.

In total, there are six areas in North America: that of the Inuit and the northwest coast, then California and Arizona, the Great Basin, the Athapasques, Plains and Pueblo, and the Eastern Woodland. Basically singing is in the foreground, instruments form a rhythmic accompaniment. The singing is more dominant in the north, especially east of the Rocky Mountains, and more subdued in the south. Drums and rattles (in South America maraca) predominate, in addition there were various flutes in Meso and South America, finally as a special drum shape the teponaztli .

In the north, on the northwest coast, a complex ritual music culture developed with extensive dance rituals and long texts that were learned by heart. Melodies and lyrics in California and the Great Basin are simpler and shorter, falsetto was preferred. Costumed dances predominate here, which are rather rare among the Athabaskan groups, except for the Apaches influenced by the pueblos. Singing was also used for healing among the Navajo. Music was never an activity in itself, but rather was strongly integrated into a social framework. The music of the prairies is best studied, and it is common to the widespread powwows .

Little is known about the pre-Hispanic music of South America. Polyphonic singing was developed especially in Patagonia. Traditional music with singing, flute and percussion still exists in Brazil and the neighboring tropical forest areas .

Museums, libraries


A Medicine Wheel , a holy site and a National Historic Landmark in Wyoming

Ethnic religions of North America , religion of the Aztecs , religion of the Maya , ethnic religions of the present in Mesoamerica , religion of the Inca , indigenous religions of South America

The ethnic religions of America were based for the most part on the idea of ​​an all-soulness of natural phenomena ( animism ). In the high cultures there was a priestly rule ( theocracy ), which manifested itself in huge structures between Mississippi and the Andes. Schools for priests were also established here, while the elderly were trained as medicine men , but also in secret societies that passed on their knowledge to their members.

To a large extent, this was based on a close relationship to the natural environment, so that the focus was on weather, plants and animals, earth and sky, but also stars and the calculation of events over the course of the year. Creation myths and the collective memory of a common ancestor who often came from the animal kingdom were common, as was sometimes the belief in a creator god (who, however, mostly no longer had any influence on people). Some tribes revered an impersonal life energy, which was expressed in the sun, as the fertility of the earth, as wisdom or strength, which was expressed in bears, wolves, ravens, snakes or the Quetzalcoatl .

The religious contents were site and family specific and had no universal claim to validity . The focus was on the sanctity of places, rituals, knowledge and stories, dances and music and people. The advanced civilizations developed complex public rituals in which thousands of people participated.

Initiation and training were often the task of the elders, with necromancers and medicine people this was often done through spontaneous visions. Even as children, some tribal groups - such as the coastal Salish - selected and taught the "historians" of the families and tribes. In the written cultures of the Maya and Aztecs, rituals were recorded in writing, the religious contents symbolically recorded.

In Latin America, the orders and the crown pushed for proselytizing , a task that the conquerors only superficially took on (Conquistador Proclamation), often in order to be able to subordinate or kill those pagans who did not speak Latin and were therefore incomprehensible and reluctant to "conform to the law". At the same time, the Spanish state had largely detached the ecclesiastical organization from Rome and converted it into a state church , which with the Inquisition had a dreaded weapon at its disposal. Accordingly, the crown promoted missions throughout Latin America and at the same time used the church to keep the grandees under control and to prevent the Reformation forces from penetrating the colonies.

Claude d'Abbeville: Histoire de la Mission , Paris 1614, frontispiece; with Latin quotation from Isaiah 49, 22

This also strengthened the orders further north, where they, especially the Jesuits, were also active for France. The religions of the Latin American Indians and, to a lesser extent, of New France were confronted with Catholic rituals, relocations and reunions were often carried out, which encouraged a strong mixing of the previously separated groups, as was the case with the Guaranì in Paraguay. In doing so, missionaries often allied themselves with the caciques, the respective elites, and the Jesuits even gave them military leadership tasks.

The conversion of the Indians was mostly unsuccessful at the beginning, as the people usually saw no reason to give up their "proven" faith. Moreover, the striving for conversion was completely alien to them and incomprehensible. Christianity was therefore mostly only accepted as a form of spiritual healing in the north after devastating epidemics or cultural uprooting . Indian blessed and saints like Kateri Tekakwitha then served as models. The Jesuits initially played a leading role in the missionary work, and in the 19th century the Oblates . Few Protestant groups such as Methodists and Baptists proselytized in the English-speaking part of America, plus Russian Orthodox missionaries in Alaska. Therefore, the Indians are predominantly Catholic today, but form a denominational patchwork quilt in the northwest. There, as in Latin America, eclectic forms developed, such as the Indian Shaker Church , or, as in Peru, groups that kept the memory of the Incas alive. Syncretistic “mixed religions” often emerged; the largest in North America is the Native American Church , also known as peyotism due to the worship of an intoxicant . Syncretistic forms of religion formed the basis for the oracle known as the Speaking Cross , which Jose María Barrera called on October 15, 1850 to continue the caste war against the Mexican government. The cross grew on the roots of a kapok tree , the sacred tree of life, which in turn grew out of a cave that represented a sacred place that was located at a cenote (Ts'ono'ot), a place of the rain gods Cháak . Crescencio Poot (1875–1885) and María Uicab († 1872), the "Queen of Tulum", were the keepers of the cross and thus important insurgent leaders .

Numerous features of pre-European spirituality have survived or have been revived and further developed. Many rituals are still only practiced within limited groups or by secret societies. This applies, for example, to the sun dance of the prairie cultures or the medicine leagues of the Iroquois . In the north, the term “ medicine ” plays an important role. To record complex processes or historical events, secret societies of the Algonquian tribes have often been using birch bark since at least the 16th century, on which spiritually significant knowledge was carved in encrypted form. The speaking cross is still venerated today, but only among Mayans.

In view of the contradicting role that mission and church have played towards the Indians, it is not surprising that the Brazilian indigenous peoples heard the testimony of Pope Benedict XVI in May 2007 . rejected that the Catholic Church had redeemed the Indians in Latin America. Even his predecessor, John Paul II , had admitted mistakes in evangelization in 1992 .


The governments of North America have established institutions that are responsible for the affairs of the Indians, but which often emerged from the war ministries. In Canada this is the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (also Indian and Northern Affairs Canada ), in the USA since 1824 the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is now subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior . In turn, each province or most states have a department or a corresponding department that also deals with this topic.

On the other hand, there are a number of political parties in Canada and the Assembly of First Nations as an umbrella organization. It is the mouthpiece of all First Nations, leads litigation and is now active beyond national borders, for example at the United Nations , when it comes to human rights issues. Tribal councils, which sometimes only represent a few, sometimes several dozen tribes , keep archives , conduct contract negotiations and usually represent the linguistically and culturally close tribes to the government.

Below this level there are two conflicting systems, namely the government-prescribed system of elected chiefs and their advisors, on the one hand, and that of traditional chiefs. In many tribes, the government-sponsored electoral chiefs rule the tribal councils, which in turn assign numerous politically and economically important positions. Then there are young adults and children, whose number is growing rapidly, but who are not sufficiently represented in either group. The proportion of the urban population is also steadily increasing. In the United States, many tribes have had self-government rights and police and courts of law on their reservations since the 1930s.

The question of the possibility of quasi-state sovereignty with corresponding territories stands in stark contrast both in Canada and in the USA to the attempt to treat the tribes as the sum of individuals. Part of their traditional territory is to be returned to the tribes of Canada, but no longer as collective property, like the reservations, but as private, alienable property. Given the widespread poverty, it is foreseeable that this would lead to the sale of large parts of Indian land, an assimilation strategy that the USA has long pursued.

The social problems such as poverty, illnesses, alcohol and drug problems, the breakup of family structures, as well as the threat to subsistence farming through restrictions on fishing and hunting rights, ecological problems and the consequences of numerous forced relocations hit these groups particularly hard. These existential problems have led to a greatly increased suicide rate, especially in the USA and Canada. In the US it is 70% higher than the US average. Indian youth between the ages of 15 and 24 kill themselves three times as often as their American contemporaries. At the same time, gang violence is increasing significantly in some reservations.

For a long time there have been efforts of economic and cultural recovery. The latter revolves around language and rituals, and in some tribes around the restoration of the traditional social systems.

In Mexico, the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI), the “National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples”, is responsible.

Members of various ethnic groups protest against their poor living conditions in the Vale do Javarí on the border between Peru and Brazil, January 2008

In Brazil the responsible institution is called Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI) , which is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice. It was founded in 1910 by Cândido Rondon , under his direction the first reserve was created in 1961 (on the Rio Xingu ). After that, FUNAI became almost insignificant and the Ministry of Justice has been monitoring the legislation, which was last updated in 2008, since 2002 (). FUNAI assumes 5.6 million Indians around 1500, as well as 1,300 languages, today 460,000 in around 215 known nations, 100 to 190,000 of them live in cities. A distinction is made between 180 known languages ​​and, after centuries of assimilation, the diversity is supported. It was not until 1953 that Brazilian anthropology, later the Associação Brasileira de Antropologia , founded in 1955 , developed a naming convention for all tribes.

Organizations like the Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin and the Indian Council of South America try to strengthen the rights of the Indians across borders, similar to the International Indian Treaty Council for the whole of America. There are also representations at the UN and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization .

The neglect of entire regions and the lack of land reforms in some countries led to Indian groups supporting the left, sometimes militant opposition, such as the Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru , which derives its name from the last Inca ruler. Even in states where the Indians are a small minority, such as Colombia, they try to protect their land against privatization, for example through raw material companies. Martín von Hildebrand helped them to secure constitutional status to protect their culture, languages ​​and reservations. On August 23, 2011, the Peruvian Congress approved a bill that makes it mandatory to consult the regional indigenous group if a company wants to mine the local raw materials or cut wood.


Charrúa on the Río de la Plata with a bola , a hunting weapon. Hendrick Ottsen: Iovrnael often daghelijcx-register van de voyagie na Rio de Plata . 1603, 1617. Ottsen had traveled to South America from 1598 to 1601.

Hunting and fishing are often used for livelihood, but commercial fishing is only possible to a limited extent. Many fish stocks are declining and governments tend to favor commercial fishing, which the Indians are often banned from. In the north, the timber industry is in crisis as large quantities of excess wood are entering the market due to the catastrophic losses caused by the mountain pine beetle . In South America, significant forests are being destroyed for biodiesel , so that Guarani, for example, have been forcibly relocated in Paraguay. Soaring raw material prices from 2006 to 2008 fueled existing conflicts, and so the pressure on the tribes to issue mining permits grew. The natural environment is a prerequisite for maintaining the cultural diversity that characterizes the Indian cultures.

Self-government and tourism create jobs for many reserve residents in numerous parks that have emerged in the last few decades, which neither destroy natural resources to the extent that they have so far, nor keep them dependent on state welfare.

In addition to the traditional economic methods, the transfer of land to raw material and energy companies and the fact that the Indians try to use their rural economic base through logging, the production of water power , wind and solar energy , raw material extraction, tourism, handicrafts and agriculture, two are growing Areas in North America particularly fast: gambling and business contacts with other indigenous peoples.

In Meso and South America, agriculture, which has its historical roots there, is much more in Indian hands than in the north. In many areas, Indio has almost become a synonym for campesino , rural dwellers, whereby subsistence farming often predominates. But the product range is very different from outside the Indian metropolitan areas. Thousands of potato varieties, for example, represent almost the entire variety of varieties in the world. The spectrum of export goods extends from mate tea to coffee to coca and poppy seed products , which reach the illegal world market in various ways.

The Mohegan Sun , the casino operated by the Mohegan
Avi Resort and Casino in Nevada

Starting in the USA since 1979, casinos have been playing an increasing role, which are increasingly developing into tourism and entertainment companies. While there were only 17 casinos in Canada in 2008, there were over 400 so-called Indian casinos in 27 states in the USA . Of these, 54 are in California alone, 73 in Oklahoma , where the US Indians have a significant settlement focus, and a further 115 are in the northernmost states along the Canadian border. In total, the North American casinos employ around half a million people and had a turnover of around 20 billion dollars in 2005 , a large part of which benefits the Indian owners.


In Canada and the USA, television and radio stations offer broadcast times in the local Indian languages, but the Internet has become particularly important. The first own television stations emerged in the USA, such as the North West Indian News (NWIN) or the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network . Since the end of 2009, the first television station in Ecuador has also broadcast a program that is offered in Quechua.


Susan La Flesche Picotte († 1915), was the first Indian woman in the USA to obtain a doctorate (Dr. med.).

Access to the labor market depends on the type of training, access to education and the accessibility of the workplace. The rural indigenous peoples face considerable problems.

After the boarding systems in the English-speaking countries of the north had been dissolved in the 1960s, many Indian groups took over the schools themselves. In the meantime , the connection to the Internet is of great importance, especially for the often very rural reserves .

It is noticeable that the proportion of schoolchildren who achieve a higher level of education is considerably lower than that of the rest of the population. According to a government report from Canada, only around 27% of 15 to 44-year-olds obtained a so-called post-secondary certificate , diploma or degree , a proportion that is otherwise 46%. The transition to higher education is hindered by bureaucratic hurdles, and in many cases by the great distances to the educational establishment. In Latin America, the situation in rural areas is even worse in this regard, especially when, as in the Andes, they are very isolated. In addition, the type of education and training that comes from the cities can only be transferred to a limited extent to rural or even Indian-traditional ways of life. In addition, the educational languages ​​are also the colonial languages.

A national First Nations university in Regina , in Saskatchewan, has been providing university education in Canada since 2003 . In addition, numerous colleges teach various aspects of indigenous cultures, many work with research institutes, museums, universities and private companies, especially in the archaeological field.

Even the simplest recording of statements about education, such as the question of reading skills , creates enormous methodological problems. Nevertheless, the Bolivian President Evo Morales announced at the end of 2008 that 820,000 people in his country had learned to read within three years. This means that the UN has reached the mark of more than 96% reading ability, and Bolivia is free from illiteracy .

Since 1994 there has been intercultural and bilingual teaching in Bolivia, at the beginning of 2007 around 1.2 million students received state aid. In societies with extremely different cultural groups, the objective of mere literacy proves to be too one-sidedly oriented towards needs that are already aligned with the global economic structure. The discussion about culturally appropriate educational paths, resources and content determined by the groups themselves is only just beginning at the state level.

See also



  • Werner Arens, Hans-Martin Braun: The Indians of North America. History, culture, religion. C. H. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-50830-8 .
  • Urs Bitterli : The “savages” and the “civilized”. Basics of an intellectual and cultural history of the European-overseas encounter. C. H. Beck, Munich 2004 (first edition: 1976), ISBN 3-406-35583-8 .
  • Patricia Roberts Clark: Tribal names of the Americas. Spelling variants and alternative forms, cross-referenced , McFarland, 2009, ISBN 0-7864-3833-9 (for North, Central and South America)
  • Lothar Dräger, Rolf Krusche, Klaus Hoffmann: Indians of North America. Exhibition catalog, Karl-May-Museum Radebeul (ed.), Munich 1992, ISBN 3-87490-514-4 .
  • Brian M. Fagan : Ancient North America. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London and New York 1991, ISBN 0-500-27606-4 (also German: The early North America - Archeology of a continent. Translated by Wolfgang Müller, Verlag C. H. Beck, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-406-37245- 7. )
  • Hazel W. Hertzberg: The Search for an American Indian Identity. Modern Pan-Indian Movements , Syracuse University Press, 1971.
  • Gord Hill: Five Centuries of Indigenous Resistance in North, Central and South America , Verlag Edition AV, 2012 ( 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance , Oakland (California) 2009). (The author is Kwakiutl ; the work was created until 1992 on the occasion of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the "discovery" of America)
  • Alvin M. Josephy (Ed.): America 1492. The Indian peoples before the discovery. S. Fischer, Frankfurt 1992, ISBN 3-10-036712-X .
  • Susanne von Karstedt: Actors, ideologies, instruments: the basics of US American and Argentine Indian policy (1853–1899) in comparison. Scientific publishing house, Berlin 2006.
  • Charles C. Mann: 1491: New Revelations of the Americans Before Columbus. Vintage Books, New York 2005, ISBN 1-4000-4006-X .
  • Steven T. Newcomb: Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. Fulcrum Publishing, 2008.
  • Heinzgerd Rickert: The image of the Indian in Europe. Bochumer Universitäts-Verlag, Bochum 2008, ISBN 978-3-89966-232-0 .
  • Günter Stoll, Rüdiger Vaas: Searching for traces in Indian country. Hirzel, Stuttgart 2001.
  • Smithsonian Institution (Ed.): Handbook of North American Indians . Washington, DC , since 1978.
  • Robert Wauchope (Ed.): Handbook of Middle American Indians. University of Texas Press, 1964-1976, 16 volumes.

Web links

Wikiquote: Indians  - Quotes
Commons : Indians  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Indians  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikisource: Indians  - Sources and full texts


  1. On the traces on the Californian Channel Islands going back to 13,000 BP, cf. Troy W. Davis, Jon M. Erlandson, Gerrit L. Fenenga, Keith Hamm: Chipped Stone Crescents and the Antiquity of Maritime Settlement on San Nicolas Island, Alta California , in: California Archeology 2.2 (December 2010) 185–202, here: p. 186.
  2. ^ Nancy Shoemaker: How Indians got to be red. , published June 1997 at American Historical Review , downloaded July 12, 2016
  3. Each of us “comes from a people who has also had the experience of facing the forces of colonization by outsiders and has been subjected to attempts at physical and cultural genocide. Each knows the pressure to assimilate to other cultural patterns, and the pain of loss that has been handed down across the generations of people since contact ... So it is that coming from such diverse cultures, we can join together to say, we are one. “( Gail Tremblay at an exhibition on contemporary art, We Are Many, We Are One , edited by Jaune Quick-to-SeeSmith, 1997.)
  4. Juliana Ströbele-Gregor: Indigenous Emancipation Movements in Latin America , in: From Politics and Contemporary History (Federal Center for Political Education, APuZ 51-52 / 2006).
  5. For the identification of the individual strains cf. Indian Reservations in the Continental United States . On the status of land claims (1978) cf. Indian Land Areas Judicially Established 1978
  6. See Seth Garfield: Indigenous Struggle at the Heart of Brazil. State Policy, Frontier Expansion, and the Xavante Indians, 1937–1988 , Duke University Press, 2001.
  7. For a list of recognized tribes by state, see Federal and State Recognized Tribes , as of February 2015.
  8. A list can be found here: US Federally Non-Recognized Indian Tribes - Index by State .
  9. This and the following information from CIA World Factbook, February 2009
  10. See list of Indian tribes recognized in Canada .
  11. The official list of the US reserves excluding Alaska, plus tribal lists and a map, can be found here , the list of the indigenous people of Alaska here .
  12. Raymond Colitt: Brazil sees traces of more isolated Amazon tribes , Reuters January 17, 2007
  13. ↑ It is not for nothing that John Eliot titled his Indian grammar in 1666 with the title: The Indian grammar begun: or an Essay to bring the Indian Language into Rules, For the help of such desires as to Learn the same, for the Furtherance of the Gospel among them , Cambridge 1666. See fig. ( Memento of May 13, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (, May 13, 2008).
  14. FirstVoices offers one of the most extensive collections of teaching materials .
  15. Sistema Nacional de Información Estadística y Geográfica (SNIEG) . Broken down by provinces: Población hablante de lengua indígena de 5 y más años por entidad federativa según sexo, 2000 y 2005
  16. On the spread of languages ​​in America cf. Johannes Reese: The states and territories of the world and their linguistic situation. America ( Memento of September 6, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  17. Native Languages ​​of the Americas: Preserving and promoting American Indian languages gives an impression of over 800 languages
  18. ^ Rick Kearns: Indigenous languages ​​added to new Ecuadorian constitution . In: Indian Country , August 22, 2008.
  19. David Reich, Nick Patterson, et al .: Reconstructing Native American population history , Nature 2012, online publication: July 11, 2012, doi: 10.1038 / nature11258
  20. The dating of the finds in the Chilean Monte Verde to approx. 13,800 BC does not fit into this pattern . However, this dating is methodologically highly controversial.
  21. ↑ In 2008 a team of researchers found that teosinte in the central valley of the Río Balsas in southern Mexico is the starting variety. In the Xihuatoxtla shelter there, 8,700-year-old traces of teosinte and pumpkin (possibly Cucurbita argyrosperma ) were found, along with appropriate tools. See Dolores R. Piperno , Anthony J. Ranere, Irene Holst, Jose Iriarte and Ruth Dickau: Starch grain and phytolith evidence for early ninth millennium BP maize from the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico , in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , ed. v. Jeremy A. Sabloff, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia 2009.
  22. ↑ In detail: George Weber: Los Toldos sites (Santa Cruz, Argentina) ( Memento from January 20, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  23. General information on the settlement of South America: Poblamiento Prehistórico de América y de Patagonia
  24. Christine Papp: The Tehuelche. An ethnohistorical contribution to a centuries-long non-encounter , Diss. Vienna 2002, p. 75.
  25. Berthold Seewald: German researchers find huge pyramids in Peru , in: Die Welt, October 19, 2006 and Peru: Oldest building in South America exposed .
  26. See Horst Pietschmann: State and State Development at the Beginning of the Spanish Colonization of America , Münster 1980 and Hans-Jürgen Prien: The History of Christianity in Latin America, Göttingen 1978
  27. Massimo Livi Bacci offers a comprehensive overview: Conquista: La distruzione degli indios americani , Bologna 2005.
  28. Cortés, Hernán: The Conquest of Mexico. Three reports to Emperor Charles V p. 85
  29. For comprehensive trauma and healing approaches cf. Cynthia C. Wesley-Esquimaux and Magdalena Smolewski: Historic Trauma and Aboriginal Healing , The Aboriginal Healing Foundation Research Series 2004, ISBN 0-9733976-9-1 .
  30. Barbara I. Tshisuaka: Smallpox (Variola, Blattern) . In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-097694-6 , p. 1172 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
  31. This experiment is always the subject of non-scientific discussion. Thomas Brown, for example, said: Did the US Army Distribute Smallpox Blankets to Indians? Fabrication and Falsification in Ward Churchill's Genocide Rhetoric , in: plagiary 1/9 (2006) 1-30 or [Guenter Lewy: Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? , History News Network, November 22, 2004]. See also Peter d'Errico: Jeffrey Amherst and Smallpox Blankets , University of Massachusetts 2007
  32. On the debate on the genocide question, cf. Guenter Lewy: Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? , History News Network, November 22, 2004 .
  33. See David E. Stannard: American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World , Oxford University Press 1993; Russell Thornton: American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492 , University of Oklahoma Press 1987; Lilian Friedberg in Dare to Compare: Americanizing the Holocaust , in: American Indian Quarterly 24.3 (2000) 353-380 ( Online ( Memento of May 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )); Guenter Lewy : Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? In: History News Net. January 22, 2007.
  34. On the role of the Church, cf. Hans-Jürgen Prien: The history of Christianity in Latin America , Göttingen 1978.
  35. Johannes Winter, André Scharmanski: Are the Andean states ungovernable? Causes of the political crisis in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru , in: Zeitschrift Entwicklungspolitik 14 (2005) 30–34, here: p. 30.
  36. Der Zorn des Urwalds , Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 13, 2009 ( Memento from June 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  37. Up to 250 Indigenous Peruvians Killed in Bagua, Says Leader Miguel Palacin , in: groundreport, June 11, 2009 .
  38. ^ The Indians of Raposa-Serra do Sol, Survival International website
  39. ^ Tremembé de Almofala ( Memento of July 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  40. Surveillance of one's own territory , in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, July 28, 2009
  41. Tribe teams with Google to make stand in Amazon , in: San Francisco Chronicle, October 18, 2009.
  42. Illegal Logging: Indigenous peoples in Brazil Harassed, Threatened , April 18, 2008
  43. ↑ In 2010 he traveled to Brazil to campaign against the resettlement of 12,000 residents and the destruction of their culture. James Cameron, in real life, fights to save indigenous groups from massive dam construction in Brazil , in: Mongabay, April 1, 2010 and Tribes of Amazon Find an Ally Out of 'Avatar' , in: New York Times, April 10, 2010
  44. ^ Lula's steam roller , in: Die Tageszeitung, December 29, 2009
  45. Cf. Ancient civilizations in Mexico developed a writing system as early as 900 BC, new evidence suggests , BBC September 14, 2006 and Oldest Document America discovered , Spiegel Online September 15, 2006 . A cylinder with characters from around 650 BC was already in existence in 2002. Emerged ( 'Earliest American writing' unearthed , BBC December 5, 2002 ).
  46. On Anglo-Canadian literature: Daniel David Moses / Terry Goldie: An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English , Oxford University Press 1992. Conceived more for academic needs: Penny Petrone: First People First Voices , University of Toronto Press 1984, ISBN 978-0 -8020-6562-9 . Overall: American Indian Literature: an Anthology , ed. V. Alan R. Vellie, University of Oklahoma Press 1991. Blue Dawn, Red Earth: New Native American Storytellers , ed. Clifford Trafzer, New York 1996. The Internet Public Library also has its own Native American Authors section ( Memento of March 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  47. The Codex can be downloaded from here as a Förstemann or Kingsborough version .
  48. ^ Stanley Guenter: The Tomb of K'inich Janaab Pakal: The Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque (PDF; 4.4 MB).
  49. To (PDF; 36.3 MB) Commentary by Eduard Seler (PDF; 38.4 MB)
  50. Cf. on this Antje Gunsenheimer : Historical tradition in the Yucatec Chilam Balam books. An analysis of the origin and development of selected historical reports , Diss . Bonn 2002. PDF
  51. ^ Conrado Gilberto Cabrera Quintero: La creación del imaginario del indio en la literatura mexicana del siglo XIX , 2005.
  52. It is in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid. About the manuscript (PDF; 42.5 MB): Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz: The Voices of Huarochirí. Indian Quechua traditions from the colonial period between orality and written form: An analysis of their discourse , habilitation thesis , Shaker Verlag: Aachen 2003 (CD-ROM), ISBN 3-8322-2154-9
  53. An English translation is provided by Clements Markham . German published under Ollanta. An Inka drama Edition Viktoria 2007, ISBN 978-3-902591-00-5
  54. Ricardo Valderrama Fernández and Carmen Escalante Gutiérrez: Gregorio Condori Mamani - Autobiografía , Centro Bartolomé de las Casas: Cuzco 1982. In addition, Nora Valeska Gores: The Hispanoamerican testimonio in criticism. Examined using the example of Gregorio Condori Mamani Autobiografia and Canto de Sirena , Master's thesis, Berlin 2007.
  55. See Morrisseau, 'Picasso of the North,' dead at 75 ( Memento of February 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). I am following Joan M. Vastokas: History of Indigenous Art in Canada ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia . March 4, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2019. Also: Janet Catherine Berlo, Ruth B. Phillips: Oxford History of Art: Native North American Art , New York: Oxford University Press 1998.
  56. ^ Women in History: Edmonia Lewis ( Memento January 27, 1999 in the Internet Archive ). A picture of the Grant portrait can be found here ( Memento from October 15, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  57. Sarah McAnulty: Angel Decora: American Artist and Educator , first in Nebraska History 57/2 (1976) 143-199.
  58. The Five were James Auchiah (1906–1974), Spencer Asah (1905–1954), Jack Hokeah (1902–1969), Stephen Mopope (1898–1974) and Monroe Tsatoke (1904–1937).
  59. ^ The Jacobson House. Native Art Center: About The Kiowa Five ( December 3, 2013 memento in the Internet Archive )
  60. This and the following from the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada ( January 14, 2009 memento in the Internet Archive ), Sections First Nations Research, 1900–1980 and 1980–1990.
  61. An example of the music and dance and the language of the Mi'kmaq (speaker: Joel Denny).
  62. La musique chez les peuples indigenes de l'Amerique du Nord (Etats Unis et Canada) , Paris 1911.
  63. An Example of the Music and Singing of the Cree , August 2008.
  64. ^ Robert Witmer: The Musical Life of the Blood Indians , Ottawa 1982
  65. ^ Alden J. Mason: Notes on the Indians of the Great Slave Lake area , New Haven 1946.
  66. Wendy Bross Stuart: Gambling Music of the Coast Salish Indians , Vancouver 1972. Herman Karl Haeberlin's approach to the Washington Coast Salish was destroyed by his early death (cf. Herman Karl Haeberlin / Helen Roberts: Songs of the Puget Sound Salish , in: Journal of American Folklore 31 (1928) 496-520).
  67. Wendy Wickwire; Theories of ethnomusicology and the North American Indian: retrospective and critique , in: Canadian University Music Review 6 (1995) 186-221.
  68. ↑ In 2004 the Princeton University Museum launched a website ( Memento of the original from April 20, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. available, which allows you to listen to individual instruments. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  69. Music examples from all over America are available on the Smithsonian Institution's website , Smithsonian Global Sound From the Andes to the Arctic. Explore American Indian Heritage through Music ( Memento from August 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  70. See also Horst founder: Christian message of salvation and worldly power. Studies on the relationship between mission and colonialism , LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster 2004, chapter Conquista and Mission .
  71. Isaiah 49:22: haec dicit Dominus Deus ecce levo ad gentes "manum meam et ad populos exaltabo signum meum" et adferent filios tuos in ulnis et filias tuas super umeros portabunt - Thus says the Lord God: See, I lift up to the tribes my hand, to the peoples I establish my mark. They bring their sons in robes and carry your daughters on their shoulders.
  72. Una Mirada al Pasado. María Uicab - La Santa Patrona de Tulum, Archivo General del Estado de Quintana Roo ( Memento of October 16, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  73. Kenneth E. Kidd: Birch-Bark Scrolls in Archaeological Contexts , in: American Antiquity 30/4 (1965) 480-483.
  74. For example, Die Presse reported: Pope's speech "insulting and frightening" .
  75. ^ INAC website
  76. ^ BIA website
  77. ^ Coyote - Indian Presence No. 81, Spring 2009, page 6
  78. Gangs in Indian Country, in: Daily Yonder, September 17, 2009
  79. CDI website
  80. Fundação Nacional do Índio ( Memento of August 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  81. The website of the Ministry of Justice can be found here: Legislação Indigenista Brasileira e Normas Correlatas . A map of the indigenous areas can be found here ( Memento from April 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 6.4 MB).
  82. The website is available in five languages, namely in Spanish ( Memento of July 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), in English ( Memento of July 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), and in Portuguese ( Memento of July 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), French ( memento of August 13, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) and is currently being produced in Dutch ( memento of March 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  83. ^ Peru Congress passes consultation law unanimously , Reuters, August 24, 2011.
  84. For example, the Burnt Church First Nation's lobster catch in eastern Canada led to a two-year conflict.
  85. See Christine Fuchs: Attack der Käfer , report of the ZDF-Auslandsjournals from September 13, 2007 ( Memento from January 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  86. There are none in Québec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, one in British Columbia, two in Alberta, three in Manitoba, six in Saskatchewan, two in Ontario and three in New Brunswick. (As of August 2008)
  87. ^ Indian Gaming . S. a. National Indian Gaming Commission
  88. Lists can be found in the Index of Native American Media Resources on the Internet or Native Media
  89. the Nwin site ( Memento of 26 September 2008 at the Internet Archive )
  90. ↑ See the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network website .
  91. Quechua language TV hits the airwaves in Ecuador , in: Indian Country Today, December 4, 2009
  92. That emerged in the parliamentary debate on June 18, 2007 .
  93. Bolivia reads!