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Collection: Indian Races of North and South America

The Shawnees

The Shawanees (Shawnees) were a very extensive and warlike tribe. They were, according to Indian tradition, originally from the south, having inhabited the country in the vicinity of Savannah, in Georgia, and a portion of West Florida. Being engaged in continual war with the Creeks and other southern nations, and being of an adventurous and roving disposition, they finally emigrated northward, and were received upon terms of friendship by the Delawares. They settled in Western Pennsylvania, extending themselves gradually farther west, and mingling with other neighboring nations. Their head-quarters were, in early times, not far from Pittsburgh. In their...

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Mounds and Fortifications

The mural remains, in the United States alone, are of almost incredible number, and of most imposing magnitude. It has been asserted by an accurate western antiquarian should not exaggerate if I were to say that more than five thousand might be found, some of them enclosing more than a hundred acres.” The mounds and tumuli, he remarks, are far more numerous. Professor Rafinesque ascertained the existence of more than five hundred ancient monuments in Kentucky alone, and fourteen hundred in other states, most of which he had personally examined. These remains appear most numerous in the vicinity of...

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Antiquities of South America

At the Spanish discovery, South America, like the Northern continent, was, in a great portion, peopled by half-savage tribes, resembling the Indians of our own country. Some powerful and partially civilized kingdoms, however, yet survived, and of these, the empire of the Peruvian Incas was the first. Under the sway of these powerful sovereigns was comprehended an extensive district, lying along the Pacific coast for many hundreds of miles. Other nations, in their vicinity, of whose history we are ignorant, also possessed a considerable share of power and independent government. The antiquities of these regions, so similar to those...

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Antiquities of Mexico

The Southwestern regions of North America present a most extensive and interesting field for antiquarian research. The long-continued existence of powerful, civilized, and populous races is fully proved by the occurrence of almost innumerable ruins and national relics. Even in the sixteenth century, the Spanish invaders found these regions in the possession of a highly prosperous and partially civilized people. Government and social institutions were upon that firm and well-defined basis which betokened long continuance and strong national sentiment. In many of the arts and sciences, the subjugated races were equal, and in others superior, to their Christian conquerors....

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Antiquities of North America

In the absence of any written record of those numerous races which formerly peopled this hemisphere, information must be sought in their monuments, and in the disinterred relics of their ancient manner of life. These, considering the almost unbroken wilderness which presented itself to the first white adventurers, are surprisingly numerous. They indicate the former existence of populous nations, excelling in many of the arts of civilization, and capable, by their numbers and combination, of executing the most gigantic works for religion, public defense, and common oration of the dead. Such relics, though, for the most part, not immediately...

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The Sioux, or Dacotah

An accurate classification of the American Indians, either founded upon dissimilarities in the language of different tribes, or upon differences in physical peculiarities, is impossible, particularly in treating of the scattered and wandering people of the far west. The races vary by such slight shades of distinction, and such analogies exist between their languages, that even where the distinction is perfectly evident in the nation at large, the line of demarcation can with difficulty be drawn. In other instances, the same nation, when divided into separate clans, inhabiting districts of dissimilar nature, and resorting to different modes of life,...

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The Sioux Massacre, Minnesota

The Sioux massacre of the whites in Minnesota in August, 1862, is one of the bloodiest that has ever occurred in the history of the Indian races in North America. In the earlier periods of the country, the frontier settlements were constantly exposed to. Indian depredations, and their destruction at any time seemed probable from their comparative feebleness and remoteness from succor; but that the savage tribes should rise against the whites almost within sight of our populous cities, our railroads and steamboats, was not dreamed of by any one. The Sioux massacre, had it occurred in a time...

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1847 Indian Population of the United States and Territory

According to the census taken, under the agency of Mr. Henry K. Schoolcraft, in pursuance of the act of Congress passed in March 1847, the following returns were made of the numbers of the Indian tribes subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The grand total was set down at 388,229, and about 30,000 more was considered a probable estimate of tribes inhabiting districts yet unexplored. The “Ultimate Consolidated Tables of the Indian Population of the United States,” containing the results of the proposed investigation, are given substantially as follows, in Schoolcraft s “History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States: ” “Tribes whose vital and industrial statistics have been taken by Bands and Families, under the direction of the act of Congress,” including Iroquois, Algonquin, Appalachians, and Eastern Sioux 34,704 “Tribes of the new States and Territories, South and West, including the acquisitions from Mexico, under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,” viz.: of Texas, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Utah, and Florida, and consisting of Camanches, Apaches, Utahs, Shoshonees or Snake Indians, &c. 183,042 Tribes between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, to the northward of Texas and New Mexico, viz.: Assinaboins, south of lat. 49 deg. 1,000 Miamies 500 Arapahoes 3,500 Missouris 500 Absarokes, or Crows 4,000 Munsees 200 Aurickarees 1,500 Ottawas, west 300 Blackfeet 13,000 Otoes 500 Blood Indians (few reach the...

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Indians of Guiana and Venezuela

The tribes who inhabit the wilderness between the Amazon and the seacoast settlements at the north, upon the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic, have been classified as belonging to the same family with the aboriginal inhabitants of Brazil. The race has been denominated the “Brasilio Guaarani,” and has been divided into the nations of Guarani, Caribs, Tupi, and Botocudos. The Arawaks. First Seen By Columbus In Guiana one of the most prominent tribes is that of the Arawaks. These people inhabit a great extent of country directly back of the narrow strip of cultivated seacoast. Nearly the whole of...

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Indians of Jamaica and Southern Coast of Cuba

In the month of May 1494, the island of Jamaica was first discovered by Columbus. The native inhabitants appeared to be of a very different character from the timid and gentle islanders with whom former intercourse had been held. A crowd of canoes, filled with savages gaudily adorned with plumes and paint, opposed the landing of the Spaniards. These were pacified by the Indian interpreters on board; but upon landing, the next day, the throng of natives on shore exhibited such decidedly hostile intentions, that it became necessary to intimidate them. A few discharges from the Spanish cross-bows sufficed...

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