Native AmericansOrigins and role in the American society

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The origins historically are exactly as Pohnpei has stated above.  As for their role in society, I'd say they are important to us on a number of levels.  I live in Yakima, for example, which is a native name, as are many, many places throughout the United States.  Baton Rouge, Louisiana means Red Stick, for the Red Stick Confederacy, just to name one other example.  So they are a part of our heritage.

They are also a part of our culture that is more and more recognized all the time.  The opening of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian is proof of this.  While many natives still live on reservations and in poverty, and suffer from a host of social ills, many tribes have managed to resurrect their language from near extinction, find a way to earn a living, be it agriculture, modern trades and businesses or the tribal casino industry (which is giving Vegas a run for its money).  So the signs and significance of their culture are really all around us.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The oldest human remains found in the Americas dates to about 40,000 years ago. The oldest remains are in the North, and the youngest in the South, which would agree with a pattern of migration from North to South.  These nomads came from what is now today China and Siberia; the Orient may have been invading the Americas repeatedly in prehistoric times, and even into historical times, as the last documented Chinese landing on the American coast occurred the 1400's.  Many place names are indeed of Native origin, including a few state names; however, "Baton Rouge" is French for Red Stick, and most certainly was given the name when the French controlled Louisiana, the Mississippi, the Great Lakes, and Canada. During the roughly 300 years from 1500 to 1800 they were in the area, they gave many place names as well.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is no doubt that Native Americans should have a larger and more prominent role in American society. Their homes, livelihoods, way of life, and etc. were established in this country long before Europeans settled here. Native Americans were treated abominably by government sanctioned individuals and actions. Conditions might be a tad better now, but there is no doubt they are still oppressed.  Open society to all Americans--we are after all “One nation under God.”

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The origins are somewhat debated.  They almost certainly came from Asia via Siberia and Alaska.  The debate is over how long ago they came and whether they came by boat along the coast or simply by walking on the land bridge.

There are so few Native Americans left that they play little role is US society except as a symbol.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The North American continent used to be connected to Asia. The earliest settlers of the Americans came from there. They did influence the cultures that followed them. For example, they traded foodstuffs and animals that began to influence the European diet.
lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Native Americans have participated in all wars in various ways. In the early wars through the Civil War they were used as trackers in order to take advantage of their tracking skills. Teddy Roosevelt used Indians to track Pancho Villa in Mexico.

giorgiana1976 | Student

 Ethnic and geographical origin of native Americans is in Asia. Over 540 Navajo radio operators participated in the battles of the Second World War without the code they used to be  ever deciphered. Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Midway, Bougainville or Seipan are some of the places where the American military would have not be able to defeat the enemy without information offered by  Navajo Indians . Only at Iwo Jima, Navajo natives have sent , in two days , over 800 messages with vital information without committing even one error, which made Commander Howard Connor to say: Without  Navajo  we would not have ever won Iwo Jima . Because their  activity lives of thousands of soldiers and allies had been saved during the war . Because of its effectiveness, Navajo language was used in the Korean War as well as in Vietnam, in the biggest secret. However, none of the Native Americans participating in this conflagration has not get any recognition until the declassification of records in 1968, with the replacement code. Only in 1982, President Ronald Reagan, gave the survivors of Native Americans soldiers the deserved awards. Reagan also appointed the day of August 14 as Navajo radio operators Day. Also, in July 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush awarded the Medal of Honor to the last five code talkers Native Americans alive. On September 17, 2007, 18 Choctaw radio operators, who participated in the battles of World War I, were receiving the same award posthumously.