Native American

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A picture of a Native American

Native Americans (also Aboriginal Americans, American Indians, Amerindians, or Indigenous Peoples of America) are the people, and their descendants, who were in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean Islands when Europeans arrived. There are many different tribes of Amerindian people, with many different languages. There are more than three million Native Americans in Canada and the U.S. combined. Approximately 51 million Native Americans live in Latin America.

Sometimes these people are called "Indians", but this is confusing, because it is the same word used for people from India. When Christopher Columbus was travelling west, he did not know about the Americas. He thought he was going to India, so he called the people "Indians".

Many Amerindians died after the Europeans came to the Americas, from diseases that came with the Europeans that were new to the Amerindians, in wars with the Europeans, or because the Europeans made them work as slaves. Most of the Amerindians were hurt or killed by settlers who took their lands.

The ancestors of American Indians came to the Americas from Asia. Some of them may have come to America over 12,000 years ago when Alaska was connected to Siberia by the Bering land bridge.

Some Indian tribes of North America are Cherokee, Maya or Yucatec, Aztecs, Navajo, and Sioux.

Some Indian tribes of South America are Aymara, Guarani, Quechua, and Tupi.

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