The indigenous peoples of North America are the tribes and nations whose ancestors were already on the continent when European explorers and colonizers arrived. The largest group are American Indians, whom the Canadian government call First Nations; they arrived before 10,000 BC, inhabited most of the continent, and are closely related to the Indians of South America. Groups that arrived later inhabited less hospitable northern areas, the Eskimo or Inuit in Alaska, Northern Canada and Greenland, and the Aleuts in the Aleutian Islands.
There have been hundreds of indigenous nations and tribes; some extinct, others alive today. Here are some main categories, based on geographic locations.
- Plateau — Southeastern British Columbia, eastern Washington (state).
- Northeastern — In the Mid-Atlantic and eastern Canada.
- Southeastern — In the Southern United States.
- 1 Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Illinois.
- 2 Moundsville, West Virginia.
- Ohio prehistoric sites
- Anasazi Heritage Center (near Cortez, Colorado).
- Aztec Ruins National Monument (near Aztec, New Mexico).
- 3 Bandelier National Monument (near Los Alamos, New Mexico).
- Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Southwestern Colorado. Contains more than 6,000 archaeological sites, representing Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures.
- 4 Copper Canyon (In the Mexican state of Chihuahua).
- 5 Hovenweep National Monument (near Cortez, Colorado).
- 6 Mesa Verde National Park (near Cortez, Colorado).
- Navajo Nation