50 Indigenous and Enchanting Facts about Native Tribes

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1 Drone


A 9000 member indigenous tribe in Guyana is fighting illegal logging of their land by filming the activity with a drone they built by watching Do It Yourself videos on YouTube and taking the footage to the Guyanese government.

2. In 1911, a lone man named Ishi emerged from the wilderness in California, the last member of his tribe and also “the last wild Indian”. With the help of university professors, he was able to preserve parts of his language and culture.

3. In the 1980s, Nike made a commercial depicting a Samburu tribesman saying “Just Do it” in his native language. An American anthropologist called them out. The spoken phrase actually meant, “I don’t want these, give me big shoes.” Nike’s response was, “We thought nobody in America would know what he said.”

4. When a Pacific tribe watched the US military perform drills to prepare for supply planes during World War 2, the tribe believed it to be a religious ritual and after the war was over and the troops left, the tribesmen built their own runways, coconut headphones, wooden radio towers, and marched around like the soldiers, in hopes of having a plane drop supplies off.

5. The Kenyan Masai tribe donated 14 cows to the US following the 9/11 attacks. They regard cattle as sacred and therefore it was the highest expression of regard and sympathy they could have offered.

6 Junaluska


Junaluska was a Cherokee leader who saved Andrew Jackson’s life. Jackson later sent the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears from North Carolina to Oklahoma, which killed up to 1/3 of them en route. Junaluska survived, escaped twice, walked hundreds of mountainous miles home, and lived well into old age as a Chief.

7. The Navajo code is the only spoken military code never to have been deciphered. During World War 2, since only 30 non-Navajo people could understand Navajo, the US used Navajos as code talkers. They could encode, transmit, and decode a three-line message in 20 seconds, versus 30 minutes for machines.

8. Midway through the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849), a group of Choctaw Indians collected $710 and sent it to help the starving victims. It had been just 16 years since the Choctaw people had experienced the Trail of Tears and faced their own starvation.

9. Grizzly bears were so feared and respected by Native Americans that hunting them required a company of 4 to 10 warriors and was done with the same preparation and ceremony as intertribal warfare.

10. Native American Mohawks were often used as laborers on the skyscrapers because it was believed they had no natural fear of heights. In fact, they were afraid, but unlike their American workers, their culture meant they never showed it.

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11 Wounded Knee Massacre

Wounded Knee Massacre

Sioux Indians peacefully surrendered as their land was being stolen, then still were attacked by US forces in the Wounded Knee Massacre.

12. Miss Navajo Nation is a pageant that has been held annually on the Navajo Nation, United States, since 1952. The pageant requires contestants to butcher a sheep.

13. A young Xhosa girl named Nongqawuse had a vision instructing the tribe to kill all the cattle and destroy the crops, as a sacrifice to the ancestors who would rise up and drive the white settlers into the sea. Thus began the ‘Great Cattle Killing’ after which over 40,000 Xhosa died in the resulting famine.

14. In 1763, a vigilante group named the Paxton Boys massacred the Conestoga Indian tribe, near Lancaster Pennsylvania. The few tribesmen that survived were put in jail to protect them. The jail was later broken into and the Indians were slaughtered.

15. Tommy Prince was a Native American who served in World War 2. He was known to be very quiet because of his pair of moccasins. Sometimes instead of killing Germans, he’d steal something from them. Other times, he’d slit their throats and not make a sound.

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16 Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribe

Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribe

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribe is the richest Native American Tribe, with each member being paid $1 million per year in casino profits. There is a voluntary 99.2% unemployment rate within the tribe.

17. When General Lee surrendered at the end of the Civil War, he saw that Grant’s military secretary, Ely Parker, was a Seneca Indian and said: “ I am glad to see one real American here,” to which Parker responded: “We are all Americans”.

18. The Cherokee Indians have a creation myth where a man slaps a woman with a fish and children appear.

19. Some Native American tribes intentionally bent trees to mark trails and many bent trees still remain today hidden in many national parks throughout USA.

20. Words such as moose, skunk, raccoon, pecan, and squash, all originate from the language of the now-extinct Algonquian tribe, which inhabited what is now Roanoke Island.

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21 Native American tribes

Native American tribes

Certain Native American tribes recognized a third gender separate from male and female. A two-spirit is one who’s body manifests both masculine and feminine spirits simultaneously. They were often male and married other males but they weren’t seen as homosexual among their tribe.

22. Cherokee Native Americans owned slaves, some of whom were even forced to walk the Trail of Tears with their owners. Their descendants were legally recognized as tribe members until 2007 when a Cherokee constitutional amendment requiring Cherokee blood for membership ousted thousands of them.

23. Many Cherokee Indians sided and fought with the Confederacy during the American Civil War, both because many were black slave owners themselves and also because they resented the Union for their treatment during the Trail of Tears.

24. The first native American named Samoset to meet the Pilgrims walked into the Plymouth settlement and welcomed them in English and asked them for a beer.

25. The Cheyenne chief Black Kettle was a major advocate for peace and coexistence between white settlers and Native Americans. He was twice attacked by American troops despite explicit agreements of non-hostility, resulting in the death and mutilation of he and at least two hundred Cheyenne villagers.

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  1. As a member of the “Mormon” church the so called “Fact” that the church believed that adopting native Americans would lighten their skin perpetuates stereotypes. I live about 30 miles away from one of the biggest boarding schools and I have never heard anyone mention that it would that adopting native Americans would lighten their skin. Maybe someone personally believed this but it has NEVER been taught in all my years as a member of the church in fact it sounds kind of ridiculous.

    • I call BS on you, Sir.

      Let us not forget the Mountain Meadows Massacre, wherein Mormon men painted their skin to look like Paiutes, and slaughtered an entire wagon train, and the kidnap of young children.

      Also, I believe they are referring to the “White and Delightsome” reference to those Native who supported God and Co, and punishing the remainder of the Natives with dark skin.

      You know your own history. You need to speak all of it, not just the good.

  2. Yah, I love these lists, but many of the ‘facts’ are obviously just stuff they found on the internet with no attempt at acutal fact checking.

  3. I love reading your facts, but you fact about Tommy Prince being Native American is not true. He was in Fact a Native Canadian from Winnopen.

  4. Incorrect on both counts; ‘Native Americans’ is the term adopted by the US government to refer specifically to Indigenous people residing within the boundaries of the United States; not North America. We also do not use the term Native Canadians. We use the term Indigenous peoples of Canada or sometimes Aboriginal Canadians. Our indigenous peoples comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Sergeant Prince, being from the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, is therefore First Nations.

  5. I’m puzzled that ‘Indians’ don’t balk at the term Native American. It ties there identity to a European explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. But, I suppose Pre-Vespucci Indigenous Persons is a tad awkward.

    • I find both offensive, as we are not in India, nor was this land called America when we were here.

      First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, Native. Those are all fine with me.

  6. Tommy Prince was a Canadian Native! Not American as stated!
    He was born outside of Winnipeg Manitoba Canada! He was the most decorated Native Canadian in WW2and the Korean War, he died, from Alcoholism and there is a Monuement in Winnipeg to that affect! Get your crap right please!

  7. Two spirit is actually a blanket term. Different nations have different meanings and cultural contexts. Gender binaries were imposed on many nations by the church.

    I am a two spirit woman, and for me it is a spiritual/cultural way of understanding my identity and role in community. I take on ceremonial roles that are not always typical for women. I am biologically woman, not trans. Many trans or queer indigenous people also identify with this blanket term.



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