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November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Where did the First Nation American Indians come from?

Music, Dance, Language, Tlingits, Cree, Navajo, Cherokee, Literacy, Black First Nation People, Virgin Island, Hawaii Resources


American Fiddle Music and That High Lonsome Sound

Carlos Nakai: American Indian Flute Music from Arizona

Q. What is the reason that all that American blue grass country music that starts up high?
A. Because of all the contact with First Nation People whose music starts like that.   

Q. When did all that contact take place? 

A. See the Fur Trade (Bill Monroe said Blue Grass music has that High Lonsome Sound)

Alan Jabbour, leading field researcher/folk-revival fiddler, writes that humbler musicians got their hands on the fiddle by the late 18th century. The tune repertories, playing styles, instrumental combinations, and uses of the music differ in the ethnic traditions of the English, Irish, Scottish, African, Maritime and Cajun French, Metis, and Native American. In New England, the Appalachians, the Mid-, North-, and Southwest, regional traditions emerged. Each generation of musicians changed what it inherited.

American Philosophical Society Native American Audio Collections
Executive Offices & Museum Gallery | 104 South Fifth Street | Philadelphia, PA 19106-3387 | 215-440-3400
Library | 105 South Fifth Street | Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386 | 215-440-3400 

The American Philosophical Society has been collecting and working to preserve Native American languages since the time of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson collected a word list of the Unkechaug language on Long Island, a language that Jefferson believed to be on the brink of extinction. In 2010, the Unkechaug contacted the APS and requested a copy of the vocabulary list in order to begin the process of revitalizing their language. It is this long and proud heritage of preservation, partnership, and revitalization that this digital exhibit celebrates.



There are 3,000 recordings, representing languages and songs of more than 40 Native American tribes, in the archives of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.
Some of them are over 100 years old, recorded on wax cylinders and wire spools. Most have been digitized, a couple dozen made readily available online. Many more will never be heard by the general public. "We've come to realize some recording are of sacred formulae," said Timothy Powell, director of the APS Native American Project. "To the Cherokee, it's dangerous; they can cause people harm. They believe if those recordings are digitized and put on the web — we would never do that, but should that happen — it kills the formulae." For the first time in its 269-year history, the American Philosophical Society is inviting Native Americans into its archive as experts of their own culture.
Tribal elders travel to Philadelphia in order to listen to these recordings and determine how sacred they are. Sacred recordings will be digitized and made available to visitors to the APS archive. But they will not be copied, even for academic research.
One of the indigenous ethnographers invited to listen to the tapes was Thomas Belt, a Cherokee teaching linguistics at West Carolina University. He came to the APS in 2010 to listen to a 1935 recording of Cherokee named Will West Long speaking in a formal oratory style. The Cherokees were split in 1938 when the American government forced Native Americans in the East and South to relocate: the Trail of Tears. The recordings at the APS show that both the Oklahoma Cherokees and those in North Carolina, though divided, maintained their traditional language and customs for over a century. "That's not a perception widley held by Cherokee people," said Powell. "What's fascinating is the style of oratory as much as language itself. It's a powerful message.  It's way for Cherokee to reunite in the sense of a shared language." Said Belt in the 2010 recording made at APS, "it's a reminded we have that same concept of how to speak. We truly are the same people."

How many federally recognized tribes are there in the U.S... 564! See for yourself!


Native Village Music and Dance Library
"Listening is the first sense to develop in the womb. It is not surprising, then, that I was conscious of sounds earlier than anything else as an infant. Mainly, these were the sounds of bird wings rising up into the sky, rustling trees, the cry of the mourning dove, and the rippling wind. They were the first nonhuman sounds I heard because my family spent most of the time outdoors. This awareness was followed by other sounds of life embracing me with deep signs and measured breaths. Those human sounds then became syllables, or vocables, and voice patterns with intonations and inflections. Eventually and inexplicably, they turned into words such as Waconda, meaning Creator, or the Great Mystery of LIfe, and waduge, meaning to eat, and Mayah, the Earth. Single words became explosions of sounds and images, and these traveled outward in strings of sentences or melodies and songs."

The Lost Creation Songs of the Mohave People

Native American Songs

Edward Curtis became famous for his photographs of Native Americans.

American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many


The Link from China to First Nation People Can be found in their shared throat singing traditions

Chinese people migrate. Some of them came to America and became First Nation People, Native Americans, Indians. Native Alaskan people picked up and traveled into Canada and settlled down for a time, but of course these same people decide to walk right into America and spread out from the east coast down to Florida, to the west coast of California and all over the middle of the U.S. China People aka First Nation American people are the same people.

Among the pastoralists, emulating ambient sounds is as natural as speaking. Throat-singing is not taught formally (as music often is) but rather picked up, like a language. A large percentage of male herders can throat-sing, although not everyone is tuneful. A taboo against female throat-singers, based on a belief that it causes infertility, is gradually receding, and younger women are beginning to practice the technique as well.


Interview with Lois Suluk-Locke, Inuit Throat Singer - Singing Dog Team Puppy
Listen to Lois Suluk-Locke speak about the particular style of throat singing from Arviat, Nunavut. Arviat is north of Churchill Manitoba, in the interview I said that Arviat was south of Churchill.


Carvings link Chinese with American Indians Asians may have crossed Bering Strait BEIJING Carvings identical to ancient Chinese characters have been found in American Indian sites dating back thousands of years, the China Daily reported. They so closely resemble the 3,000-year-old Shang Dynasty characters for the sun, sky, rain, water, crops, trees and astronomy that if they had not been found in America, Chinese experts would have classified them automatically as pre-221 B.C. Chinese script, the newspaper said. American Indian and Chinese pictographs in 56 matching sets were shown to senior academics at a symposium in Anyang, former capital of the Shang Dynasty.


Zheng He's Inheritance- Chinese Charts of the Americas from Ming back to Xia
Speech for Library of Congress 5/16/05

The Harris maps were printed from wood block. Most are on mulberry-bark paper and are written in classical Chinese. Although varying in ages they have only minimal differences. The oldest of the Harris maps are believed to be from the Ming dynasty. The map books themselves are Korean but the world map in each book is a Chinese map. The Korean name for that type map is Ch'onhado meaning “Chinese map.

Case for Other Pre-Columbian Voyagers

Dr. Davis advanced the hypothesis that the Zuni Indians of New Mexico

were distinctive in language, culture and biology, compared with other Indians, partly because they may have come in contact with Japanese in the 13th century. She noted similarities between the Zuni and the Japanese in blood chemistry and some basic words. Even the Zuni migration stories, she said, were suggestive in their description of the trek of a distinctive people from the "ocean of the sunset world" in search of the true middle of the world. "I'm not saying the Zuni are Japanese," Dr. Davis said, "but they may include influences from Japan at a particular time." From the audience arose Joseph Dishta, head councilman of the Zuni tribe in New Mexico. "We do not endorse this theory," Mr. Dishta said. "We have our own interpretation. We always feel we've been in that part of the country since time immemorial. We feel we emerged from the mother earth." If the Japanese found their way to the Zuni, could Jewish refugees from the Roman Empire have made it to the eastern mountains of Tennessee in the second century? At least that is the meaning a few researchers read in an inscribed stone found a century ago with nine skeletons in a burial mound at Bat Creek in Tennessee.
For years, the inscription was interpreted as a message in Cherokee. When Dr. Cyrus H. Gordon, retired professor of Mediterranean studies at Brandeis University, had a look, he decided the engraving was actually in Hebrew and similar to writings found on Hebrew coins of the first and second centuries. Carbon dating shows the burial took place between the years 32 and 769.
At the conference, Dr. J. Huston McCulloch, an economist at Ohio State University who has become a leading exponent of the Jewish connection to Bat Creek, defended the stone's antiquity and the Jewish interpretation against recent attacks by professional anthropologists. He discounted the possibility of a hoax.

Why does Zunian have no known affiliation to any other language in North America? How did the blood allele B get to this pueblo­and not others? Why is the religious system so highly integrated and complex? The Zuni culture is one of the ten most-documented cultures of the world, yet these and numerous other questions persist.14 Indeed, the complexities of the social, religious, and political system have "occupied scholars and defied interpretation by them since the 1890s."
The twenty contemporary Pueblo groups of the American Southwest stand out as distinctive clusters of communities derived from at least seven different language groups, sharing many characteristics, but continuing individual local traditions in pottery, jewelry, and ceremonies. Unlike the nomadic Navaho and Apache who arrived in the area much later—perhaps as late as the sixteenth century—and who live in households quite separated from each other, Pueblo peoples live in consolidated villages and have long been agriculturalists. In Chapter 9, I speculate on the possibility that the Pueblo groups as a whole share a common link to the Anasazi civilization, which may have incorporated influences from Asia at an earlier time than the one considered here for the Zuni.

see: Prehistoric American Indians Zuni Prehistory
The archeological record in the Zuni area indicates that a flurry of new pueblos was built between 1250 and 1300, but the Pueblo of Zuni in its exact present location may be quite new—perhaps as recent as A.D. 1692, after the Pueblo rebellion against Spanish and Catholic intrusion.

"Why do the Zunis and the Japanese share a rare kidney disease?
Their language, religion, and blood type are startlingly different from all other tribes. Most puzzling, the Zuni appear to have much in common with the people of Japan.
In a book with ground breaking implications, Dr. Nancy Yaw Davis examines the evidence underscoring the Zuni enigma and suggests the circumstances that may have led Japanese on a religious quest -- searching for the legendary "middle world" of Buddhism -- across the Pacific to the American Southwest more than seven hundred years ago.
TOTEM POLES China Sources: Kim, Taegon. "A Study on the Rite of Changsung, Korea's Totem Pole." Korea Journal. p.4-19 March 1983.
communication with Timothy Tangherlini,specialist in Korean Folkloristics at the University of California, Los Angeles

American Indian Totem poles are an ancient tradition of the Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest Coast--Washington state in the USA, British Columbia in Canada--and some of the Athabaskan tribes of southern Alaska.
Pictures of Totem Poles

Various Dong People Pictures
We went to the Hong Feng Lake. The drum tower by the lakeshore can be reached by boat,
the folksongs similar to the ones we heard. The Dong ethnic group at Chinese New Year Eve's CCTV Gala in 1994.

Dong Ethnic Song - Song of Cicadas

Dominating the landscape of a Dong village is the drum tower with its superb formation of multi-storied pagoda-like roofs,constructed to the unique architecture of the Dong Ethnic.The lower pavilion of each tower is where villagers congregate during festivals and special meetings. People often gather there in the evenings, to listen to traditional folk songs. After harvests, young people hold festive dances on the grounds surrounding the drum tower.
The drum tower is the highest and most revered structure in the village. A giant drum within the tower served in the past as a warning device against invasions. In ancient times, villagers assembled at the tower with their weapons to await orders from the head of their clan. Drum towers are a specialty and symbol of the Dong nationality. They first appeared in villages along the Yellow River during the Northern Dynasties (386-581 A.D). the oldest standing drum towers date from the Shunzhi period (1644-1661 A.D) of the Qing Dynasty. A typical large village consists of from 500 to 600 families, and a small one, of about 50 families. As a rule, one village is said to contain families of one or two surnames. Each drum tower signifies one surname; some villages have two or three drum towers, therefore indicating that two or three surnames dominate the village. The outline of a Dong drum tower resembles a fir tree, a sacred tree in Dong culture. Some anthropologists have suggested that the Dong people used to be tree dwellers, since they are believed to be a branch of the ancient Yue people, a tree dwelling tribe.


1) Many American Indians are the ones who work on bridges in the US - are not afraid of the height.
2) Mohawks built New York Skyscrapers because did not fear heights or dangerous conditions.

Chinese people are American Indian First Nation people

U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs

U.S. Indian Tribes - Index by State Get contact information for tribes.

How to Find Native Websites

The Native American Holocaust by David Stannard

History of the Ojibways 
Ojibwa, developed a form of pictorial writing used in religious rites of the Midewiwin and recorded on birch bark scrolls and possibly on rock. The sacred scrolls are complicated with a lot of historical, geometrical, and mathematical knowledge communicated through the many complex pictures. The miigis shell () was also used in ceremonies, and this shell can only be found from far away coastal areas, indicating a vast trade network at some time across the continent. The use and trade of copper across the continent is also proof of a very large area of trading that took place thousands of years ago, as far back as the Hopewell culture. Certain types of rock used for spear and arrow heads were also traded over large distances. The use of petroforms, petroglyphs, and pictographs was common throughout their traditional territories. Petroforms and medicine wheels were a way to teach the important concepts of four directions, astronomical observations about the seasons, and as a memorizing tool for certain stories and beliefs.

Land and Treaty Rights A link site providing information on Native American rights

Native American Megasites This has every link a teacher will probably need.

Native American Resource Guide

Native American Website for Children

Native Web Huge data base on most tribes

National Indian Telecommunications Institute
110 N. Guadeloupe, Suite 9 Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 986-3872 Issues, Education, Events
Look for teacher created webpages and other information on our cultural curriculum model.

Read American Indian and Alaska Native Children: Findings From the Base Year of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort:

Read Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives

Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository - Kodiak, Alaska

Alaska Native Heritage Center is a gathering place in Anchorage that celebrates, perpetuates, and shares Alaska Native cultures. Find online FAQs about Alaska for students and other education resources.

Alaska Native Knowledge Network offers a deep wealth of educational resources on Alaska Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing, including culturally responsive standards for students, schools, teachers, communities, and libraries.

Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository won the 2000 National Award for Museum Service, awarded annually to outstanding American museums by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. This site offers many educational resources, including the Alutiiq word of the week.

Anchorage Museum of History and Art provides online photographs and images of artifacts as well as education information.

The Center for Native American Youth
Based at the Aspen Institute, the Center for Native American Youth is "dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development and advocacy. The Center was founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan to communicate with and assist tribes with the challenges Native youth face today. On the homepage, visitors can make their way through seven areas, including Our Work, Resources, Champions for Change, and Media Gallery. In the Resources area visitors can learn about the Be Excited About Reading (BEAR) Project, national help hotlines, and jobs and internships with the Center's key partners around the country. The Media Gallery contains public service announcements, their YouTube channel, and newsletters dating back to June 2011. A highlight of this resource is the Listening to Youth section, which offers direct testimony from young Native Americans about what's important to them.