American Indians


allotment: A piece of tribal land assigned to a person as a way to break up communal ownership.

ancestors: One's family members from generations back, like a grandparent.

assimilation: To take in or absorb another culture, usually by force.

citizen: A recognized member of a group, city, or nation.

Columbian exchange: Cultural and biological exchanges between Europeans and American Indians that included plants, animals, and life-threatening diseases.

coup: A quick and often violent takeover of a government or ruler by another faction.

culture: The beliefs, customs, and traditions of a group.

Dawes Act: A bill, proposed by Henry Dawes, that authorized the United States to divide American Indian tribal land into allotments.

earth lodge: A small home or room carved out of a hillside, often used by Plains Indians.

faction: A small but organized group of like-minded people.

foraging: Searching and gathering of food or supplies.

heritage: Customs, beliefs, and ideas shared by a group of people that are passed down to the next generation.

Indian boarding schools: Schools created by the US government to assimilate American Indian children into a "civilized" lifestyle that included speaking English and land ownership.

matrilineal: When families pass down the mother's ancestry rather than the father's.

reservations: A parcel of land, chosen by the government, where a Native nation lives.

semi-subterranean: Partially underground, like earth lodges or storage caches.

stereotype: To believe unfairly that all people who share a characteristic, like race, class, or gender, are the same.

storage caches: Small rooms or storage areas dug out from the earth.

sovereignty: Independence, free from someone else's rule or power.

tipi: A mobile tent made out of animal skins and wooden poles.

Trail of Tears: What American Indians called the march from their native lands to Indian Territory because of its extreme length and danger.

travois: A sled used to move and carry goods.

treaty: An agreement between two groups.

Main Page
Trail of Tears
History of the Five Tribes
Tribes of Oklahoma
The Civil War
Conflict and Assimilation
Dawes Roll and Allottments
Twentieth Century