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Enrichment Materials: Pre-European Contact

These enrichment materials build upon concepts introduced in US History and Advanced US History courses. They incorporate and link perspectives from a wide array of peoples during this time period.

Most of Native history has been passed down through oral tradition, so not many records exist that detail in writing the experiences of Native Americans before European contact. However, their oral tradition has survived into the modern-day, allowing the modern historian a relative scope into life in America before the Europeans.

Recognizing and honoring the rich culture of Indigenous peoples is the duty of each and every one of us. Understanding that the land we live on is stolen - and respecting the indigenous tribes still active today - is an integral role that comes along with being an American citizen.

America gained its name from a Spanish colonizer, Amerigo Vespucci, who disrespected many Indigenous rites and traditions upon his arrival on this land. Thus, to the Indigenous, this land is not America; it is Turtle Island, a name derived from Indigenous folklore. 

The story of Turtle Island

A look into the vast array of Native American spiritual practices, collected from ethnographic accounts of early religions


Analyzing the practices of Native Americans through surviving artifacts, drawings, and accounts of oral tradition


A list of documents, books, and sources containing information on treaties, governmental practices, spirituality, lifestyle, and languages in the Early Americas

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