- from America 1492
How do we know that Makah girls played with toy cradles in 1492? Where did we get exact measurements for Iroquois longhouses that no longer exist?
Scientists called archaeologists (ar-kee-ALL-uh-gists) find answers to such questions. Archaeologists study ancient cultures. They look at artifacts (handmade objects) such as tools, weapons, and pottery.
Luckily, archaeologists studying Native American life in 1492 aren’t just limited to artifacts. They also can get answers from real people. Descendants of all the Indian groups we’ve looked at are alive today. Hopi families still make their homes in the pueblos of Arizona. Some Iroquois peoples live in New York State and parts of Canada. The Mandans keep their traditions alive on a reservation and in nearby communities in North Dakota. Today members of the Creek nation live in Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. Makah families still live in Washington State and fish in the Pacific Ocean.
Ever since the first Europeans arrived in America, Native Americans have explained their traditions to others. They’re still doing that. Today, they’re sharing the ancient ways of their people with archaeologists.