- from America 1492
How do we know that Makah girls played with toy cradles in 1492? Where did we get the exact measurements for Iroquois longhouses that no longer exist?
Scientists called archaeologists (ar-kee-ALL-uh-gists) find the answers to such questions. Archaeologists specialize in the study of ancient cultures. One of the ways they do this is by looking at artifacts (handmade objects) such as tools, weapons, and pottery.
Luckily, archaeologists studying Native American life in 1492 can turn to real people as well as artifacts for their answers. 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.
Since the first Europeans arrived in the Americas, Native Americans have helped others understand their beliefs and customs. They still continue to work with archaeologists in interpreting the ways of their people long ago.