Indigenous peoples of the Americas

Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Total population
70 million+
Regions with significant populations
Mexico33.7 million[1]
Bolivia9.8 million[2]
Guatemala6.0 million[3]
Peru5.9 million[4]
United States5.2 million[5]
Ecuador4.5 million
Canada2.13 million[6]
Chile2.1 million[7]
Colombia1.6 million[8]
Costa Rica118,000[15]
El Salvador70,000[17]
Belize40,000 (Maya)[20]
French Guiana19,000[21]
Trinidad and Tobago1,500[23]
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines2,000[24]
Indigenous languages of the Americas, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch
A Navajo man on horseback in Monument Valley, Arizona, United States
Some Inuit people on a traditional qamutiik (dog sled) in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many, especially in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture. The impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas.[26] Although some societies depended heavily on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming, hunting and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, chiefdoms, states, kingdoms and empires. Among these are the Aztec, Inca and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and socially advanced nations in the world. They had a vast knowledge of engineering, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, writing, physics, medicine, planting and irrigation, geology, mining, sculpture and goldsmithing.

Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples; some countries have sizable populations, especially Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Greenland, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States. At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Aymara, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many also maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but also cater to modern needs. Some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples.


Indigenous peoples of the United States are commonly known as Native Americans or American Indians, and Alaska Natives.[27] Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for India, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies.[28][29][30][31][32][33] Eventually, those islands came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used. This led to the blanket term "Indies" and "Indians" (Spanish indios, Portuguese índios) for the indigenous inhabitants, which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the indigenous peoples of the Americas. This unifying concept, codified in law, religion, and politics, was not originally accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced, or tolerated, by many over the last two centuries.[citation needed] Even though the term "Indian" generally does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit, or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before, and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas".

Indigenous peoples are commonly known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which includes not only First Nations and Arctic Inuit, but also the minority population of First Nations-European mixed-race Métis people[34] who identify culturally and ethnically with indigenous peoplehood. This is contrasted, for instance, to the American Indian-European mixed-race mestizos of Hispanic America (caboclos in Brazil) who, with their larger population (in most Latin American countries constituting either outright majorities, pluralities, or at the least large minorities), identify largely as a new ethnic group distinct from both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, but still considering themselves a subset of the European-derived Hispanic or Brazilian peoplehood in culture and ethnicity (cf. ladinos).

The term Amerindian (a blend of "American and Indian") and its cognates find preferred use in scientific contexts, and in Quebec, the Guianas, and the English-speaking Caribbean.[35][36][37][38]

Indígenas or pueblos indígenas ("indigenous peoples") is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries, and pueblos nativos or nativos (lit. "native peoples") may also be heard, while aborigen (aborigine) is used in Argentina, and pueblos originarios (original peoples) is common in Chile. In Brazil, indígenas or povos indígenas are common if formal-sounding designations, while índio is still the more often-heard term (the noun for the South Asian nationality being indiano), and aborígene and nativo being rarely used in Amerindian-specific contexts (e.g. aborígene is usually understood as the ethnonym for Indigenous Australians). The Portuguese and Spanish equivalents to Indian, nevertheless, could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person, particularly to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, indios filipinos.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Indiane
Ænglisc: Scrælingas
azərbaycanca: Hindilər
башҡортса: Индеецтар
беларуская: Індзейцы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Індзейцы
български: Индианци
Boarisch: Indiana
brezhoneg: Amerindianed
čeština: Indiáni
Deitsch: Insching
Deutsch: Indianer
Diné bizaad: Bitsįʼ yishtłizhii
Esperanto: Indianoj
euskara: Amerindiar
فارسی: سرخ‌پوست
français: Amérindiens
Frysk: Yndianen
հայերեն: Հնդկացիներ
hrvatski: Indijanci
Bahasa Indonesia: Penduduk asli Benua Amerika
interlingua: Indiano american
Basa Jawa: Wong Indian
ქართული: ინდიელები
қазақша: Үндістер
Kiswahili: Waindio
Кыргызча: Индейлер
кырык мары: Индейвлӓ
lietuvių: Indėnai
Limburgs: Indiane
Lingua Franca Nova: Americanes orijinal
la .lojban.: rindo
magyar: Indiánok
მარგალური: ინდიარეფი
مازِرونی: سرخپوست
Bahasa Melayu: Amerindian
Nāhuatl: Macehuallacatl
Nederlands: Indianen
Nedersaksies: Inheemse Amerikanen
Napulitano: Native mericane
Nordfriisk: Indiooner
norsk nynorsk: Amerikanske urfolk
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Indeyslar
پنجابی: لال ہندی
Plattdüütsch: Indianer
polski: Indianie
português: Povos ameríndios
română: Amerindieni
русский: Индейцы
Seeltersk: Indioanere
Simple English: Native American
slovenčina: Indiáni
slovenščina: Ameriški staroselci
ślůnski: Indjanery
српски / srpski: Američki starosedeoci
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Indijanci
suomi: Intiaanit
svenska: Indianer
Türkmençe: Indeýler
українська: Індіанці
اردو: سرخ ہندی
Tiếng Việt: Thổ dân châu Mỹ
West-Vlams: Indioann
粵語: 美洲土著
Zazaki: Postesuri
žemaitėška: Indienā