What Did Native Americans Call America?

Native Americans have lived in what we now called the United States of America for tens of thousands of years. Native American culture often seems complicated and difficult for many Americans to understand. 

Therefore, questions often abound about what Native American people believed and how they saw the world. It continues to puzzle people as to exactly how their society functioned and in what ways it is and was different from our own. 

Native American Petroglyphs

So if you have ever wondered what did Native Americans call America then you will soon learn the answer to your question. 

So, What Did Native Americans Call America?

Let’s start by answering the simplest question first – what did Native Americans call America?

The answer is both straightforward and somewhat complex, depending on what you define as America and what the Native Americans defined as the land that they lived on. 

The word “America” is a Latin-derived word meaning “the new world.” The first use of the term was in 1524 by Spanish explorers who named the continent they had discovered Nueva España (“New Spain”). This name was eventually shortened to “Nuevo México,” which became Mexico. In English, the name of this region is called New Spain.

Native American tribes also used the terms ri’kwa (or rikwah) and tribrra (or tribrrah). These are both related to the word for “people” but have different meanings. Tribrra means “many people ”. Rikwah means “one person”.

So, when you ask what Native Americans called America, you’re asking about two separate words that mean something like “new land/country/continent/world/place where many people live together.”

What Did Native Americans Call America In Different Tribes?

There’s no single answer here because each culture has its own definition of these concepts. For example, the Iroquois Confederacy had three nations within their confederacy, and each had a distinct language. Each nation had a unique name, but all were part of the same political entity. 

So, the Iroquois would say that there were five nations in the confederacy. 

They might refer to one as Onontio, another as Seneca, etc. But they wouldn’t say that there were only three nations.

In some cases, the concept of “nation” may be more important than the number of nations. If we consider the United States, then the question becomes whether we think of the United States as having one nation or several. Some people do, while others don’t.

The term “nation” can apply to any group of people with common characteristics. It doesn’t necessarily imply a formal government structure. A nation could be defined by ethnicity, religion, language, or culture.

For example, the Cherokee Nation is an official organization recognized by the federal government. However, the Cherokee people didn’t form a nation until 1776. Before that time, they lived in small groups scattered across North Carolina. Their language was Cherokee. Their culture was based on hunting, fishing, farming, and gathering wild plants.

Therefore, it is difficult to actually answer the question as to what Native Americans called America because there was no united concept of America until the American Revolution and the birth of the United States. 

Before then, especially during the time of Native American domination, there was no single idea as to what America was because the Native American tribes were not united in considering the American continent to be one nation. 

So as has been mentioned above, different Native American tribes had different names for the areas that they inhabited and what they considered to be their country. 

Now that we have established what the Native American people thought of as America, let’s move on to discussing when the Native American peoples first actually came to the land we now know as the United States of America.

When Did The Native Americans First Arrive In America?

Native Americans

Let’s now turn to examining an interesting and somewhat complex question – when exactly did the Native American peoples first arrive in the land that we now called the United States of America?

The first evidence of human habitation in the USA dates from some 21,000 years ago during the Last Glacial Maximum. However, it seems as if these humans, whoever they were, did not last long as their civilization or people does not seem to have stood the test of time. 

The earliest evidence that we have of the people we know as the Native Americans occupying the United States comes from around 12000BC onwards with the Native American peoples having firmly established their hold on the continent sometimes around 1000 BC. 

It would not, however, be until 2000 BC that the Native Americans began to develop their own states – nations or confederations which would regularly trade and war with one another for hundreds of years until the first permanent European expansion into America began in 1492.

The Vikings are known to have previously found their way to the American continent hundreds of years before but their colony was much shorter lived and eventually died out.  

Final Thoughts

The Native American peoples are one of the most fascinating and yet misunderstood ethnic groups to have had an influence on the history of the US. Since Europeans began to settle in the United States they have been persecuted and maligned in many horrific ways. 

This is why it is important to know about the rich and fascinating history of the Native American peoples. The Native American people are the first true Americans and as such their story has to be one that every resident of the United States knows – especially to understand the attitudes and concerns of modern Native Americans. 

Only by understanding and appreciating the history of the Native American people can you be more ready to right the injustices that were enacted against them in the past. By working together and promoting the understanding and knowledge of Native American culture can we hope to make the United States an even more welcoming and friendly place than it already is. 

Only by doing that can the USA truly become a united nation and one that promotes and embraces the history and culture of all its people. 

So, if you don’t know much about the history of the Native American people, make sure to change that now and find out all you can about them.