Why the name "indians":
When Christopher Columbus discovered America, he called the local population “Indians” because he thought he had come to India by a different sea route.
Different tribes, different customs:
North American Indians were organized in tribes, often in conflict with one another and each speaking its own language. They followed different ways of life: some hunted buffalo across the Great Plains, some farmed the land, others were fishermen. Even their home were different: the Sioux, who lived in tents called ‘tepees’; the tribes living in the forest of the east built village of wooden houses; the tribes of the hot South-west lived in ‘pueblos’, little houses made of stone or mud. But despite their differences ,all Indians shared a profound respect for nature and honored the elderly of their tribes.
When the whites invaded Indian territories and wanted to settle there, war was inevitable. There were many battle between 1860 and 1890, the Indians won some of them, such as the famous battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, but in the end they were defeated by the American army. One of the last Indian massacres was the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890- in about thirty years thousands of Indians were killed and those who survived were either assimilated into white society or confined to arid inhospitable lands called ‘reservations’.
Today about half of the Indian population of the USA live in large cities and have integrated with western life-style, while the others live in about 300 federal reservations, mostly located in the west.
The Indian living on the reservations are particularly proud of their traditions and try to keep them alive, but life is hard because the reservations usually have very resources.