Before the 49th parallel became the invisible border between Canada and the United States of America, the only barriers separating the many North American Native tribes were geographical and language differences. Although most native groups believe they have belonged on the North American continent since 'time immemorial', as stated in the Declaration of the First Nations, anthropologists have a different theory.
At the end of the Late Pleistocene Ice Age (15,000 to 10,000 years ago) the Pinedale, Wisconsinan glaciation covered central North America, and the Fraser glaciation engulfed the Pacific Cordillera of North America. Scientists believe Asia and North America were either connected, or closely accessible across the Bering Strait where hunters from Asia, probably Siberia, followed the herds of animals ...More information below photos...
...Continue gallery information:, such as bison, caribou, musk-ox and mammoths into what is now Alaska and on down through the closest two 'corridors' between the glacier regions. One corridor was along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, and the other, probably the easier one, was down the water route of the Alaska-British Columbia coastline.
Samples of soil and plant roots taken from the ocean floor (about 95 meters down), north of Vancouver Island, have proved to be about 10,500 years old and would indicate the area was once dry land. The cultural classification of the Aboriginal people when the first Europeans explorers came to North America were - Arctic - Sub Arctic - North East - South East - Plains - Northwest Coast - Plateau - Great Basin - California and Southwest. Today, in Canada and Alaska the three Aboriginal groups, representing almost 4% of the population, are the First Nations, Inuit (the Northern Eskimo-Aleut) and the Metis (a part native, French-speaking people).
Many native tribes spread across both Canada and the United states such as the Huron, Iroquois and the Algonkin in the East. The Dakotas, Cree and Chippewa in the mid-West and the Chilliwack, Okanagon and Nooksack in the West, just to name a few. Unfortunately, although there are 296 native languages spoken north of Mexico - it is likely that only 3 will survive over time - Cree, Ojibwa and Inuktitut. Some communication will always be preserved from ancient times with the petroglyphs, the carvings on stone, which are all over the world (except Antarctica). North America has some fine examples such as Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument in Utah, which is about 2,000 years old.
Each tribe of North American Natives have their own traditional ceremonies, dress and customs. The coastal people of Alaska and British Columbia made large dug-out canoes to travel from one isolated village to the next to celebrate the feasts in the "longhouse" - literally a long house decorated with painted symbols such as thunderbirds, whales and bears. Dances and drumming cadences have been passed down from generation to generation, and are still performed with dignity. In the village of Masset on the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the coast of British Columbia, there are excellent examples of longhouses and totem poles. Totem Poles are similar to a family crest, they tell of the unity of the people and their traditions. There are many carvers still creating Totem Poles and Masks, one master carver Nathan Jackson works at his art, during the summer months, at the Saxman Totem Park in Ketchikan, Alaska.
When travelling through Canada and the United States there is probably very few places one could visit that has not been touched by the first native inhabitants of the North American continent.
Our Native American Pictures showing the rich and diverse culture of the Native American people is seen in many different forms. Their legends and myths are expressed through dance and song, as well as through elaborate costumes.
Native American artists draw inspiration from their natural surroundings, portraying images of birds, marine creatures, and characters of legends.
Here is a selection of Native American pictures which give an insight into the aboriginal culture, art, and way of life.
Here is some info for one of the very best native art galleries: Native American Art Gallery