How Native American Culture Changed Over Time

Native American culture is one of the richest and most diverse cultures in the world. The culture of Native Americans is a result of a long and complex history that has been shaped by various factors, including geographic location, climate, and the interaction with other cultures.

The Pre-Columbian Era

The pre-Columbian era refers to the time period before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. During this time, Native Americans were spread across the Americas and had distinct cultures and traditions. The culture of Native Americans during this era was heavily influenced by their environment. For example, tribes that lived near the ocean relied on fishing as their main food source, while those who lived in the plains hunted buffalo.

Religion played a significant role in Native American culture during the pre-Columbian era. Most tribes believed in multiple gods and spirits, and religious practices were often tied to natural phenomena such as the seasons and weather.

The Colonial Era

The colonial era began with the arrival of Europeans in the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. This period marked a significant change in Native American culture. European settlers brought with them new diseases, weapons, and technology, which disrupted Native American societies. The colonization of the Americas by Europeans led to the displacement and forced assimilation of Native Americans, resulting in the decline of their culture and traditions.

During this era, Native American religion was suppressed by the Europeans. Many Native American children were taken from their families and sent to boarding schools where they were forced to adopt European customs and beliefs. As a result, traditional Native American religion declined, and many of the spiritual practices were lost.

The Contemporary Era

Toward the end of the 20th century, there was a renewed interest in Native American culture in the United States. This renewed interest has led to increased efforts to preserve Native American traditions and language. Native American tribes are now more active than ever in educating people about their culture and history.

The contemporary era has also witnessed the revival of Native American religions. Many native religions are now being practiced again, and there has been a growing interest in learning about these traditions. There are now many organizations and groups dedicated to preserving Native American culture and religion, as well as advocating for the rights of native peoples.


The culture of Native Americans has changed dramatically over time. During the pre-Columbian era, Native American culture was heavily influenced by their environment and religion. The arrival of Europeans and the subsequent colonization of the Americas led to the suppression and decline of Native American culture and religion. However, in recent years there has been a renewed interest in Native American culture, and efforts are being made to preserve and reclaim what has been lost.

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