How much do you know about Native Americans?

“Leaving,” Painting by John Stanley, 1920


Most people know little to nothing about the First Americans. If you cannot answer at least three of the following questions maybe it’s time you learned more.

1. How many Indigenous tribes are there in the United States?

A. 15 – 30

B. 30 – 50

C. 50 – 75

D. Over 100

2. Native Americans have their own religion.


3. How many unique Native American languages are there?

A. 4 – 6

B. 7 – 10

C. 20 – 50

D. 50 – 100

4. How many people are enrolled members of recognized tribes in the United States?

A. 100,000 – 250,000

B. 250,000 – 500,000

C. 1,000,000 – 3,000,000

D. 4,000,000 – 5,000,000

5. Which tribe has the most enrolled members?

A. Cherokee

B. Navajo

C. Apache

D. Cheyenne

6. How many places have names that originated with a Native American tribe, chief, or word?

A. 10 – 25

B. 35 – 50

C. Over 100

D. Over 1000

7. Which of the following references do Native Americans prefer the least?

A. American Indians

B. First Nation People

C. Indigenous People

D. Native Americans




There are literally hundreds of Native American tribes in the USA! How many can you name? Some of the ones that are most familiar include the Apache, Algonquin, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chickasaw, Comanche, Cree, Crow, Iroquois, Mohecan, Navajo, Paiute, Seminole, Seneca, Shoshone, and Sioux.

2. ANSWER: Neither or Both, depending on how you look at it.

Native North Americans consider spirituality a way of life, not a specific religion. In many of their languages, a word does not exist for “religion.” Their spiritual beliefs incorporate all of life, whether animal, vegetable or mineral–even the Earth herself. It includes their treatment of the land, gathering of food, crafting of objects, etc. Rituals, sacred lands, sacred objects, ancestral remains, and all of life are one.

Ceremonies include prayer, fasting, and the sweat lodge, among others. Morality, kindness, generosity, honor, and bravery are all important principles.

The “Lakota (Sioux) Instructions for Living” passed down from White Buffalo Calf Woman states:

Friend do it this way–that is, whatever you do in life, do the very best you can with both your heart and mind.

And if you do it that way, the Power of The Universe will come to your assistance, if your heart and mind are in Unity.

When one sits in the Hoop Of The People, one must be responsible because All of Creation is related. And the hurt of one is the hurt of all. And the honor of one is the honor of all. And whatever we do affects everything in the universe.

If you do it that way–that is if you truly join your heart and mind as One–whatever you ask for, that’s the Way It’s Going To Be.


There are 32 different language “families” as well as several more considered “isolates.” Language families, which are spoken by many tribes, include: Algonquian, Athapascan, Caddoan, Chimakuan, Chinookian, Chumashan, Eskimaleut, Iroquoian, Kiowa-Tanoan, Kalapuyan, Kusan, Maidu, Miwok-Costanoan, Muskogean, Palaihnihan, Pomo, Sahaptian, Salinan, Salishan, Shastan, Siouan, Timucuan, Tunican, Uto-Aztecan, Wakashan, Washoe, Wintun, Yanan, Yokutsan, Yukian, Yuman, Yakonan.


In 2000 there were over four million American Indian and Alaska Natives.


In 2000 there were 729,533 Cherokee; 298,197 Navajo; 96,833 Apaches; and 18,204 Cheyenne


Here are a few examples, the list far more lengthy than you can imagine.

Native WordTribeMeaning
AlabamaMuskogean“I clear the thicket” or to camp
ChinookChinookTribal Name
ConnecticutMohegan“the long river”
DakotaTribal name“allies” or people also known as Sioux
ErieIroquoian“long tail” in reference to wild cat
KentuckyWyandot“land of tomorrow”
ManhattanTribal name“island mountain”
MassachusettsTribal name“at the range of hills”
MinnesotaSioux“reflection of sky on water”
MississippiAlgonquin“big river”
MontaukAlgonquin“at the fort”
NiagaraIroquois“thunder of waters resounding with a great noise”
OklahomaMuskogean“red people”
PontiacOttawaOttawa chief
SeattleDuwamishChief Seatl
TacomaAlgonquin“mountain” or “gods”
TahoeWashoe“big water”
WinnebagoTribal namefrom Algonquian “people of the dirty waters”


Preferences vary from tribe to tribe, but most dislike being called “Indians.”

ANSWERS SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS 1 – 6: “Atlas of the North American Indian” by Carl Waldman