Indigenous Peoples

Edward Sherriff Curtis, Diomede Mother and Child

Trove of Unseen Photos Documents Indigenous Culture in 1920s Alaska

New exhibition and book feature more than 100 images captured by Edward Sherriff Curtis for his seminal chronicle of Native American life

A diver swims over a bleached section of the Great Barrier Reef near Heron Island.

The Planet Has Lost Half of Its Coral Reefs Since 1950

A new study finds dramatic declines in coral reef cover, biodiversity and fish abundance

Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site is home to hundreds of petroglyphs and pictrographs.

Centuries-Old Pottery Could Reveal When the Crow Arrived in Wyoming

Radiocarbon dating of ceramics found at Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site may offer new insights on the region's Indigenous history

At one point, archaeologists thought the art might be modern graffiti due to its high level of detail.

Missouri Cave Filled With Ancient Artwork Sold Against Osage Nation's Wishes

The Native American tribe had hoped to preserve and protect the site, which may be associated with the Mississippian culture

Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Omai, circa 1776

The Polynesian 'Prince' Who Took 18th-Century England by Storm

A new nonfiction release revisits the life of Mai, the first Pacific Islander to visit Britain

In October 2020, authorities in Mexico City set up metal fences (pictured here) to protect a statue of Christopher Columbus from protesters. Officials later removed the sculpture, ostensibly for restoration.

Monument to Indigenous Women Will Replace Columbus Statue in Mexico City

Named after the Nahuatl word for "water," the sculpture will depict a member of the Mesoamerican Olmec civilization

This Aztec pictogram depicts warriors drowning as a temple burns in the background. New research links the scene to a 1507 earthquake.

Aztec Pictograms Are the First Written Records of Earthquakes in the Americas

New analysis of the 16th-century "Codex Telleriano-Remensis" reveals 12 references to the natural disasters

Grizzly bears in coastal British Columbia are more closely linked to Indigenous groups than previously realized.

Grizzly Bear Territories in Canada Match Maps of Indigenous Language Families

DNA analysis shows a distinct relationship between three distinct groups of grizzlies and Indigenous populations with different languages

In the Southwest, Morris documented what she described as a “treasure trove”—a “topography rich in large dry caves, neatly adapted to ancient dwellings and graveyards.”

Women Who Shaped History

Groundbreaking Archaeologist Ann Axtell Morris Finally Gets the Cinematic Treatment

Nearly a century after Morris excavated ancestral Native lands, filmmakers return with an inclusive approach that brings Navajo Nation onto the big screen

Production still from "Reservation Dogs."

'Reservation Dogs' Marks a Breakthrough for Indigenous Representation Onscreen

"Thor: Ragnarok" director Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo developed a comedy about Native American teens in Oklahoma that stars four young Native actors

An engraving of a polar bear hurling a rock at a walrus from Charles Francis Hall's 1865 book Arctic researches, and life among the Esquimaux.

Polar Bears Take Down Walruses by Hurling Rocks and Ice

New research corroborates Inuit knowledge of the animals cleverly using new tools

Alfredo Ramos Martínez, La Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca), 1940

Was La Malinche, Indigenous Interpreter for Conquistador Hernán Cortés, a Traitor, Survivor or Icon?

A new exhibition at the Denver Art Museum explores the legacy of an enslaved woman who aided Spain's conquest of the Americas

Researchers hoped to open the tunnel to the public. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they must settle for covering it with dirt until work can resume.

Mexican Archaeologists Rebury Tunnel Adorned With Aztec Carvings After Losing Funding

Costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic have placed the preservation project on an indefinite hold

Carolyn Smith collecting beargrass in Klamath National Forest, 2015. For beargrass to be supple enough for weavers to use in their baskets, it needs to be burned annually. Ideally, it is burned in an intentionally set cultural fire, where only the tops are burned, leaving the roots intact. Prescribed fires in the Klamath National Forest are few and far between, so weavers “follow the smoke” and gather, when they can, after wildfires sweep through the landscape.

Smithsonian Voices

How Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Offers Solutions to California's Wildfires

“We need to reintegrate Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and cultural and prescribed burning into our landscape,” Carolyn Smith says

Members of the public take part in a blessing of the Lummi Nation totem pole in San Leandro, California, on June 3. The House of Tears Carvers toured the pole around the West Coast before embarking on a two-week journey to Washington, D.C.

Why Indigenous Activists Are Driving a 25-Foot Totem Pole Across the Country

Master carvers from the Lummi Nation, a Native tribe in Washington, crafted the 5,000-pound object from a single red cedar tree

Working with the Papuan Past Project, François-Xavier Ricaut measures the lung function of a highlander study participant at St. Therese’s School at Denglagu mission.

Why Papua New Guinea's Highlanders Differ Physically From Those Living Near Sea Level

New research shows villagers living at high altitude are shorter, have higher lung capacity and have smaller waistlines

The blanket toss is one of the many events that occur during the annual World Eskimo Indian Olympics in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Tokyo Olympics

For 60 Years, Indigenous Alaskans Have Hosted Their Own Olympics

Athletes at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks test their mettle in events like the blanket toss, knuckle hop and ear pull

Map of Nova Scotia made in 1755 by provincial chief surveyor Charles Morris

Unraveling the Colonialist Myths of Nova Scotia

Planners saw the region as a blank space ripe for transformation: the perfect canvas for imperial fantasies

A portion of Chicago's newly renamed Jean Baptiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive, pictured in 2013

History of Now

Who Was Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, the New Namesake of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive?

Chicago leaders voted to rename the city's iconic lakeside roadway after a Black trader and the first non-Indigenous settler in the region

A memorial at Queen's Park in Toronto was set up to honor the 215 Indigenous children discovered in unmarked graves in British Columbia. Now, after the subsequent discovery of 751 such graves in Saskatchewan, the memorial continues to grow.

751 Unmarked Graves Discovered Near Former Indigenous School in Canada

Experts estimate 4,000 to 10,000 children may have died at the schools, often from a combination of poor living conditions and disease

loading icon