Native American History

The National Museum of Natural History holds the majority of the human remains in the Smithsonian's collections.

The Smithsonian’s Human Remains Task Force Calls for New Repatriation Policies

The report provides recommendations regarding the return of human remains in the Institution’s collections

John Smith claimed Pocahontas saved him from execution when she was just 11 or 12 years old. Whether the story happened the way Smith tells it—or even at all—is up for debate, a 2017 Smithsonian Channel documentary explains.

The True Story of Pocahontas Is More Complicated Than You Might Think

Historian Camilla Townsend separates fact from fiction in the life of the Powhatan "princess"

Writer N. Scott Momaday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2019

N. Scott Momaday Built the Foundations of Native American Literature

Smithsonian scholars offer their reflections on the author, who died last week at age 89, and his impact on a new generation of Native writers

Chicago's Field Museum announced its decision to cover certain display cases several days before new federal regulations went into effect.

Field Museum Covers Native American Displays to Comply With New Regulations

The federal rules require museums to obtain consent from tribal leaders before displaying or researching cultural heritage items

Accents center on the pronunciation of words, while dialects encompass pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. Here, the subjects of Grant Wood's American Gothic channel speaking styles popular in California and New York.

A Brief History of the United States' Accents and Dialects

Migration patterns, cultural ties, geographic regions and class differences all shape speaking patterns

Workers discovered this Indigenous ossuary while digging in Toronto.

Construction Workers Discover Indigenous Burial Ground in Toronto

Researchers who investigated the site estimate that it's about 700 years old

Welcome Park is named after the ship that brought Penn across the Atlantic in 1682.

Officials Reverse Plans to Remove William Penn Statue From a Philadelphia Park

The National Park Service had proposed replacing the statue with public resources showcasing the city's Native American history

An illustration of Lucayan divers spearfishing for parrotfish, turtles and conch

How Archaeologists Are Unearthing the Secrets of the Bahamas' First Inhabitants

Spanish colonizers enslaved the Lucayans, putting an end to their lineage by 1530

Lily Gladstone became the Golden Globe's first Indigenous Best Actress for her portrayal of Mollie Burkhart in Killers of the Flower Moon.  

Lily Gladstone Makes Golden Globes History as First Indigenous Best Actress Winner

The "Killers of the Flower Moon" star accepted the award by speaking in the Blackfeet language

Our ten most-read stories of the year featured the author of Anne of Green Gables, tiny penguins, Queen Charlotte and more.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2023

From the world's oldest dog to the real history behind "Oppenheimer," these were the magazine's most-read articles of the year

The Bostonians’ “preferred outcome” was for the tea to be “peacefully sent back to London,” says historian Benjamin L. Carp. “It’s only when they find out … the governor is not going to let [that happen] that they say, ‘Well, we have no choice [but] to destroy [the tea].”

The Many Myths of the Boston Tea Party

Contrary to popular belief, the 1773 protest opposed a tax break, not a tax hike. And it didn't immediately unify the colonies against the British

Smithsonian's picks for the best history books of 2023 include King: A Life, The Sisterhood and The Wager.

The Ten Best History Books of 2023

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and illuminate how the United States ended up where it is today

On the new U.S. quarter, sculptor Joseph Menna and designer Benjamin Sowards depict Tallchief floating through the air in the middle of a dramatic leap in The Firebird.

New U.S. Quarter Honors Maria Tallchief, America's First Prima Ballerina

Born on Osage land in Oklahoma, the famous dancer broke barriers for Native American women

A screenshot of Native Land Digital’s interactive map

This Interactive Map Shows Which Indigenous Lands You Live On

The nonprofit behind the tool wants people to learn the history of the spaces they inhabit

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How the Osage Changed Martin Scorsese’s Mind

“Killers of the Flower Moon” sets a new standard in its nuanced portrait of Osage life. Decades of prior films about Native Americans didn't even try

The new film places the relationship between Mollie Burkhart (played by Lily Gladstone) and her husband Ernest (Leonardo DiCaprio) at the center of the story.

The Real History Behind 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

Martin Scorsese's new film revisits the murders of wealthy Osages in Oklahoma in the 1920s

A sampling of Native representation in the films (clockwise from top left) Killers of the Flower Moon (2023), War Party (1988), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Revenant (2015), Soldier Blue (1970), Little Big Man (1970) and Dances With Wolves (1990)

From Wild West Shows to 'Killers of the Flower Moon,' Revisit the History of Native Americans on the Silver Screen

How American Indians in Hollywood have gone from stereotypes to starring roles

Signs calling for the abolition of Columbus Day formed the backdrop for a protest in front of city hall in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The Evolution of Columbus Day Celebrations, From Italian Immigrant Pride to Indigenous Recognition

The holiday has been controversial practically since its inception

Taíno cacique Francisco Ramírez Rojas beats a palm frond to drive away bad spirits at a seaside ceremony of thanksgiving. A three-sided idol known as La Muñequina is thought to represent the Taíno belief that spirits of the dead are present among the living.

Who Were the Taíno, the Original Inhabitants of Columbus’ Island Colonies?

The Native people of Hispaniola were long believed to have died out. But a journalist's search for their descendants turned up surprising results

Visitors enter Historic Fort Snelling. A new exhibition at the site examines the fort's long, complex history.

New Exhibition Examines the Many Converging Histories of Minnesota's Fort Snelling

The site was the backdrop for critical moments in Native American, African American and Japanese American history

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