Native Americans and Arkansas

By Miranda Diaz,, News Editor

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November is National
Native American
Heritage Month. The
purpose of National
Native American Heritage
Month is to honor
Native Americans and
all that they contributed
to the United
States by playing a
very crucial role in the
establishment of the
country and American
The Native Americans
had their own part
in the American Revolution
and were the first
to domesticate certain
plants, and animals.
They were also the
first to come up with
natural medicine for
specific ailments; our
government was even
based on their League
of Iroquois. Scholastic
states that the League
of Iroquois was actually
the model for Federated
Democracy for both
Europeans and the
American colonies.
Many words in the
English language are
derived from Native
American languages.
According to arkansas.
gov, the word “Arkansas”
actually comes
from the Quapaw tribe,
who were in the region
when the French arrived.
Another example
is the word “persimmon,”
which comes
from the Cree word,
pasiminan. This is only
a medium example of
why Native Americans
are important and how
they have contributed
so much to American
society. According
to, Native
Americans have
contributed over 2,200
words to the English
Native Americans
first domesticated
many of the foods and
animals that appear in
the American diet and
economy. According to
Scholastic, sweet potatoes,
turkeys, llamas,
cotton, and several
other plants and animals
were first domesticated
by the Native
Americans. While
the Native American
medical advances were
not enough to protect
them from the diseases
Europeans brought, but
they were very useful
for other common
ailments. For example,
they were the first to
learn that plants rich in
Vitamin C help prevent
scurvy. Native Americans
sacrificed their
land and rights for
Americans to live on
the land they do today;
There are currently
573 federally recognized
tribes, and 310
reservations; some
tribes have more than
one reservation. Before
European conquest
there were 500 tribes,
which equaled about 22
million Native Americans.

The present total
population of Native
Americans sits at only
two million.
The Caddo people
lived in the Arkadelphia
region near the
Caddo River as farmers
where later De Soto
and his army would
enter the region during
their expedition
through what is now
Arkansas. Unfortunately,
little is known what
happened to the Caddo
in a 144-year period
between De Soto’s expedition
and 1687.
Encyclopedia of
Arkansas states that
by 1790 the Caddo,
who were weakened
by European epidemics
and called Arkansas
home, abandoned their
ancient territory and
moved further down
the Red River, eventually
ending up in Caddo
County, Oklahoma,
where they now hold a
seat in government.
Native Americans
have played a very important
role in American
history, which is
why it is important to
recognize, and understand
what they had to
give up for America to
be what it is today.