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American Indian Contributions to the World: 15,000 Years of Inventions and Innovations

More than 450 cross-referenced entries provide information on the contributions of Native Americans to the world in a variety of areas such as medicine, food preservation, military strategy, architecture, science, and government.

What follows is a collection of contributions American Indian peoples have made to the world. The word contribution is defined in The American Heritage College Dictionary, Second Edition as “to give to the common fund or common purpose.” American Indians, from the Arctic Circle to the tip of South America, donated many gifts to the world’s common fund of knowledge in the areas of agriculture, science and technology, medicine, transportation, architecture, psychology, military strategy, government, and language. These contributions take the form of inventions, processes, philosophies, and political or social systems. For the most part until the late 19th century, they remained unrecognized outside of the disciplines of anthropology and archaeology. People throughout the world enjoyed the fruits of indigenous American invention—such as rubberized raincoats, POPCORN, HAMMOCKS, and the drug QUININE—without being aware of their origin. At the same time textbooks, novels, and later movies and television portrayed the first people of the Americas as primitives who were incapable of complex ideas or inventions. Immediately after PDF Link

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