Native Americans (also Aboriginal Americans, American Indians,Amerindians, or Indigenous Peoples of America) are the people who were in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean Islands when Europeans arrived. Christopher Columbus was travelling west, so he thought he was going to India. This is why he called the people “Indians”. There are more than three million Native Americans in Canada and the U.S. combined.
Sometimes these people are called “Indians”, but this is confusing, because it is the same word used for people from India. There are many different tribes of Amerindian people, with many different languages.
Many Amerindians died after the Europeans came to the Americas, from diseases that came with the Europeans that were new to the Amerindians, in wars with the Europeans, or because the Europeans made them work as slaves. Most of the Amerindians were hurt or killed by settlers who took their lands.
The ancestors of American Indians came to the Americas from Asia. Some of them may have come to America over 12,000 years ago when Alaska was connected to Asia by land.