“As many people recognize today as Columbus Day, we are reminded of those who made their journey and impact to the Americas well before the European explorers did.
One of the earliest identifiable cultures was the Clovis culture, located what today is New Mexico, with sites dating from some 13,000 years ago. However, older sites dating back to 20,000 years ago have been identified. Some genetic studies estimate the colonization of the Americas dates from between 40,000 to 13,000 years ago.
The Aztecs flourished for nearly 3,500 years before first contact with Europeans.
One of the distinguishing features of Mississippian culture was the construction of large earthen mounds, continuing the moundbuilding traditions of earlier cultures. They grew crops, participated in an extensive trade network, and had a complex stratified society. The Mississippians first appeared around 1000 CE, following and developing out of the less agriculturally intensive and less centralized Woodland period. The largest site of this people, Cahokia, located on what is now Illinois, may have reached a population of over 20,000. At its peak, between the 12th and 13th centuries, Cahokia was the most populous city in North America.
The Iroquois League of Nations or “People of the Long House” impacted the United States Constitution, with the Senate passing a resolution to this effect in 1988.
Before European contact, Native people developed agriculture, developing and breeding corn to what we are familiar with today. Potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos pumpkins, chili peppers, squash, beans, pineapple, sweet potatoes, the grains quinoa and amaranth, cocoa beans, vanilla, onion, peanuts, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, papaya, and avocados were among other plants domesticated by Native people well before European contact. Over two-thirds of all types of food crops grown worldwide are native to the Americas.”