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The ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago, possibly much earlier, from Asia via Beringia.

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Smallpox epidemics are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations.

William M Denevan, noted author and Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said on this subject in his essay "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492"; "The decline of native American populations was rapid and severe, probably the greatest demographic disaster ever. In many regions, particularly the tropical lowlands, populations fell by 90 percent or more in the first century after the contact.

The differences in cultures between the established Native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations in times of war, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence, and social disruption.

Even before the European settlement of what is now the United States, Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with new European diseases, to which they had not yet acquired immunity; the diseases were endemic to the Spanish and other Europeans, and spread by direct contact and likely through pigs that escaped from expeditions.

These were complex nomadic cultures based on (introduced) horse culture and seasonal bison hunting. Cultural activism since the late 1960s has increased political participation and led to an expansion of efforts to teach and preserve indigenous languages for younger generations and to establish a greater cultural infrastructure: Native Americans have founded independent newspapers and online media, recently including First Nations Experience, the first Native American television channel; established Native American studies programs, tribal schools, and universities, and museums and language programs; and have increasingly been published as authors in numerous genres.

They carried out resistance against United States incursion in the decades after the end of the Civil War and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in a series of Indian Wars, which were frequent up until the 1890s and continued into the 20th century. Indian agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but European-American agricultural technology of the time was inadequate for the often dry reservation lands, leading to mass starvation. The terms used to refer to Native Americans have at times been controversial.

Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of population, cultural, and agricultural transfer and adjustment between Old and New World societies, a process known as the Columbian exchange.

As most Native American groups had historically preserved their histories by oral traditions and artwork, the first written sources of the conflict were written by Europeans.

The Clovis culture, a megafauna hunting culture, is primarily identified by the use of fluted spear points.

Artifacts from this culture were first excavated in 1932 near Clovis, New Mexico.

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States.

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