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The North American Indians and the Ulster Museum

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 04, 1988


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by Winifred Glover

"The American continent has been colonised by immigrant settlers since prehistoric times. During the period 28000-25000 BC the polar ice melted and re-froze several times so that Alaska was joined to Siberia by a bridge of frozen water which is now called the Bering Strait.

It is contended that, during this time, immigrant settlers escaped from upheavals in their Asian homeland to the American continent. The first tool which has been scientifically dated to 20,000 B.C. from the Indians who settled in the Canadian Yukon was a scraper made from the shin bone of a caribou, the North American reindeer.

Although the Indian settlers spread throughout the North American continent for thousands of years, it was not until the first European visitors came to America that information about the Indian tribes reached the outside world.

It is thought that when Christopher Columbus reached Cuba and Haiti in 1492, there were as many as 60 million people living in the whole of the North American continent, but this figure includes Inuit as well as Indians."

The Ulster Museum is privileged to have a collection of art and artefacts of the North American Indians, and this article looks at some examples.

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