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Dating of Clovis materials has been by association with animal bones and by the use of carbon dating methods. Numerous Paleoindian cultures occupied North America, with some arrayed around the Great Plains and Great Lakes of the modern United States and Canada, as well as adjacent areas to the West and Southwest.Recent reexaminations of Clovis materials using improved carbon-dating methods produced results of 11,050 and 10,800 radiocarbon years B. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living on this continent since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories.
The Folsom Tradition was characterized by use of Folsom points as projectile tips, and activities known from kill sites, where slaughter and butchering of bison took place.
Some of the Northeastern and Southwestern cultures in particular were matrilineal and operated on a more collective basis than the Europeans were familiar with.
The majority of Indigenous American tribes maintained their hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire tribe.
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As American expansion reached into the West, settler and miner migrants came into increasing conflict with the Great Basin, Great Plains, and other Western tribes. Contemporary Native Americans have a unique relationship with the United States because they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands with sovereignty and treaty rights.
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.
While technically referring to the era before Christopher Columbus' voyages of 1492 to 1504, in practice the term usually includes the history of American indigenous cultures until they were conquered or significantly influenced by Europeans, even if this happened decades or even centuries after Columbus' initial landing.
Native American cultures are not normally included in characterizations of advanced stone age cultures as "Neolithic," which is a category that more often includes only the cultures in Eurasia, Africa, and other regions.
Most Native American groups had historically preserved their histories by oral traditions and artwork, which has resulted in the first written sources on the conflict being authored by Europeans.
At the time of first contact, the indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial and mostly Christian immigrants.
The Clovis culture, a megafauna hunting culture, is primarily identified by use of fluted spear points.