Native American music
- Bruno Nettl
- , revised by Victoria Lindsay Levine,
- Bryan Burton
- and Gertrude Prokosch Kurath
In this article the term “Native American” is used to refer to the native peoples who occupied the North American continent above Mexico before the advent of western European exploration and colonization in 1492 and their descendants. Similar populations in Mexico, Central America, and South America are not discussed here other than occasional references in connection with other groups or in general discussions of history.
Native Americans appear to have come into the Western Hemisphere from Asia in a series of migrations across the Bering Strait or a land bridge that existed during the late Ice Ages. Their common origin explains the physical characteristics that many Native Americans have in common, while the several waves of migration are supposed to account for the many native linguistic families. DNA and linguistic studies have confirmed their origins as lying in East Asia, with evidence of additional linguistic connections with Siberian peoples and a tribal history of the Lenape in Eastern North America has been interpreted as show origins near Lake Baikal in Siberia. In addition, rituals among some Athabaskan peoples, including Navajo and Apache, show striking similarities to animist and proto-Buddhist practices. There is evidence of the presence of Native Americans in the Americas for at least 15,000–20,000 years. In pre-Columbian times the population of the area north of Mexico is estimated to have been several million....