American Indians (or Native Americans) were an indigenous Human ethnic group who first inhabited the North, Central, and South American regions of Earth. (TAS: "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth") Those areas were heavily colonized by more technologically advanced Humans from other continents after the 15th century, leading to the destruction of many indigenous cultures. (TNG: "Journey's End")


In the distant past, extraterrestrials known as the Sky Spirits came from the Delta Quadrant to Earth, where they genetically altered a group of primitive Humans. These inheritors carried a similar affinity to the land as the Sky Spirits and spread across the globe, giving rise to the Native American and Amazonian peoples, such as the Rubber Tree People.

Chakotay, 2377

Commander Chakotay, the Native American first officer of USS Voyager in 2377

The Sky Spirits returned but eventually found no trace of any descendants. Descendants of the Rubber Tree People who had features of the Sky People's appearance, were however still living on Earth in isolation in the Central American rain forest even in the 24th century, while another known descendant tribe, Chakotay's tribe, left Earth and lived with traditional values while maintaining contact with the modern galaxy. (VOY: "Tattoo")

It is apparent that by the 24th century, the Federation respected the wishes of native tribes if they wished to live a traditional way of life in isolation from the rest of Earth, and would not initiate contact with these tribes. This would perhaps be something of an adaptation of, or inspired by the Prime Directive, or past learnings on historical contact with native peoples.

Kukulkan, a benevolent alien being, visited the Mayans and influenced their architecture and agricultural development. Kukulkan was worshiped as a god by the Mayans who encountered him. Kukulkan gave them their remarkably accurate calendar and told them to build a city according to its cycles. On the date the city was finished, Kukulkan was supposed to return. The Mayans built their city, but Kukulkan never appeared, as they had only built parts of the design-they never finished the energy amplification system that was supposed to signal Kukulkan. Kulkukan was remembered in many Native American cultures, including the Aztec, Comanche, and Toltec peoples. (TAS: "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth")

The Kukulkan visit was not given a specific date, but the accounts would seem to suggest an era around 5,000 BC to 2,000 BC.

A group of alien anthropologists, called the Preservers, visited Earth several centuries before 2268. The Preservers transplanted a group of Native Americans, including people from the Delaware, Navajo, and Mohican tribes, to a class M planet where they were able to live undisturbed. (TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome")

Davy Crockett was a celebrated "Indian fighter". (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")

Trips books

A copy of A Pictorial History of the American Indian

During the 20th century, the book A Pictorial History of the American Indian written by Oliver La Farge, cataloging the American Indians said history. (ENT: "Cogenitor")

USS Enterprise operations Native American officer

One of the Native American crew aboard the USS Enterprise in the 2270s

By the 2270s, Starfleet permitted Native Americans to express their culture as part of their uniforms. At the time of the V'ger threat, at least three Native Americans were among the crew of the USS Enterprise. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

One group of Native Americans left Earth in the mid-22nd century, dissatisfied with changing Terran attitudes towards nature. After two centuries of searching, they created a new colony on Dorvan V, although the system it was in was disputed ground. With the Federation-Cardassian Treaty, the planet was ceded to the Cardassians, and the USS Enterprise-D was sent to relocate the tribe. The tribe however decided to stay and leave the Federation. (TNG: "Journey's End")


Tepees, time stream

Native American tepees

Scenes of Native American life, including tepees and a canoe, could be seen in the resetting time stream as the timeline realigned itself. (ENT: "Storm Front, Part II")

Native American tribes had traditions about displays of dominance, such as "counting coup," which were noted by Data when observing similar behaviors in the Ligonians. (TNG: "Code of Honor")

Some Native American cultures experienced a resurgence in the 23rd and 24th centuries. They adapted to their times and circumstances – some tribes included alien species such as the Ferengi, Klingons, and Vulcans as totem spirits. (TNG: "Journey's End")

Chakotay once jokingly deduced that Seven of Nine had never assimilated any Indian scouts, based on her missing a set of footprints. (VOY: "Demon")

American Indian tribes and cultures

Furthermore, the USS Lakota was named for the Lakota people and the movie Apache Serenade presumably featured Apache.

American Indian descendants

Walking Bear

Ensign Walking Bear

Writer Russell Bates, who created the Walking Bear character, was a native American himself, and came from the Kiowa tribe.

Ships with American Indians names

According to John Eaves, the USS Sioux was named for British singer Siouxsie Sioux. [1]

American Indian planets


Background information

At least two Native Americans have been seen to be a member of the Maquis (one unnamed and the other being Commander Chakotay).

Jamake Highwater served as a consultant on Native American culture to Star Trek: Voyager despite being of Eastern European Jewish background and heavily criticized by actual American Indians. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p.199)

In an interview with Robert Fletcher – published as part one of "The Star Trek Costumes", in the February 1980 edition of Fantastic Films – the Shamin priests seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture were described as "like the society of America's western Indian civilizations", despite no apparent contact with travelers from Earth.

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