American Indians (or Native Americans) were the indigenous Human inhabitants of the North and South American continents of Earth. 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.
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")
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. 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")
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")
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")
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")
American Indian planets
American Indian tribes and cultures
- Amerind inhabitants
- Chakotay's tribe (unnamed)
- Rubber Tree People
American Indian descendants
- Ce Acatl
- Joe Falling Hawk
- Walking Bear
Ships with American Indians names
- USS Ahwahnee
- USS Crazy Horse
- USS Lakota
- USS Malinche
- USS Pueblo
- USS Sioux
- USS Tecumseh
Other American Indian namesakes
- TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome"
- TAS: "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth"
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- DS9: "Paradise"
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.