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Destroying the Native American Cultures When European settlers arrived on the North American continent at the end of the fifteenth century, they encountered diverse Native American cultures—as many as 900,000 inhabitants with over 300 different languages. These people, whose ancestors crossed the land bridge from Asia in what may be considered the first North American immigration, were virtually destroyed by the subsequent immigration that created the United States.
Locating the Site Map 1: Land occupied by Southeastern Tribes, 1820s. (Adapted from Sam Bowers Hilliard, "Indian Land Cessions" [detail], Map Supplement 16, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 62, no. 2 [June 1972].) Key: 1. Seminole 2. Creek 3.
Following World War II, many of the nations of the world came together to form the United Nations to serve as a forum for international relations. Indian nations as colonial entities were not viewed as sovereign nations as thus were not a part of the United Nations when it was formed. In 1948 the United Nations classified genocide as a crime against humanity.