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Native Americans

Arkansas was home to Native Americans long before Europeans arrived. The first explorers met Indians whose ancestors had occupied the region for thousands of years. These were impressive and well-organized societies, to whom Europeans introduced new technologies, plants, animals, and diseases, setting in motion a process of population loss and cultural change that would continue for centuries. The United States government forced Indians to leave their ancient homelands and attempted—during the nineteenth century—to eradicate Indian traditions altogether. Indian communities persevered and today continue to celebrate their rich cultural heritage. This heritage is an important part of Arkansas history. First Encounters The first encounters between Europeans and Indians living in what is now Arkansas took place in 1541, when Hernando de …