American Indian Contributions to the World

15,000 Years of Invention and Innovation

aicttwcovAmerican Indians of North, Meso-, and South America were the first to cultivate seventy-five percent of the many varities of food grown in the world today. Many pharmaceuticals in current use were first discovered by Indian healers centuries before the Europeans came to the Americas.


Freeze-dried food, syringes, rootbeer, rubberized clothing, beef jerky, and many of the tenets of the United States Constitution are only a few of the independent inventions and original discoveries that American Indian people gave to the world.

The Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World is the first A to Z reference book that extensively details and documents the inventiveness of American Indians. The book:

  • contains over 450 separate entries ranging from abacus to zoos.
  • covers the contributions of North, Meso-, and South American Indians.
  • mentions over 180 different tribes and linguistic groups.
  • is extensively cross referenced.
  • includes 72 historical photographs and illustrations.
  • features 20 maps.
  • is written in a lively and easy-to-read style.
  • is co-authored by an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Read the Reviews

“This is a well-written book with fascinating information and wonderful pictures. It should be in every public, school, and academic library for its depth of research and amazing wealth of knowledge.…We’ve starred this title because it is eye-opening and thought-provoking, and there is nothing else quite like it.”

Booklist Starred Review


“I would strongly urge anyone with a kernel of intellectual curiosity: teacher, administrator, researcher, lawyer, politician, writer, to buy this book. I guarantee it will enlighten, stimulate and entertain.

“Native students and indigenous instructors must obtain their own copies of the Encyclopedia. Whether Cree, Mayan or Penobscot they will find a deep source of pride on each and every page. I can well imagine the excitement of Native teachers when they obtain the book followed by an eagerness to share its contents with everyone within reach.

“I hope the Encyclopedia will serve as the basis for an entirely new approach to Native history, one in which the scholar is liberated from the anti-Indian texts of the recent past.Ideally, a copy of the Encyclopedia should be in every class in every school across the hemisphere.” Read the complete review.

Akwesasne Notes-Indian Time–Doug George-Kanentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk, co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association and the Akwesasne Communications Society.


“Highly recommended for academic libraries keeping collections about American Indians.”

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

“…a treasure trove of information about the large range of technologies and productions of Indian peoples…this is indeed the most comprehensive compilation of American Indian inventions and contributions to date. It is most worthwhile and should be on the bookshelves of every library and home in America.”

Indian Country Today

“This large, well-illustrated volume is an excellent reference…One of the important strengths of the encyclopedia is that the information provided is balanced and rooted in facts, not speculation…Highly recommended.”

Multicultural Review

“Far from the stereotypical idea that Native Americans were uncultured and simple, possessing only uncomplicated inventions such as bows and arrows or canoes, these varied cultures donated a rich assortment of ideas and items to the world…This book can be recommended to libraries that support an interdisciplinary approach to student learning, such as units that integrate biology and culture studies projects.”

VOYA:Voice of Youth Advocates

“We bought one for each center. It is a GREAT resource.”

Ann Rutherford, Director Learning Resources Center, Oglala Lakota College

“As I travel to conferences and host presentations, I take your book as a reference and to show individuals. It allows science, engineering and math students to gain insight into the traditional knowledge held about these and related subjects. I believe it empowers them to know this knowledge is already within. To balance contemporary knowledge within that context creates a student who can experience a topic from a number of perspectives.”

Jacqueline Bolman, Director, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Scientific Knowledge for Indian Learning and Leadership (SKILL)/NASA Honors Program

“…the three page introduction alone makes this book a vaulable resource as it sets forth the circumstances which led the invaders to change their initial writings of wonder at the advanced native societies…I hope a way can be found to put this book in the hands of our youth and all who touch them.”