Native Americans or Indians were the first people to live in the New World. They had been living there long before the first Europeans arrived.
In 1492, Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to find a shorter and faster route to India. When he landed on an island near the American coast he thought he had reached India, so he called the people he met there Indians.
Many historians think that the first Indians came to the American continent from Asia over 20,000 years ago. At that time it was very cold and ice covered most of the northern part of our world. Indian tribes wandered across the Bering Strait and spread down to the southern part of South America.
Indians lived in different ways and had different cultures that depended on the climate and their surroundings.