The history of technology has been embellished by many Native American scientists and inventors over the years. This has been as true in the past as remains today. From the farthest reaches of outer space to the most microscopic frontiers of medical science, Native Americans continue to pioneer the way in pure research and applied technology.
A vast number of everyday inventions originated with the Native Americans, though few remember or wonder who invented things like the hammock or maple syrup. Nor has their creativity and perception been confined to the past. There are many famous modern Native American scientists and inventors, from chemists to inventors to astronauts. Their contributions to modern science have come from a wide variety of tribes and people.
Here are some of the most amazing and innovative basic technologies that were developed on the American continent before the Columbian contact.
- Compulsory education
- Gold plating
- Rubber balloons
- Toy tops
- Chewing gum
- and many more.
Nearly all these things are such an integral part of our everyday life that we cannot imagine a world without them, but they were all created by Native Americans. In addition they devised the foundations of modern agriculture and thereby transformed the eating processes of the entire world. Food crops such as potatoes, squash, and corn are not the result of random mutation, but of generations of careful study and cultivation by Native American tribes.
Native American scientists and inventors did not stop with the advent of Europeans on the continent, though the situation badly disrupted their life and stalled the growth of their society for some time. Today there are many prominent scientists and creators of modern marvels who trace their ancestry back to the indigenous people of the Americas. Famous inventor Thomas David Petite, originator of the ad hoc wireless network, is descended from a Chippewa tribe near Fond du Lac. John Harrington, an astronaut and aviator, became the first fully enrolled member of a Native American tribe to travel into outer space. He carried the flag of the Chickasaw Nation with him on his eleven-day mission to outer space. Prominent teachers and researchers such as Erik Sorensen, synthetic chemist and professor at Princeton University, illustrate the continuing contributions that Native Americans make to science and the frontier of human knowledge.