This unifying concept, codified in law, religion, and politics, was not originally accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced by many over the last two centuries.
Even though the term "Indian" generally does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit, or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before, and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas".
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The implication is that there was an early divergence between North American indigenous peoples and those of Central and South America.
Ruled out were hypotheses which posit that invasions subsequent to the Clovis culture overwhelmed or assimilated previous migrants into the Americas.
At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas.
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The Portuguese and Spanish equivalents to Indian, nevertheless, could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person, particularly to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, Alaska was a glacial refugium because it had low snowfall, allowing a small population to exist.
The Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of North America, blocking nomadic inhabitants and confining them to Alaska (East Beringia) for thousands of years.
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