The stereotypical image of an indigenous person of North America–an Indian, is still deeply rooted among the Slovenes. However, the reality is far more complex and interesting than the idea that when talking about the so-called Indians we are referring to one single culture. What we are talking about, are different nations that sometimes have more in common with immigrants from Europe as they do among themselves. This variety leads to the question to what extend the culture of individual indigenous communities accepted the cultural elements of European immigrants.
In practice, it is problematic to show this variety due to objective reasons. Therefore, the main working method of the thesis is a case study. The subject of the study was the Mattaponi tribe from Virginia, chosen because of their history. The ancestors of today’s Mattaponi tribe are one of the first North American native inhabitants that made contact with European immigrants more than 400 years ago. It is a small tribe, and there are not many historical records about them; however, a 400-year long period is long enough to observe the changes in the culture of the tribe and its adaptations to the immigrant community.
The main source of information on the Mattaponi tribe is publications and essays, published on the Internet. By analysing the written sources collected on the Internet it was possible to compose the history of the tribe and recognize the changes in the cultural patterns, which enabled the confirmation of the basic hypothesis; the case study showed that adopting foreign cultural patterns enabled the Mattaponi tribe to maintain their own identity up until now despite big demographic and cultural endangerment.
The presented case study casts a new light on the relationship between the indigenous people of North America and the descendants of European immigrants in the United States of America and tries to end the black and white stereotypes still popular in the Slovenian society.