I’m no scholar on architecture or the original Americans, so I don’t know how much merit it has, but I thought this post from Beyond DC was fun and interesting:
As an older, walkable city with a baroque street grid and no skyscrapers, Washington is sometimes thought of as one of the more European-like cities in America. That may be true, but I think our city can lay claim to an even more interesting title: The most distinctly Native American city in the country.
Obviously Washington is not Santa Fe. There is not a strong Native American cultural influence here. Physically however, Washington bears a strong resemblance to most of the large native cities that populated this continent before the arrival of Columbus.
The key similarity is the National Mall. Archaeologists have discovered that every large native city of any importance had an over-sized ceremonial center populated by palaces, government offices, historic monuments, ball courts, and religious pyramids. The National Mall may not have the religious importance that native centers had, but the basic idea was the same. They are all the ceremonial heart of the city and state.