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The Earliest Americans

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1 The Earliest Americans
The World Before the Opening of the Atlantic

2 Creation Myths (Stuckey et al 3)
According to some northwestern Native American tribes, when the world was young there were only “the trees, the moon, the sun, water, and a few animals.” In this emptiness, the lonely Raven walked along the beach and wished for companions. To Raven’s surprise, a clam emerged from the sand and released a crowd of tiny people. Raven “sang a beautiful song of great joy,” say the northwestern storytellers, for “he had brought the first people to the world.” (Stuckey et al 3)

3 I. The First Migration to America
Crossing to the Americas 1. during the last Ice Age 2. Beringia: a land bridge between Asia and Alaska 3. Paleo-Indians: crossed between 50,000 and 10,000 B.C. 4. hunter-gatherers who made finely crafted stone tools

4 I. The First Migration to America
Adapting to a New Climate 1. hunter-gatherer societies: first hunted large animals until they became extinct; then hunted smaller mammals and birds as well as gathered edible plants; fishing also 2. agrarian societies: developed first in Mesoamerica; domesticated wild plants and animals


6 II. Early Mesoamerican Civilizations
the Olmec the Maya the Toltec the Aztec the Inca

7 III. Early North American Societies
The Far North 1. The Arctic (very northern Alaska and Canada): fishing and hunting societies; the Inuit and the Aleut 2. The Subarctic (the remainder of Alaska and Canada): semi- nomadic hunter- gatherers; the Algonquian

8 III. Early North American Societies
The Pacific Coast 1. The Northwest Coast (southern Alaska to northern California): fishing, hunting, gathering, trading; made huge red cedar dugouts; built wooden houses; made totems; held potlatches; The Tlingit, Tillamook, Nootka

9 III. Early North American Societies
2. California: hunting, fishing, gathering; lived in family groups or villages; the Pomo, Hupa, Chumash

10 III. Early North American Societies
The West and Southwest 1. The Plateau (Washington and Oregon): dry, treeless plain; hunting, fishing, gathering; lived in permanent villages: the Nez Perce, the Modoc

11 III. Early North American Societies
2. The Great Basin (desert areas of Nevada and Utah): hunted small fowl, reptiles, and mammals; nomadic family groups; the Shoshoni, the Ute

12 III. Early North American Societies
3. The Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico/deserts to evergreen forests): some developed advanced agricultural practices, even irrigation (Pueblo, Pima, Anasazi, Hopi) while others hunted, gathered, and raided (Navajo and Apache); created permanent settlements; dug pit houses, constructed pueblos (built single story or in cliff sides)

13 III. Early North American Societies

14 III. Early North American Societies
The Great Plains (stretches from Canada into Texas from Iowa to the Rocky Mountains; mainly grasslands): 1. hunter-gatherers relied on the large herds of buffalo and other large animals; used every part of the buffalo; the Blackfoot, the Crow, the Teton Sioux, the Cheyenne

15 III. Early North American Societies

16 III. Early North American Societies
2. agrarian groups built large dome- shaped dwellings of wood and grass; the Wichita, Waco 3. matrilineal societies: the Pawnee

17 III. Early North American Societies
The East 1. The Southeast: lived in villages along river valleys; relied on agriculture but also hunted, gathered and fished; matrilineal; village councils; mound builders; the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, Natchez

18 III. Early North American Societies
2. the Northeast (from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes south to Virginia): a. the Algonquin: far north tribes were semi nomadic, relying mainly on hunting and gathering; southern tribes lived in villages of lodges and wigwams; and lived by agriculture, etc.

19 III. Early North American Societies

20 III. Early North American Societies
b. the Iroquois: agrarian; lived in permanent villages of longhouses; women controlled life, including the powerful Iroquois League which waged war or made peace

21 IV. Native Populations Origins 1. no writing
2. learn about natives from archeologists and anthropologists 3. human remains have been carbon dated as far back as 16,000 years 4. oldest site of human activity found in Chile 5. advanced civilizations were in Central and South America 6. North American groups were very diversified 7. population estimates from 14 to 100 million at Columbus’s arrival

22 IV. Native Populations

23 IV. Native Populations Periods 1. Paleo Indians, 10,000 -7,000 B.C.:
a. Not numerous b. in clans c. no pottery d. clothes were animal skins e. food gathering stage

24 IV. Native Populations Periods cont’d
2. Archaic Age, 7,000 to 1,000 B.C. : a. Moved to small animal hunting b. made stone bowls before pottery c. beginning simple pottery at conclusion

25 IV. Native Populations

26 IV. Native Populations Periods cont’d
3. Woodland Age, 1,000 B.C. to 800 A.D. : a. Real pottery b. agriculture c. hunting & fishing were supplemental d. fish gathering (stone pile with hole in center –men would drive fish to the wall and women would catch them with baskets) e. developed art, religion, skills f. burials connected to religion

27 IV. Native Populations Periods cont’d
4. Mississippian Period, 800 to 1500 A.D. : a. built mound complexes b. flat topped mounds usually had temples at the top; high status people may have lived on top as well

28 IV. Native Populations

29 IV. Native Populations c. began using palisades (fences) for protection d. culture probably already in early decline when Europeans arrived e. toward the end, splits began to form in their culture

30 IV. Native Populations

31 V. Early European Explorations
A. The Vikings: a seafaring people from Scandinavia B. Viking explorers: 1. Grimur Kamban: Iceland, 874 2. Erik the Red: Greenland, app 974 3. Leif Erikson: Vinland, app 1000 C. Problems: 1. attacks by Native Americans 2. too far from homeland

32 V. Early European Explorations

33 Works Cited Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey. Vol 1. Boston: McGraw-Hill College, 1999. Stuckey, Sterling, and Linda Kerrigan Salvucci. Call to Freedom: Beginnings to Austin, Texas: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2000.

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