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Chapter 1: Native Peoples of America to 1500

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1 Chapter 1: Native Peoples of America to 1500

2 Focus Origin and migration of Native American people
Similarities and differences between Native Am. Cultures Economic basis of various civilizations Religious and cultural beliefs, esp. concepts of land The state of things prior to European arrival

3 Peopling New Worlds 33,000-10,500 BC: Last Ice Age
Small widely scattered groups (small bands) that interacted through trade/travel. Few large possessions or permanent villages. Theory 1 Siberian hunters following game Theory 2 Arrived before 10,500 BC by boat with patterned stops down the coast Most agree it was multiple migrations



6 Three Migrations Most Native Americans are descendents of the 1st earliest migrations Athapaskan – 7000 BC and settled in Alaska and NW Canada. Later migrate and become the Apache and Navajos After 3000 BC Inuits and Aleuts


8 Connection to Oral Traditions
Pueblos/Navajos arrival by way of a perilous journey through other worlds Iroquois Pregnant woman who fell from the sky world

9 These earliest Indians are referred to as Paleo-Indians
Hunters and gatherers living in small bands of individuals (several families)

10 Traveled well defined hunting territories
Basic tool was the spear with a flint point Arch. sites near perennial springs, watering holes, and river crossings Left hunting grounds for quarries and encountered other bands Creating a Broad Cultural Life

11 This “Free Land” and skilled hunters creates an abundant diet and then a growth in population



14 Around 9000 BC Megafauna becomes extinct
2/3 of the species over 100 lbs. at maturity Probably due to a warming climate and overkill This decline brings a change in humans


16 Archaic Societies Warming climate until 4000 BC
Sea levels rise, flooding low lying coastal areas, glacial runoff fills waterways Deciduous forests and grassy plains A range of Flora and Fauna emerges

17 Archaic peoples live off of a wider/broader variety of smaller mammals, fish, plants (creation of the atlatl spear) Communities require less land and can support larger populations (yr. round villages) Up to 10X as many people N. American pop. Increase to 1 million



20 By 5000 BC farmers were planting selected seeds for future farming
Modification of the environment: setting fires, weeding out inedible plants = the verge of horticulture 3000 BC – Maize in C. America (2500 BC in N. Mexico and squash/gourds in MO and KY However, for over 1000 yrs. after farming, the diet is still meat, fish, wild plants

21 Next Big Change Diversity
Farming takes over the majority of diet around 2000 BC Officially a Horticultural society by BC with three great crops: Maize, Squash, and Beans What’s the Impact?


23 Altered environments Increased population More sedentary life Yet trade networks Specialization Political systems Hierarchical society Negative: diet may not be as diverse, potential catastrophe, spread of disease

24 Mesoamerica and South America
: selective breeding of corn and beans (lysine) After 2000 crop surpluses expand contacts through formal exchange networks 1200: Olmecs had urban centers, hereditary rulers, unequal society

25 American Southwest Full time farming not until 400 BC (water has always been an issue) Hohokam in southern Arizona Farmed the Gila and Salt rivers Built irrigation Permanent towns (pueblos) Confederacies with central city coordination Constant ritual exertion to maintain balance (existential anxiety)

26 Anasazi (Navajo for “ancient ones”)
Four Corners during the 1st century BC Apartments with kivas Height of culture: during an unusually wet period Chaco Canyon 12 towns with 15,000 people (satellite towns 65 miles away) Connection to Central America Used Mesas to capture rainfall






32 Downfall of these cultures
Drought, malnutrition, and feuds Defensive pueblos Skeletal remains depict violent deaths, even cannibalism

33 Eastern Woodlands With rain and forest, populations predate farming
Mound Builders: Poverty Point in Mississippi and Adena in the Ohio Valley Rarely exceeded 400 people Most mounds contained graves Hopewell Mounds from the Ohio Valley to the Illinois River






39 1st full time farmers was the Mississippian Culture
Around 700 AD Extensive craft production and trade Plazas, sun worship, death of chief ceremony Best example is Cahokia (St. Louis) after 900 AD

40 Cahokia 20,000 people; 6 square miles; 120 earth mounds
125 square metro area with 10 large towns and 50 farming villages


42 Northwest coastal villages

43 Plains Indians

44 By 1500 Western Hemisphere had 75 million people
7-10 million north of Mesoamerica Unevenly distributed Hundreds of languages Hundreds of nations



47 Broad common culture Bound by kinship Animism
Nuclear families never stood alone Iroquois- extended families of the women took precedence over those of men; primary male figure was mother’s oldest brother Animism Supernatural was a complex and diverse web of power woven into every part of the world; spiritual and material Restraint out of fear or concern

48 Social values Consensus Shaming children Custom-regulated life Reciprocity but not equality

49 The End Europeans The Tech Organizational capacity Imperial rivals
Conducive religious ideologies Domesticated animals System of long-distance communication Shared microbes

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