Native Societies in NorthAmerica
(Week 3, September 24 , 2013)
NativeAmericans Prior to European Invasion:
Eastern Woodland Peoples.
Great Plains Tribes.
South Western Tribes.
Far Western Tribes.
Diversity of NorthAmerican indigenous peoples.
Civilizations in NorthAmerica were small, civilizations in SouthAmerica were much larger.
How did native people get here?
Great ice age (30,000-12,000 B.C.E.) ocean levels dropped exposing land betweenAsia and NorthAmerica.
Hunting and gathering societies follow game animals down and ice-free corridor along the eastern side of the
Population disperses in all directions, eventually reaching tip of SouthAmerica.
8,000 B.C.E. glaciers retreat and ocean levels rise submerging bearing land bridge.
Native societies develop isolated from the rest of the world for over 10,000 years.
FromAsia, through Rockies to warmer climates following game.
Over thousands of years people had migrated all around NorthAmerica.
Siberian land bridge.
Glaciation as far South as the Great Lakes.
Went all the way to South America.
Western hemisphere covered in indigenous.
10,000 years native people are isolated.
Developed their own culture/way of life.
Exchange of ideas.
Didn’t have the ability to “discover” Europe.
Inability to fight European diseases (90-95% death rate).
Tribes appoint youths with good memory skills to act as historians by observing culture and council talks and
mentally recording them.
All creation stories assert that tribes are indigenous to North and SouthAmerica.
All tribes see life emanating from the earth (how can you see Mother Earth).
Creation stories all feature animal creatures (respect for brothers means tribal hunting rituals and prayer).
All natural things have a spirit (sun, moon, rain and thunder), therefore ceremonial offerings may appease these
Creation of North America by a turtle.
All tribes have different creation stories.
Mother Nature opened up and gave people and buffalo.
Looked at land as spiritual being versus property or economical value.
Hunting being is symbolic versus game.
Everything has spirits (rain, sun, snow, plants, and animals versus God).
Science versus creation.
Development of Agriculture: 5,000 B.C.E. maize becomes staples crop of most indigenous agricultural societies.
Conscience manipulation of nature.
By 3,000 B.C.E., maize is grown alongside beans and squash to form nutritious balanced diet (better than European
reliance on wheat, oats and barley).
New agricultural advances (irrigation, crop rotation, animal fertilizers).
Leads to increase in population and more efficient farming.
Greater efficiency allows population economic diversity (not everyone has to farm now).
Leads to growth of cities and possibility of conspicuous consumption.
Horticulture, use of land, taking what is naturally grown versus agriculture, planting and harvesting.
The three sisters are squash, corn and beans.
European diet is based on barley(beer), wheat and oats(bread), and potatoes(carb based diet) versus indigenous
which was based on meat, fruit, vegetables, and nuts(protein, hunting and gathering).
Agricultural societies produce surpluses of crops which allow people of the community to do something else(army,
politics and religion).
Creation of classes of people within cities.
Area east of the Mississippi river inhabited by agricultural societies known as Mississippian cultures.
Societies grew beans, corn and squash and complimented these with hunting and gathering of fruits and berries.
Successful agricultural surpluses led to rise of cities (largest was Cahokia which had a population of 50,000 people
around 750 C.E.).
Society became more stratified and wealthy classes expropriated labour of poor to construct massive earthern
works to honour Gods.
Tribute, to turn over a part of their agriculture.
Served as a major trading centre with Gods collected from outlying agricultural fields exchanged for manufactured
Gods made in the city.
Goods were traded as far south as central valley Mexico.
By 1,250 C.E., was declined as prolonged drought caused famine and without food elaborate social stratification
was no longer possible.
Can’t make payment to tribute, society falls apart.
People dispersed into smaller societies.
In North America, the period of social stratification was over by European conta