Muckle Chapter 5 - Overview of Traditional Lifeways
Subsistence, Strategies And Diet
- foraging and horticulture evident before arrival of Europeans
- over 1500 species of plants used in the diet of First Nations people of NA
- people of the Arctic were generalized foragers, focused on marine resources
- some terrestrial animals for people of Arctic - bears, caribou, moose etc.; few plants
- Subarctic groups - less marine resources - more land resources from boreal forest
- many groups created pemmican - a mixture of fat, meat, and berries that lasts months
- groups of Northwest coast - complex foragers, focused on salmon, dried them out and
had food supply for winter months
- Plateau also focused on salmon, but did not have access to sea creatures but incorpo-
rated many other plants and animals
- Plains groups show both foraging and horticulture - bison and buffalo hunters by foot.
- Horses not incorporated until late 1500's from Spanish
- Like the subarctic, people of plains preserved food through pemmican
- Great Basin peoples were foragers with horticulture in some groups. Key resource was
wild pinyon nut. Excellent source of Nutrition, easily store and can be turned into flour.
- relied on plants, animals, insects, fish, bison, elk etc.
- California groups were primary foraging; exploiting resources in diverse areas. Many
had acorn as key resource - good nutrition, used in a variety of ways. Fish - important
and sea mammal hunting
- Northeast groups - diverse strategies. Some groups maintained generalized foraging
adaptation, hunting sea mammals and gathering plants. Most groups had combinations
of foraging and horticulture: corn and beans. Wild animals used, fish also important.
Buffalo hunted where applicable.
- Southeast = horticulture. Corn, beans and squash harvested. Plants and animals in-
cluded fruits and smaller mammals.
- Southwest had some groups horticulture and some groups foraging. - indigenous people did not incorporate domestic animals into their diet. Domestic dog
may have came with the first migrates to this continent over 14, 000 years ago.
Name Principle Strategies Key Resources
Arctic Generalized Foraging Sea Mammals
Subarctic Generalized Foraging Large Game Mammals
Northwest Coast Specialized Foraging Salmon
Plateau Specialized Foraging Salmon
Great Basin Generalized Foraging Pinyon Nuts
California Generalized and Specialized Foraging Acorns
Plains Foraging and Horticulture buffalo
Southwest Horticulture and Generalized Foraging corn, beans, squash
Northeast Horticulture and Generalized Foraging corns, beans
Southeast Horticulture and Generalized Foraging corns, beans, squash
Settlement Patterns and Housing
- generalized foragers - high mobility
- specialized foragers - semi sedentary
- horticulture - sedentary
- generalized foragers maintained a traditional territory, neighbouring groups sometimes
shared areas for hunting etc. Sometimes groups hunted cooperatively or socialized.
- specialized foragers gathered and harvested enough of a particular food to last winter
months, not a lot of need to migrate.
- horticulture creates sedentism. Farming required permanent settlements. Lots of
- the effort put into building a structure reflected how long the people planned on staying
- housing often reflected climate
- many NA groups created pithouses- dugouts with a log framework covered with earth.
Name Typical Settlement Pattern Typical Housing
Arctic mobile igloos, skin tents, pit houses
Subarctic mobile pole frames with skin/vegetation Plateau semi-sedentary winter pithouse villages
Northwest Coast semi-sedentary winter plankhouse villages
Plains mobile tipis
Great Basin mobile wikiups
California mobile, semi-sedentary mostly pole frames covered w vegetation
Southwest semi sedentary, sedentary pueblos, hogans, wikiups
Northeast semi sedentary, sedentary