Native Americans in North America
The first people to come to North America crossed a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska (called Beringia) 15,000-60,000 years ago in search of large game: bison, mammoths, giant ground sloths.
They reached South America about 11,000 years ago.
Believed that sacred spirits could be found in living and inanimate things - animals, plants, trees, water and wind.
Believed shamans and medicine men could invoke supernatural powers.
Most believed that a single Creator stood atop the spiritual hierarchy
None of the North American Indians had writing or literacy
Village elders assigned plots of land to individual families to use for a season or so - but didn't "own" the land.
Tribes claimed specific areas for hunting.
Unclaimed land was free for anyone to use
Land was seen as a common resource, not a commodity
Villages moved when soil or game depleated
Generosity and gift-giving was a valued social quality
Women could divorce husbands easily
Most tribes were matrilineal (children became members of the woman's family, not the father's), husband moved in with wife's family.
Indian women owned dwellings and tools
Men generally hunted and fished, women engaged in agriculture and took care of the homes
Native Americans spoke appox. 296 languages from more than 20 language groups
Athabaskan (Northwest and Southwest)
Siouan (Great Plains)
Anasazi ("Ancient Ones")
Believed to be ancestors of Pueblo Indians
Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona
Known as "Basketmakers"
Built five-story pueblos, cliff dwellings, roads and canals to irrigate their crops
Declined because of a drought in the 13th century
Known as "Pueblo Indians" because they lived in small villages called pueblos when Spanish encountered them in the 16th century.
Pacific Coast Indians
100s of distinct groups who lived in independent villages
Lived primarily by fishing, hunting sea mammals and gathering wild plants and nuts
Followed bison herds across American plains
Lifestyle changed when horses were introduced by Spaniards
Moved away from farming to hunting when horses introduced.
Gradually migrate southward from Canada to Texas
Ruler known as the "Great Sun"
Organized into class-based society (nobles, chiefs, peasants) and confederacies
Warlike: practiced human sacrifice (like Aztecs)
EASTERN WOODLAND INDIANS
Lived in self-governing kinship clans headed by elders
Most did not live in permanent settlements but moved seasonally
Lived in wigwams or longhouses
Men hunted and fished, women involved in agriculture or gathered
Lived on corn, squash, beans supplemented by fishing, hunting deer, turkeys and other animals.
Tribes frequently warred with one another to obtain goods, take captives.
But also were diplomatic and made peace
Some women (Iroquois) were clan leaders, land passed from mothers to daughters (matrilineal)
Eastern woodland tribes:
Southeast: Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw (united into dozens of towns in loose alliance
Northeast: Iroquois, Mound Builders, Algonquian (including Shawnee)
Adena-Hopewell of the Ohio River valley
Built mounds 300 feet long
Near present-day St. Louis
Fortified community with 10,000 to 30,000 inhabitants in 1200.
Largest settled community in present-day U.S.
Descendants of Adena-Hopewell who moved to Mohawk Valley, New York
Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk
Joined together into a confederacy
Multiple families lived in longhouses up to 200 feet long.