Native peoples of North America Culture and life Cultural Regions Often people living in the same area share some ways of life. Such an area is called a cultural region. People living in a place with cold weather, for example, wear heavy clothing. Many people living in a place with rich soil farm the land. Yet in North America, there were great differences even among the people of the same cultural region. Think about these differences as you read about each cultural region. Cultural Regions
Cultural Regions of North America Cultural Regions Arctic and Subarctic Inuit living in the arctic region are the direct descendants of a prehistoric hunting society that spread across Canada from Alaska and centered on capturing massive bowhead whales. This culture, called Thule by archaeologists, quickly adapted to the harsh conditions found in the arctic. Not only were whales, seals, fish and caribou
abundant, but also large forests were found in coastal areas. Wood was a rare resource in remote arctic areas and needed for making tools, boat frames and numerous other articles, as well as used as fuel for cooking. Arctic/Subarctic Peoples People hunted game in all seasons of the year for food and material to craft articles needed for everyday life. They travelled in one person kayaks and larger
umiaks framed with wood and covered by seal skins; wore clothing made from the pelts of seals in summer and caribou in winter; lived in skin tents during mild seasons; and settled during winter either in earthen huts banked by sods with a roof supported by whale ribs and shoulder blades, or in snow houses called igloos, ingeniously shaped from blocks of hard snow. In their permanent winter villages some of the groups had totem poles which were elaborately carved and covered with symbolic animal
decoration. They also made ceremonial items, such as rattles and masks; weaving; and basketry. Their society included chiefs, nobles, commoners, and slaves. They had woven robes, furs, and basket hats as well as wooden armor and helmets for battle. Potlatches were social occasions given by a host to establish or uphold his status position in society. Often they were held to mark a significant event in his family, such as the birth of a child, a daughter's coming of age, or a son's marriage. Northwest Coast Northwest
The Northwest Coast area extended along the Pacific coast from S Alaska to N California. Thickly wooded, with a temperate climate and heavy rainfall, the area had long supported a large Native American population. Food sources are salmon, supplemented by sea mammals (seals and sea lions) and land mammals (deer, elk, and bears) as well as berries and other wild fruit. They used wood to build
their houses and had cedar-planked canoes and carved dugouts. Northwest Coast The Northwest Coast Indian Culture was in what is today the states of Washington, Oregon, and northern California. Many small tribes such as the the Makah and the Chinook lived in this cultural area. The tribes in this culture were much smaller than the other cultures. Northwest Coast Northwest Coast: Environment, Food, and Shelter
Indians of the Northwest Coast lived between the ocean and rugged mountain ranges. The growing season was short, and the climate was too wet for much agriculture. There were plenty of fish, especially salmon. There were also deer and bears. There was wood to build houses and to make tools. If tribes could not get something by themselves, they could trade. People traveled by water.
Northwest Coast Indians traveled in dugouts, or boats made from large, hollowed out logs. Outside each house stood a wooden pole called a totem pole. Each totem pole was beautifully carved with shapes of people and animals. The carvings showed each familys history and importance. Northwest Coast Tribes of the Northwest Coast: Chinooks and Makahs Chinook Best known traders Lived near the coast Chinook villages made of rows of long, wooded houses. Houses were built of boards and had no windows.
The Chinooks built each house partly over a hole dug in the earth so that some of the rooms were underground. Such a house is called a pit house. Several families belonging to the same clan lived in each house. A clan is a group of families related to one another. The Chinooks developed a language for trading. This trading language made it easier for different peoples to talk to each other and to barter, or exchange goods. To show off the the things they owned, the Chinooks and other tribes who lived along the coast held potlatches. These were special gatherings with feasting, and dancing. During a potlatch, the hosts gave away valuable gifts as a sign of their wealth. Northwest Coast Tribes of the Northwest Coast: Chinooks and Makahs Makahs Whales were plentiful along the Northwest Coast.
The Makahs built canoes to hunt the whales at sea. Makahs made wooden harpoons-long spears with sharp shell points-for whale hunting. The Makah hunted whales in a canoe. This was very dangerous because the whale might turn and cause the canoe to tip over or break the canoe in half. The harpooner stood in the front of the canoe. He always talked to the whale. He promised the whale that if it let itself be killed, it would be rewarded in the village with singing and dancing. After the harpooner had promised the whale these things, he raised his harpoon and threw it into the side of the whale. There was a rope tied to the end of the harpoon. All the men held on tightly. Eventually the whale would tire and stop fighting. Then it was harpooned until it died. Every part of the whale was used. The skin and meat were eaten, the blubber , or fat, was used for oil, and the tendons were used to make rope. The Makah kept their promise. When the whale was brought to the village there was much celebrating! Northwest Coast California Californian Native
Americans The California Indians were hunters and gatherers. They gathered nuts, seeds, berries, roots, bulbs, and tubers. Deer, rabbits, and game birds provided meat for these Indians. Fish and acorns also provided food the these Indians. All of the California Indians were basket makers, but no tribe was as accomplished in this as the Pomos. They made baskets as large as 3 feet wide and as small as a thimble. Some of their baskets were covered with
shells, others with feathers. They not only wove baskets, but hats, trays, cooking pots, boats, and baby carriers. Southwest Southwest The climate of the Southwest is very dry or arid. Much of the land in the southwest is desert. The Southwest has fierce heat during the day and sharp cold at night. The Southwest has very few animals because of the desert. Southwest Anasazi men went to a special
room for religious ceremonies. This special room was called a kiva. (keeva) A kiva was a round room built underground at the base of the homes. Only men were allowed into the kiva. To get in and out the men had to go by ladder through the roof. Kachinas were Hopi spirits or gods which lived within the mountains. Hopi dancers would dress like Kachinas to represent, or stand for, the gods. Wooden Kachina dolls were made to teach the children about the gods. Hopi Kachinas talked to the gods by singing and dancing. The Kachinas danced and sang for rain.
Southwest Traditions Like the Anasazi, the Hopi grew corn, beans, and squash. But the Hopi Indians depended on the rain to make their crops grow. If their plants did not grow, the Hopi might starve. The Hopi also planted cotton and tamed wild turkeys. Hopi women also made beuatiful baskets, clay bowls, and jewelry. The men
hunted, farmed, and wove cloth for blankets, clothing and belts. Hopis Hopi means Peaceful One The Hopis lived in Pueblos-adobe houses of many rooms next to or on top of one another. To enter the house, people climbed
ladders. All the people living in a pueblo became known as pueblo people. The early Hopis lived in present day Arizona. Most of their villages were built on top of mesas. Water was not in abundance. The Hopis used springs from under the ground and from rain showers to water their crops.
While men worked in the fields, women ground corm into flour, using flat, smooth stones. Kachinas, or spirits, are an important part of the Hopi religion. Kachina dancers are Hopi men wearing painted masked and dressed to look like the kachinas. Southwest Kachinas Kachinas were a very important part of the Hopi religion. These spirits were called on to bring rain, make crops grow, heal the sick, or find animals to hunt. The Hopiss made Kachina figures representing the spirits and used them to teach children about tribal religious beliefs. The figures were carved from the wood of cottonwood trees and decorated with paint, cloth, and feathers.
Southwest Great Basin Because these Indians lived in a desert-like environment, food was hard to find. This meant they had to constantly move in order to find food. Because of this, their homes were temporary structures. Willow branches were leaned together with bundles of twigs, branches, and reeds to cover them.
The Apache and the Navajo came from the Far North to settle the Plains and Southwest around A.D. 850. The Navajo share the Athabscan language with the Apache. The Apache lived near Pueblo tribes, which they raided for food, and livestock. They dressed in animal skins, used dogs as pack animals, and pitched tentlike dwellings made of brush or hide, called wikiups. The Navajo copied corn- and bean-growing practices from the Anasazi and raised sheep while some kept the nomadic
lifestyle of their ancestors and the Apache and pursued the buffalo and other animals. Navajo and Apache Navajos The Navajos settled in the area of the Southwest known as the Four Corners. The Four Corners is where the four states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet. The early Navajos were nomads. They often attacked the Hopis and stole their baskets, weaving looms, pottery, blankets and farm tools.
The Navajos lived in houses called hogans. A hogan was a cone shaped frame covered with mud or grass. Navajos built their hogans in small, family size groups, miles apart from one another. The Navajos believed in gods they called them Holy People. The Navajos believed they needed to praise the Holy People or the gods would use their powers against them. Navaho ceremonies were led by a religious leader and healer called a shaman. Shamans made beautiful sand paintings that were believed to hold healing powers. Southwest Plateau Their acorn bread, made by pounding acorns into meal and then leaching it with hot water, was distinctive, and
they cooked in baskets filled with water and heated by hot stones. Living in brush shelters or more substantial lean-tos, they had partly buried earth lodges for ceremonies and ritual sweat baths. Basketry, coiled and twined, was highly developed. They underwent a great cultural change when they obtained from the Plains Indians the horse, the tepee, a form of the sun dance, and deerskin clothes. They continued, however, to fish for salmon with nets and spears and to gather camas bulbs.
Plateau Plains Great Plains Indians known as The Plains lived in the Great Plains. Buffalo was the most important natural resource of the Plains Indians. Indians of the Great Plains lived in tepees. The Plains Indians were hunters. Buffalo provided these Indians with their basic needs, food, clothing, and shelter. Great Plains The Great Plains This culture group of
Indians is well-known for the importance of the buffalo, their religious ceremonies, and the use of the tepee. Four important tribes in this culture include the Dakota, Cheyenne, Sioux, and Comanche. The buffalo was the most important natural resource of the Plains Indians. The Plains Indians were hunters. They hunted many kinds of animals, but it was the buffalo which provided them with all of their basic needs: food, clothing, and shelter.
The horse, first introduced by the Spanish of the Southwest, appeared in the Plains about the beginning of the 18th cent. and revolutionized the life of the Plains Indians. Many Native Americans left their villages and joined the nomads. Mounted and armed with bow and arrow, they ranged the grasslands hunting buffalo. The Mandans
The Mandans lived in forests along the Missouri River in the western land known as North Dakota. The Mandans were hunters of the buffalo and farmers. The Mandans did not live in the Great Plains but visited the Great Plains to hunt the buffalo. The Mandans lived in circular
houses called a lodge. Each lodge was built over a shallow pit and covered with sod. Several families lived in one lodge. Sometimes as many as 60 people with their dog lived in one lodge. In the center of the lodge was a fireplace under a hole in the roof. The hole let smoke out from the fire. Twice a year, the Mandans left their villages and took part in the
buffalo hunt. They had to walk several days to reach the Great Plains. The Mandans hunted in a group and wore animal skin disguises. The Mandans dried most of the buffalo meat into jerky. The Mandnas used every part of the buffalo. Clothing, blankets, and moccasins were made from the buffalo skin. The buffalo hair was twisted into cord. The bones were used to make arrowheads, tools, and needles. Buffalo horns were used to make bows.
Great Plains The Kiowas The Kiowas were nomads and moved about the Great Plains. They were one of the poorest of the Native peoples. They could not farm because the roots of the grass made it too difficult to break the ground with a digging stick. The Kiowas were dependent on the buffalo for their way of life. Their houses, clothing, food, blankets, bedding, and fuel came from the buffalo. For fuel they used dried buffalo droppings called chips.
Kiowas built teepees. These were easy to move. The Kiowas built a cone shaped tent. They used wooden poles that were fastened in a circle and covered with buffalo skin. To move their belongings, the Kiowas built a carrier called a travois. A travois was made from two tepee poles that were fastened to a harness on a dog or horse. Goods were carried on the
skin between the two poles. Kiowas used sign language to communicate. Great Plains Eastern Woodlands Eastern Woodlands The Indians in the Eastern Woodlands lived east of the Plains. These Indians, like the others depended on the natural resources around them for all of their basic needs. Because these Indians lived in the forests, they were called the Eastern Woodland Indians. Eastern Woodlands
Their food, shelter, clothing, weapons, and tools came from the forests around them. They lived in villages near a lake or stream. The Woodland Indians lived in wigwams and longhouses. The Iroquois, Cherokee, and Mound Builders were important Woodland tribes. The Iroquois Indians were actually a "nation" of Indians made up of 5 tribes. These tribes were the Senecas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks. These tribes were hostile, or war-like, to each other until they joined
together to become the "League of the Five Nations". Eastern Woodlands Leaders of each Iroquois Nation also came together to discuss matters that were important to all of them, such as peace, trade, or war. These council leaders ( always men, but chosen by the women) were called sachems. The Iroquois had a total of 50 sachems. All sachems had to agree on a solution before any decision was made.
The Iroquois The Iroquois were not one tribe, but a group of five tribes that lived near each other and spoke similar languages. The five Iroquois were the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk. The Iroquois tribes fought with each other and their neighbors, the Algonquin. In the beginning they fought over land. Then later, the Iroquois fought for
revenge. In 1570, the five tribes formed the Iroquois league. This league was formed because the Indians were tired of fighting and wanted to work together. Each tribe made their own laws, except for matters that were important to all the tribes, like trading. The Iroquois lived in longhouses. Longhouses were wooden framed houses with many families living together. The Iroquois often used
legends, or stories handed down over time, to explain the past. Eastern Woodlands Southeastern The Cherokees The Cherokees lived in the river valleys of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Cherokees were farmers and hunters. They grew corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, and tobacco. They hunted squirrel, rabbit,
turkey, bear, and deer. Cherokee families had two houses covered with earth. Their summer house was a larger, box shaped house covered with grass or clay walls, and bark roofs. The Cherokees built villages of 300 or 400 houses clustered together. At the center of each village was an open square with a temple built on a flat topped mound.
Each Cherokee Village had its own Chief. But the villages belonged to larger Cherokee Confederation. Several families of the same clans shared the same house. Eastern Woodlands
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