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PALEO-INDIANS. Paleo-Indians. Paleo- means ancient or very old When Columbus landed in 1492, he believed he had reached the East Indies. Consequently, he called the people he found there "Indians", a term still in use today.

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Paleo-Indians

  • Paleo- means ancient or very old

  • When Columbus landed in 1492, he believed he had reached the East Indies. Consequently, he called the people he found there "Indians", a term still in use today.

  • Later, they would be labeled the "red" race. Thus, many millions of humans, in more than 2,000 cultures, came to be lumped together under totally inappropriate racial and ethnic terms.


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What did Paleo-Indians look like?

  • Skin color was probably no darker than that of Columbus’ sailors

  • Hair and Eye Color- both dark (there are no blonde hair, blue-eyed Indians)

  • Their hair was coarse and capable of growing very long

  • They had very little, if any, body hair.


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APPEARANCE- Conclusion

  • ALL THESE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS REFLECT THEIR NORTH ASIAN ANCESTRY

  • Physically, the native Americans encountered by early explorers were more alike than any other continental population


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How many were there and where did they go?

  • Population estimates range from a low of 8.4 million to over 100 million

  • For centuries after European contact, Native American populations suffered rapid decline caused primarily by the introduction of new diseases (smallpox, diptheria, whooping cough, influenza) for which they had no natural immunity.

  • Contact with Europeans may have resulted in 80 MILLION deaths.


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How did they get here?

  • entered North America more than 20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age.

  • They were hunters of Woolly Mammoths, Mastodons and other large game following them across a "land bridge“ (BERINGIA) between Siberia and Alaska.


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Dispersal throughout North and South America

  • Archaeological findings indicate that foragers and hunters were dispersed throughout North America by 17,000 years ago and had reached the southern tip of South America by 12,000 years ago.


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Indian Myths and Legends

  • MOST INDIAN PEOPLES HAVE IN THEIR BELIEFS AND MYTHS, AN ORIGIN FROM WITHIN THE EARTH OR COMING FROM THE NORTH OR WEST.


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Most, at first, followed the animals and also ate wild plants. They were governed by the older males and were generally peaceful.

Survival: Foraging for Food



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Farming Begins…

  • By about 9,000 years ago, some native American peoples had begun to farm plants to supplement the food that they foraged for.

  • Farming groupsgenerally lived in tribes of 100 to 1,000 or more. They also tended to build relatively permanent houses and villages.


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Wars and Farming…

  • Feuds, raids and wars between tribes occurred more often because tribes, as they grew larger, expanded into new territories and their new neighbors were not able to predict their intent .

  • Wars were often waged for revenge or to preempt anticipated raids


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Farming Techniques

  • In North America only simple farming techniques were used (slash and burn, digging stick)

  • In Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America more advanced techniques were used- irrigation, terracing, and use of fertilizer (using urine, potash and guano)

  • These techniques allowed them to develop sufficient surpluses of food to develop cities and towns.


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EFFECTS OF FARMING

  • MARKED POPULATION INCREASES OCCURRED IN CULTURES WHICH LEARNED HOW TO FARM


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Family life and organization

  • The vast majority of North American societies were organized on the basis of kinship.

  • Marriage for women usually took place in early adolescence and often to older men.

  • Marriage to a brother's widow or to a sister's husband were common customs

  • Most North American cultures encouraged men to have 2 wives (most had only one)


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FOOD…Plants

  • Most North American cultures traditionally relied upon the harvest of wild food plants for their diet.

  • Among the important wild food plants were acorns, pine nuts, walnuts, sunflowers, many kinds of fruits and berries, and wild rice.

  • Many plant foods required complex processing in order to remove harmful substances.

  • Farmed items included CORN, squash, beans, and pumpkins.


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FOOD…Animals

  • - Most foragers ate larger quantities of small animal life (insects, larvae, worms, snakes, bird eggs & rodents) than they did of larger animals

  • Large Game:

  • - In South America (llamas, monkeys, iguanas,

  • anteaters, cats, alligators, crocodiles,

  • fresh/saltwater mammals)

  • - In North America (deer, bison, caribou, elk,

    antelope, sheep, goats, bears, badgers, raccoons,

    opossums, wolverines, etc.)


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FOOD….Fish

  • The most widely available animal food was shellfish. Archaeologists have found huge mounds of shells along river banks and along the coast.

  • Salmon, walleyes, trout, striped bass provided abundant food.

  • They were hooked, netted, trapped, or poisoned (mainly in S. America)


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FOOD…Birds

  • Birds also served as a source of food for people along migratory bird routes.



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Hunting Techniques

  • Bows and arrows were the most common weapons used.

  • Also used were thrusting lances, harpoons, throwing darts, clubs, bolas, and slings. Blowguns with poison darts were used in eastern North America, the Caribbean, and Amazonia. Poison arrows were also used in the tropical rainforests.

  • Nets, dead falls, nooses, and dogs were also used.


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Cooking and Preparation

  • Foods were prepared byboiling, roasting, broiling, or baking.

  • Foods were preserved by drying, smoking, salting, or packing in containers with animal lard

  • In arctic and sub-arctic areas foods were simply kept in " nature's freezer"

  • Salt was an important item for trade, especially for farming tribes.


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Housing…

  • THEIR TYPE OF HOUSING DEPENDED ON WHERE THEY LIVED AND HOW THEY GOT THEIR FOOD


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Housing …Foragers

  • Simple foragers- used brush windscreens or small, portable teepees made of poles and animal hides


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Housing…Arctic/Sub-Arctic

  • built subterranean pit houses and igloos


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Housing….Farmers

  • built rectangular single or multi-family dwellings constructed of posts and beams


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Housing…American Southwest

  • built multi-story apartment houses in the forms of pueblos made of stone, mud (adobe) and beams


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Clothing

  • Simple clothes (Little clothing other than loin clothes, draped hides and head gears was worn)


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Clothing…

  • Before needles became available through trade only Eskimos possessed tailored clothing

  • Deer hide, bison hide, and the furs of small animals were common clothing materials

  • Woven cloth was the dominant material in the SW and Central America

  • Many tribes wore moccasins to protect their feet; some also wore sandals

  • Body painting, tattooing; head and tooth deformation; lip, ear, and nose plugs or rings; arm bands; necklaces and head ornaments were used by many groups to enhance beauty or indicate social status


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Religion

  • Most Native Americans believed in a universe controlled by supernatural beings and forces. They were polytheistic meaning they worshipped many gods. Of all the gods worshipped, the most important was the SUN.

  • In most cultures, the "gods" of greatest importance were the good and evil spirits capable of influencing the outcome of hunts, gambling, fights, love, health, etc. These spirits might inhabit places like caves, mountains, forests, beasts, the sun, the moon, or even, other people.



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