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Exploring Minnesota. Chapter 2: The First Minnesotans. What is Minnesota?. State Bird -- Loon. State Fish --. State Tree --. Click for State Symbols. Chapter Objectives. Explain how the land and climate of Minnesota have changed over time

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Exploring minnesota

Exploring Minnesota

Chapter 2: The First Minnesotans


What is minnesota
What is Minnesota?

  • State Bird -- Loon





Chapter objectives
Chapter Objectives

  • Explain how the land and climate of Minnesota have changed over time

  • Understand how early people in MN adapted their way of living to the changing environment

  • Describe how early people’s lives changed with new tools and methods

  • Explain how archaeologists learn about what life was like before written history


Living on the edge of the glaciers
Living on the Edge of the Glaciers

  • Glaciers have covered Minnesota many times.

  • When the last ice began to melt about 12,000 years ago, lakes and rivers began to form. -- Glacial Lake Agassiz. See page 8.



Exploring minnesota


Possible scene from the ice age
Possible Scene from the Ice Age grew spruce forests.


Exploring minnesota


Game hunters in a warmer climate
Game Hunters in a Warmer Climate arrived in MN. These are ancestors of today’s American Indians. The only traces of them are found in spear points.

  • Between 6000 and 5000 BC the climate was warming. Many large animals could not adapt and vanished. Dense spruce forests also retreated northward.

  • Bears, elk, deer, beavers, and other smaller animals entered the region. Open grasslands grew. Pines and leafy trees began thriving.

  • As natural surroundings changed, so did people. Began eating different things.

  • See Lake Itasca kill site (7,000 yrs ago) on page 10.


Lake itasca kill site
Lake Itasca Kill Site arrived in MN. These are ancestors of today’s American Indians. The only traces of them are found in spear points.

  • Click for link


New tools in a cooling climate
New Tools in a Cooling Climate arrived in MN. These are ancestors of today’s American Indians. The only traces of them are found in spear points.

  • About 3,000 years ago, the climate began to cool and the weather settled into patterns similar to today. Plants and animals were similar as well. People really started to change how they lived.

  • Pottery for cooking and storing food– pg. 11

  • Beginning of new religious practices such as mound building. See Grand Mound at Rainy River (2,000 yrs ago) page 12.


Grand mound at rainy river
Grand Mound at Rainy River arrived in MN. These are ancestors of today’s American Indians. The only traces of them are found in spear points.

  • Artifacts- objects made, used, or altered by humans.


New foods new relationships
New Foods, New Relationships arrived in MN. These are ancestors of today’s American Indians. The only traces of them are found in spear points.

  • About 1,000 years ago, a large city called Cahokia developed across the Mississippi River from present day St. Louis, MO. May have been home to as many as 20,000 people who built mounds and used them for worship, planted and harvested crops such as corn, beans, and squash.

  • Cahokians traveled widely and it is believed that they may have made their way up the Mississippi to MN as farming communities developed in Southern MN. One was located in an area overlooking the Cannon River in SE MN.

  • See pages 13-15.


The bryan site 1 000 years ago
The Bryan Site – 1,000 years ago arrived in MN. These are ancestors of today’s American Indians. The only traces of them are found in spear points.

Bryan Site- Spring of ’51, equipment operators at a newly opened gravel pit along the Cannon River were startled to observe human skeletons intermixed with the gravel they were mining. Professor Lloyd Wilford at the University of Minnesota was contacted and immediately visited the site and found the workmen had discovered a major town site dating back to the beginning of the 2nd millennia A.D. Investigation revealed that the site covered about 65 acres and consisted of a large group of 173 mounds. The site was named the Bryan Site after the family that owned the property since the end of the 19th century.

Click here for link to website


Petroglyphs courtesy of mr kaufmann
Petroglyphs – courtesy of Mr. Kaufmann arrived in MN. These are ancestors of today’s American Indians. The only traces of them are found in spear points.