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North American Societies . Complex Societies in the West. The Pacific Northwest was rich in resources and supported a sizable population. To the Kwakiutl, Nootka and Haida peoples the sea was the greatest resource.

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complex societies in the west
Complex Societies in the West
  • The Pacific Northwest was rich in resources and supported a sizable population.
  • To the Kwakiutl, Nootka and Haida peoples the sea was the greatest resource.
  • They hunted whales in canoes and in addition to the many resources of the sea, the coastal forest provided plentiful food.
  • They were expert woodworkers and weavers and they created majestic totem poles and masks.
accomplished builders
Accomplished Builders
  • The dry, desert lands of the Southwest were a much harsher environment than the temperate Pacific coastlands but as early as 1500 B.C.E. the peoples of the southwest were beginning to farm the land.
  • Among the most successful of these early famers was the Hohokam of central Arizona.
the anasazi
The Anasazi
  • The Anasazi were to the north of the Hohokam and they also influenced them.
  • The Anasazi built impressive cliff dwellings, such as the ones at Mesa Verde, Colorado.
  • By the 900s C.E., they were living in pueblos and the largest was Pueblo Bonito.
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Many Anasazi pueblos were abandoned by 1200, possibly because of prolonged drought.

  • The descendants of the Anasazi, the Pueblo peoples, continued many of their customs.
  • Pueblo groups like the Hopi and Zuni used kivas for religious ceremonies and they also created beautiful pottery and woven blankets.
great plains indians
Great Plains Indians
  • An entirely different culture flourished in the Great Plains.
  • Here people lived by hunting the huge herds of wild buffalo that roamed the land.
  • They ate the meat and used the hides to make clothes and to build tepees.
  • They were also skilled fighters who placed a high value on deeds of bravery.
  • They eventually became known by such names as the Comanche, Kiowa and Apache.
mound builders and other woodlands cultures
Mound Builders and other Woodlands Cultures
  • Beginning around 700 B.C.E. a culture known as Adena began to build huge earthen mounds in which they buried their dead.
  • Some 500 years later, the Hopewell, also began building burial mounds and theirs were much larger and more plentiful.
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The last mound builder culture, the Mississippian, lasted from around 800 C.E. until the arrival of Europeans.

  • These people created thriving villages based on farming and trade.
  • Between 1000 and 1200, perhaps as many as 30,000 people lived at Cahokia.
northeastern tribes b uild alliances
Northeastern Tribes Build Alliances
  • The Northeastern woodlands peoples developed a variety of cultures and they often clashed over land.
  • In some areas they formed political alliances to protect tribal land and the best example of this is the Iroquois League.
  • In the late 1500s five groups (the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca) from upper New York formed the Iroquois League.
cultural connections
Cultural Connections
  • Connections between native North Americans were economic and cultural. They traded, had similar religious beliefs and shared social patterns.
  • Trade was a major factor that linked the peoples of North America.
  • Along the Columbia River the Chinook established a lively marketplace and the Mississippian trade network stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic coast and from the Great Lakes region to the Gulf of Mexico.
religion shapes views of life
Religion Shapes Views of Life
  • Nearly all native North Americans believed that the world around them was filled with nature spirits and most recognized a number of sacred spirits.
  • Native American religious beliefs also included great respect for the land as the source of life. They used land but tried to alter it as little as possible.
shared social patterns
Shared Social Patterns
  • The family was the basis for social organization and generally the family unit was the extended family.
  • Some tribes further organized families into clans and sometimes the clan would live together in large houses or groups of houses.
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Common among Native American clans was the use of totems.

  • The term refers to a natural object with which an individual, clan or group identifies itself.
  • The totem was used as a symbol of the unity of a group or clan and it helped define certain behaviors and the social relationships of a group.
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There were hundreds of different patterns of Native American life in North America.

  • Some societies were small and dealt with life in a limited region of the vast North American continent while other groups were much larger and were linked by trade and culture to other groups in North America and Mesoamerica.