AP®︎/College US History
- Native American societies before contact
- Native American culture of the West
- Native American culture of the Southwest
- Native American culture of the Northeast
- Native American culture of the Southeast
- Native American culture of the Plains
- Native American societies before European contact
What was life like in North America before Europeans arrived? In this video, Kim explores how different environmental factors in North America shaped a variety of Native American societies.
Want to join the conversation?
- I don't necessarily get how in American History we put so much precedence on Columbus finding America. He was cruel in a lot of ways. So in other words, why does American History give so much precedence to Columbus finding America.(21 votes)
- Can you give an example of some Native American tribes?(3 votes)
- so what was in it for the squash?(7 votes)
- When you plant the "three sisters" (corn, pole beans, & squash) together, the pole beans pull nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil. This helps both the squash and the corn.
Here's a cute video produced by the Oneida Nation that shows a real Three Sisters Garden:
- I went to some Pueblo homes before. I wondered, how can the houses stand for a long time if they live on cliffs and there is erosion?(5 votes)
- were they the american Indians or am l just confused.(3 votes)
- At4:29, said "which people would plant", so who plant the corn beans and squash, so do they use squash to plant them all? All the people living there planting them? Also, do they only eat that plant(corn, beans, and squash)?(2 votes)
- People eat what grows. Eating has a product "on the other end" which often is left on the ground or buried. If seeds "make it through", the "product" offers a moist and nourishing growth medium. Not a lot of "planting" is required for a crop to harvest in the following year, so long as there is enough moisture and sunshine during the next growing season.(4 votes)
- How many different tribes were in north America and how many still ?(3 votes)
- It is impossible to know all of the Native American tribes that have ever existed due to a lack of historical record, but in present day, the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs recognizes 573 different Native American tribes.(2 votes)
- Have they done any DNA who's relative to any Asians and The Native Americans.(2 votes)
- They have done the genetic studies in order to find descendant of native Americans separately from Asians but they have not done both who is a descendant of native Americans and Asians(3 votes)
- when did salvery came in the 13 coloinst?(3 votes)
- Slavery in America started in 1619, when the privateer The White Lion brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia.(1 vote)
- At1:52,she talks about domestic corn.What is the change between domestic corn and regular corn?(2 votes)
- The plant that was originally corn looked more like a thin grass than the giant stalks and big ears of corn that we see today. It took many years of choosing the largest plants with the best grains and growing them, and then picking the largest and best from each next generation of plant to get what we now think of as corn. This process of artificial selection (chosen by people rather than just letting the plant grow wild) went on for hundreds and hundreds of years. The original plant that corn came from is called teosinte and the corn cobs were only about an inch long. This artificial selection is also called domestication.(2 votes)
- [Instructor] Often when we think about the beginning of American history, we think 1776, with the Declaration of Independence, or maybe 1492, when Columbus arrived in the Americas. But the history of America really begins about 15,000 years ago, when people first arrived in the Americas. In this video, I want to provide a very brief overview of native societies before contact to give you an idea of just how diverse and complex these societies were, as native groups adapted to and interacted with their environments. Now there's recently been a scholarly debate about how people first arrived. We know that maybe 12,000 years ago, during an ice age, the sea level was lower, and so a spit of land in between the Americas and Asia was exposed, over which people may have traveled. But recent archeological evidence suggests that people were perhaps already in the Americas at the time of this ice age, so it's possible that they may have come earlier in boats. Now however it was that they arrived, they spread north and south and east throughout the Americas so that by the time that Europeans arrived in the late 1400s there were perhaps 50 million people. That's kind of a mid-range number for the estimates, that historians have made, living in the Americas. And of those, four to six million were living in North America. So how did these societies develop? Well, a really big moment was around 5000 BCE, when people in Mexico domesticated corn, maize, as it's also known. And domesticating maize meant that people who had originally been hunters, gatherers, following herds of animals could partake in settled agriculture. So they could develop villages, complex societies. This isn't to say that they stopped hunting or gathering, but they began staying in one place. So let's zoom in a little bit and take a look at some of the major societies in these regions. Native American societies developed around their natural environments, using the resources that were available to them. For example, the Southwest, Plains and Great Basin were quite dry. A lot of desert. And so societies in these regions adapted to the dry climate in several ways. For example, Native American groups that lived on the Great Plains continued their hunting and gathering way of life. Hunting bison, and following the herds of animals in teepees, which were dwellings that were easy to set up and then take down. People in the Southwest, like the Ancestral Puebloan people, dealt with this dry environment by creating very complex irrigation projects so that they could water their maize crops using what little moisture there was. The Puebloans lived in large cave complexes as agriculture allowed them to grow their population. In the Northwest, fishing in the Pacific Ocean gave Native Americans a plentiful source of food, while farming allowed the Mississippian peoples to develop large settlements, like Cahokia, near modern day St. Louis, which, at its peak, may have had as many as 25,000-40,000 residents. The Mississippians and other East Coast native peoples relied a lot on what's known as three-sister farming, in which people would plant corn, beans and squash together, which was mutually beneficial to all three plants, as the corn served as a trellis for the beans, and the squash protected the root system of the corn. All three together create a very nutritious diet, which allowed for a relatively high population density on the East Coast. So by the time that Europeans began to arrive in the late 1400s and 1500s, native societies had been evolving for over 14,000 years. But the introduction of European people, pathogens, plants, and animals would introduce an unprecedented amount of change in the Americas.