Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Native American Culture and Society before 1492
Native American cultures before 1492 were diverse, dynamic, and interconnected. They shared a general world view--animism (the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena)--that would lead to conflict with European explorers and colonizers.
Evidence indicates that the peoples came from Asia to the Americas during the Ice Age, when the sea level was much lower than today and a large land bridge known as Beringia connected the continents.
As scholars learn more about the advances and retreats of the ice sheets, the camping sites of the migrating peoples, and changes in vegetation zones, a much more complete picture of the Americas emerge.
Another theory is that these early people crossed the Atlantic Ocean on skin boats from Palenesia, thus being dubbed Paleo-Indians.
The Archaic Indians, who were around from 9,000-3,000bce, encouraged decentralization in their way of life. Decentralization has two definitions which fit the Archaic Indians: first, decentralization is the social process in which population moves from urban centers to outlying districts; this fit the Archaic Indians because they started to plant crops and needed land to farm, so they couldn't live in small cities. Second, decentralization is the spread of power away from the center (a leader) to smaller branches of government (the people).
The Archaic Indians were an ingenious people who invented horticulture. Horticulture was extremely innovative for this time because the ancient people discovered that there were different times a year where plants would thrive and in what climates; they started to hibridize their crops to make them drought and frost resistant such as high yield grains and root crops.
The changes the Paleo-Indians wrought were both positive and negative. Religion, social development, politics, health/population increase, trade v. garbage, diseases, empires, and violence were all the effects of the Paleo-Indians.
~Long history of social change
~Experience in the area
~Long historic separations from global disease environment
~Political systems that encourage deliberation over violence
~Metallurgical technology disadvantages