PEOPLING OF THE
AMERICAS
Pre-European contact and cultural
Exchange
Focus Questions
• What are several theories of where the
indigenous peoples of America’s
originated and what questions does the
evidence raise?
• What Civilizations existed prior to
European Contact and how have they
contributed to American economy, diet
and culture?
Identification & Study Guide
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Bering Strait
Clovis First
Monte Verde
Pleistocene man
Pre Columbian
contact
• Olmec
• Hohokam
• Mogollon
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Anasazi
Mississippian
Aztec
Pope revolt
Apalachee
Transoceanic Contact
Bering Strait Theory
• small group of big game hunters in Siberia
followed the Pleistocene mega fauna—
mammoth, mastodon, and extinct bison
• land bridge that formed during the last Ice
Age known as Beringia
• 12,000 – 20,000 years ago
Clovis
• 11,500-year-old fluted
projectile points found
in Clovis, New
Mexico.
• "Clovis" culture.
Monte Verde, Chile
• Monte Verde – Southern
Chile
– Pre-dates Clovis by 1,000
years
• How did people reach
South America with no
traces in between?
– Suggests alternate theory
Pleistocene Man – San Diego
• Yuha Pinto Wash
• Dated 50,000 years old
• Pre-dates Clovis & Beringia theory
Yuha Pinto Wash
overlying sediments are dated at more
than 50,000 years old
Pre-Columbian Trans-Oceanic
Contact
• 50,000 years ago people migrated by boat
to Australia
• DNA retrieved from a 10,000-year-old
fossilized tooth from an Alaskan island,
with specific coastal
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Tierra del Fuego
Ecuador
Mexico
California
– lends substantial credence to a migration theory that at
least one set of early peoples moved south along the
west coast of the Americas in boats.
Rainbow Bridge Theory
• Luzia Skeleton, Lagoa Santa, Brazil
– Austro-Malaysian & African origin not Siberian
– Pleistocene (8,400 years old)
• Columbian River
– Oral Tradition
• Nazca, Peru – Hawaiian contact
– 1,000 years before Columbus
• Chumash – Hawaiian Contact
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Pre-European contact
500-700AD (2,500 years old+-)
Polynesian Sweet potatoes – origin S. America
Tomolo’o Carbon date 600 AD Technology Transfer
Oral Tradition
Muslim/African voyages
• Olmec Heads in Meso-America
• 1178 – Chinese Sung Document records
voyages of Muslims sailors
• 1310 Abu Bakari, Muslim King of Malian empire
– voyages to Americas
• 1312 Mandiga – Gulf of Mexico to Mississippi
River
• 1513 Pri Ries completes first world map includes
America
• 1530 10 million slaves to Americas/30% Muslim
Olmec Civilization
1500 BCE – 100 BCE
Cocaine Mummies
• 21st Dynasty of the Pharaoh’s 3,000 years ago
– Henet Tui – Lady of 2 Lands
– Dr. Svetla Balabanova, Toxicologist, Munich,
Germany
• 1992 remains included cocaine & nicotine
• 1/3 of other 134 other mummies 3700 BC -1100AD
– Additional Testing, Sample of 3,000 remains
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89% positive Egypt
90% positive Sudan
62.5% Positive China
34% positive Germany
100% positive Austria
China 1421
• Chinese reached America 71 years before
Columbus?
• Chinese Admiral Zheng He
– 30 year command of Ming Fleet
Civilizations of the Americas
• Some Civilizations of the Americas
– Northwestern
– Southwestern
• Anasazi, Mogollon, Hohokam, Sinagua, Salado
– South East and Mid west
• Mississippian and Mound building civilizations
– Meso- America T
• Toltec, Olmec, Mayan & Aztec
– South America –
• Wari, Mochi, Paracas, Nazca, Inca
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South West Civilizations
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Hohokam
Mogollon
“Anasazi” or ancient puebloan peoples
Sinagua
Salado
Hohokam
• First Southwestern Culture to Irrigate
crops
– >300 miles of Hohokam canals in the Salt
River valley alone
• Corn, beans, barley, cotton, tobacco, squash,
agave
• Southern and Central Arizona
– Pit houses in earlier periods
– Walled villages with multi story above ground
adobe buildings
Hohokam 300 BCE- 1200 CE
Hohokam Invented the
first etching process
Mogollon
• Descendants of earlier Cochise culture
(6000 BCE)
• Mogollon Culture 300 -200 BCE
– “Hunter Gatherer” & some agriculture
– Deer, bison, pronghorn, rabbit, turkey,
mountain sheep
– Beans, squash, corn
– Walnuts, cactus, acorns, pinon, agave,
mustard, sunflower, wild tomato
Mogollon
• Small villages
• Pithouse construction
• Later surface pueblo using stone masonry
construction, 4 – 5 rooms to 500 rooms
such as the Grasshopper pueblo in the
white mountains of AZ.
• Last pueblo occupied until about 1400 CE
near Springville, AZ.
Anasazi
• Colorado Plateau
• 1CE
• Corn, squash,
beans
• Agave, walnuts,
pinon, acorns,
yucca, prickly
pear, Indian rice
grass, wild
potatoes
Mesa Verde
• Elk, deer, pronghorn,
• Mt sheep, rabbit, turkey, birds, fish
PUEBLO BONITA, NM
• A.D. 1030 and 1079
• Constructed the first Apartment Bldg until
New York in 1882
Mississippian Culture
• Hopewell 100
BCE – 600 CE
• Mississippians
descendents
• Urban &
Agricultural
centers
– Same population
as London did in
1200
Cahokia Creek near Collinsville, Illinois,
At its height, around A.D. 1200
North Eastern Woodlands
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Indian democratic tradition
Suffrage for women
Chief or leaders were servants of the people
Diversity respected
First government to recognize the existence of a state within a state
First governing body: League of 5 nations or the Iroquois before
1600
– Oral constitution
– 50 representatives on a council
– Onandaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Mohawk, and 100 years
later the Tuscarora
– Clan mother selected chiefs
– Women owned crops, houses and had voting rights
– Smaller yet the dominant nation in the region
Agricultural Influence Today
• 40 plants domesticated that make a
significant portion of agriculture today
• 42% by weight: corn, potato, peanuts
• 48% of the money generated from the sale
of agricultural products
The Peoples California
Terms from Lecture
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The sacred
Clowns
Status of old aged
Death’s place
Interdependence
Bird Songs
Hygiene
Who are “Indians”?
• The People
• First Nations
• Rich Diversity of cultural
expressions and languages
• Some beliefs & life ways held in
common among most
Belief systems & Life ways
• Shared Concepts
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The sacred as a practical system of knowledge
Respect
7 shared concepts of the sacred way
Status of old age
History and knowledge transmission
Death’s place in the cycle/concept of the circle
Hygiene/epidemiological
Subsistence
Identity
The Sacred
 Explanation of sources of life and
ways of knowledge
Concept used to explain ways of
life, beliefs, traditions &
observances
Practical System of Knowledge
 Western views/ indoctrinated religions
Attempt to dominate and control unknown
To overcome human frailty & weakness
Has begun to destroy equilibrium among people and
ecosystems
The Sacred
Limits amount of explaining
Guides behavior toward natural laws
If you seek to leave nothing unexplored, you will bring
disaster – Trying to be like gods rather than humans
Seeking Life
o Acknowledged the sacred and maintaining a
constant relationship between sacred and
oneself
o Cooperation, sharing and taking no more than
needed, giving thanks, equilibrium
o Capitalism
o “making a living”
o Competition
o Without balance, without sacred acknowledged
Respect
 For those who protect the sacred ways
and help them grow
Spiritual life – most important expression
of humanity vs. material wealth
Sacred never indoctrinated, sectarian or
evangelical
Simple way of seeking life – Respects all
other’s expressions and life ways
Individually and communally
Shared concept of
The Sacred Way
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The Great Mystery
Interdependence
Commitment to the sources of life
Morals & Ethics
Sacred Practitioners
Humor is integral to the sacred ways
Status of Old Age
Learning/history & knowledge
Transmission
9. Death’s Place in Life cycle – concept of the
Circle
The Great Mystery
A belief in or knowledge of unseen
powers or what some people call the
Great Mystery or Great Spirit
Deities or spirits
 A “Feeling” that something exists that is
sacred & mysterious
Unseen powers
Pit River People of N. California
 A continuous “religious” or sacred experience
Interdependence of Life
 Life depends on understanding and respecting
all life and equilibrium that is struck between
relationships of all things
 If you destroy or alter one relationship, all others will
be affected and ultimately destroyed also
 Natural resources are not infinite
 Modoc People of N. California
 Dominate western ideology
 Man’s control of natural world
 Progress = exploitation of natural resources
indefinitely w/ help of science and technology
 All mysteries, uncertainties, and unknowns can
ultimately be Conquered and Explained
Worship: personal commitment
to sources of Life
o Reinforced the bond between the
individual, community and Great
Powers
o Seeking life
o community matter
o intensely personal one
o Ritual & prayer – to better understand the
forces of order, disorder, growth and
change
Forms of Worship
• Rituals: to revitalize and put in order the
elements in a tribes cosmology
– Important times of the year
• Summer & winter Equinox/Spring & fall solstice:
Make people conscious of economic and social
responsibilities connected with planting, harvesting
and distributing food
– Significant changes
• Birth, naming, renaming, puberty, tattoo:
Awareness of contribution to the life of the people
Forms of Worship
• Prayer : directed toward something, the
force of individuals will (or groups)
• Song: composed for dances, healing,
hunting ,honoring, cradle songs
– When sung with an objective in mind, they are
powerful
– Magic words, shadow words
Morals & Ethics
 Morals set the limits and boundaries of personal
behavior
Ethics teach social behavior
Behavior – necessary for survival
Responsibility for self and community
Accountability for one’s actions and to community
Instruction vs. Sin/Hell
Figures taught to instruct or coerce children into
behaving certain ways
Clowns – unselfishness, awareness, patience, cleanliness
Sacred Practitioners
Responsible for passing sacred
knowledge from generation to generation
Often gifts are hereditary
A person may show inclinations at any time in
life
Different titles in different communities
Heal through prayer, faith, medicinal
knowledge of plants and minerals
Humor
• Necessary part of the sacred
• Humans are weak, not gods, weaknesses
lead to foolish acts
• Too much power & seriousness leads to
imbalance
• Cannot take ourselves too seriously
• Clowns needed to show us how we act
and why
Status of Old Aged
Status of honor and respect
Lived long, favored
Privileges
Asked for names and blessings
Give advice
Lecture
Counsel
Right to make opinions known
Instruction vs. Command & Corporal punishment
Knowledge Transmission
• Methods of learning
– Initiations, survival training, listening, waiting,
remembering
• Modes of Learning
– Stories, legends & Myths
• Methods of recording & passing
knowledge
– Oral histories, Rock paintings and
picto/petrographs, Basketry, other art forms
Origin Stories
What is transmitted:
Where the people came from
How stars were created and light became divided by
darkness
Discovery of fire
Origination of death
Basic survival tools
“coding” abstract notions of behavior,
cosmology, ways of seeking knowledge
Discover meaning of things or ideas on your
own, not indoctrinated or imposed
Death’s place
• Philosophy of life: never ending path or
road – circular thinking
– Conveys eternal return
– Death in some way returns to the beginning of
life
– You know all when you are born and slowly
forget
– Not to be feared, another transition in life
• Death ceremonies
Hygiene
• Cleanliness synonymous with good health
and living
– Daily bathing and sweating
– Knowledge of soap roots and purifying plants
– Population controlled – understood limits of the
land
– Medical people successful and Respected
• 18th century Europe
– Suffered disease as result of poor hygiene
– Overcrowding and malnutrition
– Medical doctors unsuccessful and detested by
population
Subsistence
• Acorns/Pinon/Mesquite Beans: Major
Staples of first nations Diet
• Oak/pine/Mesquite Trees
• Can be Made into Flour or Meal by
Pulverizing after Leaching (acorn) or
Washing
• Stored for Winter or Later Use
Subsistence
• Winter house/Summer house
• Managed the landscape
• Intimate knowledge of all resources and when
and where can be found
• Land use songs – Bird/Salt/Deer Songs
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Songs hereditary or gifted
Rights to use land, shared with permission
Resources generally shared and distributed evenly
Absence of malnutrition or starvation
• western concept of ownership
– Paper, legal, private ownership
Diversity
• California’s Diverse Landscape and
Isolation Has Produced Diverse:
– Groups
– Languages
– Subsistence Practices
– Modes of Dress and Shelter
– Expression of Cosmologies
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PEOPLING OF THE AMERICAS - Leleua Loupe