English Across the Curriculum
Cultural regions of Native Americans
Arctic and Subarctic inhabitants probably came to Alaska and Canada from northern Siberia about 10,000 years ago. They are also called Inuit.
Indians travelled mostly across the lakes and rivers of the Arctic. They used toboggans and snowshoes to travel when the lakes and rivers were frozen.
These Indians lived between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Coast and as far west as the Mississippi.
They were the first to make contact with European settlers. At first the two groups were very friendly. Indians taught white people how to plant corn. In 1621, the Indians and the first pilgrims even had their first Thanksgiving ceremony together. But later on, fighting broke out between settlers and Indians when the white people started to move west and take away their land.
Native Americans and settlers take part in Thanksgiving feast
This region extends from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Indians lived in an area with mild winters and warm summers. Because there was enough rainfall, many tribes grew corn.
Religion played an important role in the lives of the south-eastern Indians. They honoured their ancestors and when a person died many objects were put into his grave. Many Indian groups worshipped the sun.
The Plains stretch from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to Mexico. Few Indians lived there before the arrival of the Europeans.
When the first Spaniards brought the horse to North America, the life of the Plains Indians changed. On horseback they could follow buffalo herds more quickly and buffalo meat became their main food. It was roasted over a fire and the skin was used to make clothes and tepees. Bones were used to make horns and other tools.
When white settlers came and also started hunting buffalo, the great animals of the Plains almost disappeared. Many Indians were driven away and the white settlers turned the land into cattle farms and ranches .
Plains Indians chasing buffalo over a cliff
This region covers the highest parts of North America. Settlers came to the Rocky Mountain region when gold and other minerals were discovered in the second half of the 19th century. Miners poured in and drove the Indians off their land.
This dry part of North America stretches from southern California to central Mexico.
Many famous tribes lived here. The Pueblos were among the most highly developed. They lived in villages and were mostly farmers. They planted corn and beans and raised turkeys. The Pueblo Indians built large houses called cliff dwellings. They had many stories and were made of stone. People usually entered the houses through the roof. They climbed up a ladder that could be removed when an enemy attacked. The Pueblo were a peaceful tribe who only fought when they were attacked.