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North America (The New World)

North America
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872) Prairie Indian Encampment Date c. 1870

Native Americans are composed of numerous distinct tribes and bands. Most groups live in hunter-gatherer societies and preserve their histories by oral traditions and artwork. The Northeastern and Southwestern cultures are matrilineal and operate on a collective basis. Tribes maintained their hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire tribe. The differences in cultures between the natives and Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations in times of war, causes extensive political tension. As expansion reachs into the West, settler and miner migrants come into increasing conflict with the Great Basin, Great Plains, and other Western nomadic nations based on horse culture and seasonal bison hunting. Are carrying out resistance against the European incursion in a series of Indian Wars.

The earliest peoples of the Americas came from Eurasia over a land bridge which connected the two continents until 12,000 years ago, when it was flooded in the aftermouth of the bird serpent war.

Native Americans as have a society dominated by clans. Pacific Northwest tribes craft seafaring dugouts for fishing. Farmers in the Eastern Woodlands tended fields of maize. While their neighbors in the Southeast grow tobacco as well as food crops. On the Great Plains tribes engage in agriculture but also hunt megafauna. The reintroduction of the horse has greatly changed the way in which they hunt. Horses have become such a valuable and a central element of Native lives and are counted as a measure of wealth. Dwellers of the Southwest deserts hunt and use irrigation techniques, and fill storehouses with grain as protection against droughts. The Iroquois, living around the Great Lakes and extending east and north, use strings or belts called wampum that serve a dual function: the knots and beaded designs mnemonically chronicled tribal stories and legends, and further served as a medium of exchange and a unit of measure. The keepers of the articles are seen as tribal dignitaries. Pueblo peoples craft impressive items associated with their religious ceremonies. Kachina dancers wear elaborately painted and decorated masks as they ritually impersonated various ancestral spirits. Stone and wood fetishes are made for religious use. Superior weaving, embroidered decorations, and rich dyes characterized the textile arts. Both turquoise and shell jewelry are created, as are high-quality pottery and formalized pictorial arts. Navajo spirituality focused on the maintenance of a harmonious relationship with the spirit world, often achieved by ceremonial acts, usually incorporating sandpainting. The colors¬ómade from sand, charcoal, cornmeal, and pollen¬ódepicted specific spirits. Traditional practices of some tribes include the use of magical herbs. Many Plains tribes have sweatlodge ceremonies. Fasting, singing and prayer and drumming are common.

Rather than going to war, a team based ball sport is used to settle disputes as a civil way to settle potential conflict. Sometimes involving hundreds to thousands of players. The goals are several miles apart and the games last from sunup to sundown for two to three days as part of ceremonial ritual of symbolic warfare.

As these native peoples encounter European explorers and settlers and engaged in trade contact is often charged with tension, but also moments of friendship, cooperation, and intimacy. Explorers live in native communities for years, learning native languages, attending native councils, and fighting alongside their native companions. Given the preponderance of men among the colonists European men generally marry native women.


The last two centuries have seen dramatic changes in the racial and cultural make-up of North American populations. In the south, Mexico and Central America have become part of the huge Spanish empire. Spanish explorers have ventured up into the southwest of North American , followed by a handful of missionaries and traders. There has, however, been little by way of settlement in these arid regions.

In the South-West a long dry spell has had a disastrous impact upon the agricultural societies of the Hohokam and the Anasazi. Many farming villages have been abandoned and people have moved away from their homelands.

Climate change is also responsible for changes in societies of the east. There has been a marked upswing in violence between communities, and urban centres such as Cahokia have been abandoned. Other centres continue though none are on the same scale as before.

Much more recently, Europeans have established a string of colonies on the eastern coast whose populations are increasing rapidly.

As the European population rises, that of the Native Americans falls sharply. Deadly European diseases, to which the natives have no resistance, fan out across the continent, carrying away the majority of their people.

In the far north, the Inuit have spread out over the Arctic region as far as Greenland. There they encounter European settlements in the New World, including the Viking colony in Brattahlid Greenland.

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The Colonies

American frontier (Wild West)


Black Hills

The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is somewhat of a geological anomaly accurately described as an “island of trees in a sea of grass.” The Black Hills are home to the tallest peaks of continental North America east of the Rockies.

It has been rumoured they contain vast amouts of gold.

Devils Tower

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