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North American Indians: Part One - The Proliferation
by Jack Wellman
2009-01-21 10:04:13
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At first, the rugged mountainous and forested realms of the great expanse of the North American Continent stood empty - the only indigenous game were the occupants and, in nearly all the continent, not so much as one human. With the continent largely unoccupied, even by Indians, there was sufficient resources and facilitated the dispersal of those early arrivers.
And arrive they did, but not until around 2,000 BC to around 200AD. That’s when Asiatic humans crossed Beringia (the Bering Land Bridge), walking from Asia to, first, Alaska, and then continuing into the North American continent. Humans were latecomers to this magnificent landmass so widely separated from other continents by vast oceans except near Earth's poles. Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Indonesian Archipelago, and Australia had no access.
The Adena People, later called the Hopewell People, began to traverse the area subsisting on hunting, gathering and later, trading. Only the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs had farming experience till then. The many land pyramids and mounds found in the U.S. may have been an import from these southern Indians, although a recent discovery in Louisiana attributes this to local populations. Regardless, it does appear that some of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs technology did make it northward.
There is a college just 15 miles east of my town that goes by the name the Southwestern Moundbuilders, in reference to these early populations that built many of the mounds in the area. Many of these mounds are found throughout the central U.S. and are still visible today.
With so much land available the Indians began to disperse throughout the continent. One of the earliest indigenous Indian Nations that were identifiable was the Canadian and Northeastern and North Central tribes of the Algonquian. The remaining groups began to prosper and expand in size due to the inexhaustible resources of the land. There was adequate game, shelter, wood, fish, furs, pelts, berries, nuts, the flora… Their populations expanded rapidly and the proliferation spread these Indians into the Eastern U.S. and North Central forests of Canada.
In these early days their came a story about an old Huron prophet called Deganawidah, who in a vision, saw the need to confederate. He saw the need to stop the killing caused by the Iroquoian infighting. In this vision, allegedly, he saw a white man, even though they had never seen one before. He realized the skin color as being white and took it as an ominous omen for his people.
This may or may not have been the cause for the formation of the League of Iroquois Nations, which united the Seneca, Oneida, Mohawk, Cayugu, and Onondaga Nations. Tuscarora later coordinated these nations as a single unit. Was this confederation due to what Historians (and some legends) refer to as the first visitor being Henry Wadsworth? It’s impossible to prove or disprove. Regardless, serious guerrilla warfare between Indian Nations had been occurring for some time. The Crow, the Mohawk, and many other Indians were considered the best guerrilla fighters in the world. The Spanish, the French, and the British would soon find this out.

Did this league result from the threat of the white man or to prevent rival tribal nations from making alliances with other nations to fight against another? When those from the “East” came, it was perceived by many Indian Nations, sovereign nations within their own right, as another sovereign nation invading their own. It was not in their best interests, no matter what the new “explorers” would say. The Indians would later learn that lie would follow after lie. And treaties were made to be broken. The first domino was set in motion - one of an irreversible, irresistible force, against an almost, immovable object.
Indian prosperity leads to a proliferation of the Nations. This proliferation, with the threat from within and more likely, from without, would make by necessity, one powerful confederation - a confederation that would forever change the Indian Nations and the face of the North American Continent. For many of these nations, it was the early beginning…of the end.


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Emanuel Paparella2009-01-21 13:38:33
Jack, historically speaking, while it is pretty much accepted that the vast majority of Native Americans came from Siberia via the Bering frozen bridge, the dates vary considerably: as the Clovis hypothesis (see link and excerpts below) places the date at 11,000 years BC at the very least. In fact, as another hypothesis has it (the Monte Verde hypothesis of Southern Chile) humans were on the American continent, albeit not in very large numbers, as early as 33,000 years BC. See link below and the excerpts (continues below)

Emanuel Paparella2009-01-21 13:40:37

Excerpts from data in the link above: The date of entry of human beings into the American continents remains controversial. While dates as early as 35,000 years ago have been suggested, there was clearly a major wave around 11,000. A reentry into North America from South America around that time is currently being considered; finally, evidence from Brazil suggests early populations were anatomically varied...
The Clovis hypothesis The idea that the original Americans had somehow migrated from Siberia many thousands of years ago was first proposed in 1589, by José de Acosta, a Jesuit missionary to South America. It was subsequently elaborated in the Clovis hypothesis, for which a considerable body of evidence was assembled in the early decades of the twentieth century. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2009-01-21 13:43:11
The paleoanthropologist Peter Frost notes that according to the Clovis hypothesis, humans colonized Beringia at some point before 11,000 B.P., possibly as early as 20,000 B.P., but were unable to go any further because of the glaciation covering most of what is now Canada. At around 11,000 B.P., a corridor opened up between the Cordilleran ice sheet and the Laurentian ice sheet (through what is now the Mackenzie valley and Alberta), allowing the Clovis people to move down from Beringia and spread out onto the Great Plains. The Clovis people were successful big-game hunters that rapidly settled large areas...

The Coastal entry hypothesis: The possibility that the early settlers of the Americas arrived in boats is looking increasingly likely; see Drowned land holds clue to first Americans, Science News 5 Feb 2000 (external). Knut Fladmark, a professor of archaeology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., first put forward the hypothesis in the 1970s and remains an advocate of a coastal entry into the Americas.
The coastal entry hypothesis opens for an earlier date for the spread of human beings into the Americas, as this mode of settlement would not require an ice-free land corridor. The Arlington Springs Woman, found on Santa Rosa Island, has recently been carbondated to 13,000 years. Her presence on the island at this early date is consistent with the hypothesis that migrations into the new world took place by sea. (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2009-01-21 13:43:57
Such coastal migration also opens up for a new set of possible routes and entry times…
Pre-Clovis evidence 1. Archaeological evidence Monte Verde. Contrasting with the Clovis hypothesis, the excavations at the Monte Verde site in southern Chile dug by Tom Dillehay and colleagues suggest a much earlier date. The older component, Monte Verde I, has several dates which cluster around 33,000 years B.P. Preliminary investigations suggest that this cultural material is crude but clearly present; the stratiography appears to be solid. Dillehay is going back in January 2001 to dig this component, which is only barely touched at present. The main component at the site, Monte Verde II, has dates ranging from 11,800 to 13,500. Dillehay notes it shows no evidence of Clovis or typical Paleoindian technology, suggesting that this is a pre-Clovis phenomenon.

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