Over the last 30,000 years or so the Native American Natives have, as would be expected, gone through cultural changes that were needed for survival as well as changes that enhanced their way of life, including their social and spiritual life.
This blog, hopefully, will be an introduction to these cultural changes over the many years and lead into future descriptive blogs on the various cultures from the earliest to the more classical cultures we are familiar with.
Cultures of the New North American Residents
Note: It is somewhat obvious to the novice, as one studies the migration and early cultures of the North Americans, that many of the archeologist, anthropologist, and meteorological scientist that work within this study field have a preference for their own unique vocabulary. This has to do with their categorizations and definitions as they define their theories for the early Native Americans progression in technology and changes in their social structure. For the novice this can be very confusing and leads to a difficult process of understanding these issues. Given this situation, this paper continues with an honest attempt to properly discuss the early cultures of the Native Americans.
There was a very extensive time period (30,000 years) involved with the migration and development of the various cultures of our First Citizens of North America.
With this extended period of time and changes in climate and geographic locations, it is realized that the type and availability of the animals, vegetation, and other resources needed for survival would experience changes.
As the resources changed it would was necessary for their hunting and gathering methods to change. New methods and improved technology were developed. In addition it would be expected that societal changes in terms of life style and belief systems would occur.
And, of course their cultures did change.
1. Sketch by Emiliano Bellini (“Reconstructing Native American Population History”)
Prior to the Paleo-Cultural stages which have been evidenced with the migrants into North America it is believed there was what is called the Pre-Projectile-Point cultural stage which existing over 30,000 years ago.
The earliest of the migrants could very well have been at this stage of cultural technology. Within this cultural stage crafted stones for chopping, scrapping, and other applications can be seen but there was no development of the stone spear points. For hunting they would have used a sharp pointed and fire hardened spear. This Pre-Projectile-Point cultural stage is considered to be prior to what is now referred to as the Paleo- Lithic stages which are defined by spear point technology and other crafted stone tools.
2. Images of Pre-Projectile Stone Tools & Hunting Techniques
Early Paleo-Americans were nomadic hunter gatherers and most likely traveled in bands consisting of 30 – 50 members. These bands were probably an extended family group or they had other social connections. During the warmer months of the year survival resources would have been readily available in the form of animals and vegetation.
As the year started to get colder, in what we would call “fall season”, foods would have to be stored for the winter months and clothing made ready for this climate change. Winter was very rough and it made up a large portion of year. This part of the year was most likely a hibernation period with only the minimum amount of hunting and gathering being accomplished.
Based on evidence on the movement and availability of the mega fauna (large or giant animals) for the paleo period, these hunter gatherers possibly covering up to 200 miles in a year to gather the needed food to sustain their lives. Their diet required high protein which they got from the animal meats. The animals also provided them with material for clothing, shelter construction, and tool making. These animals were most likely, now-extinct mega fauna . To name a few; woolly mammoths, giant beaver, ancient Bison, giant armadillos, short faced bear, saber tooth tigers, and ancient reindeer (early caribou).
3. Typical Mega Fauna Hunted by the Paleo- Americans
With the advancement of technology and survival skills, the various paleo- cultures and the more recognizable cultures for the students of modern time developed. These changes and, when available, more definitive data on life style changes are used to define and study the different cultural stages for Native-Americans. The stages have been defined by many scholars as: