Cultures of the New World

Essay by k-to-the-cUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2007

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Native American PeoplesSituation prior to discovery of New WorldAfter a few years each family would move both the fields and their homes to a newly-cleared site nearby. Gradually, over a couple of decades, a whole town or village would be relocated. The abandoned fields could be used again later by anyone who wanted them, but there was an understanding that this land remained in the stewardship of the tribe, (Spaar, 1989)Situation during arrival of invaders to New WorldAs settles expanded their colonies, the relations between the Powhatans and the English weakened. Settlers began to attack Indian villages, in some cases burning homes and fields. Powhatans and other coastal tribes steadily lost control of their lands to the new settlers. As settlers continued to invade on Indian lands, thus shrinking their communities, Indians were forced off the land; disintegrating or merging with other tribes. Some Indians chose to adjust to the white society and others joined free black communities.

By the end of the 18th century only two tribes, the Pamunkey and the Accomac, still had land and were officially recognized as Indians, (Spaar, 1989)Living conditions following settlement of New WorldNative American people lived a nomadic lifestyle, which mean that they lived in temporary homes called tepees. The colonial government allowed many tribes to keep a small percentage of land. However, these "reservations" were not large enough to maintain the traditional ways of life; hunting and gathering. Eventually Indians were forced to work for the English as servants, guides or even as slaves because the limited farming. Diseases spread rapidly due to disgusting living conditions. Thousands of Indians were killed. Indians were also unhappy with the settlers' ways. They felt as though they had no respect for the land, plants and animals. Settlers destroyed tons of land and plants to set...