Native American History
Native American History: Indigenous people’s opinions and perspectives, particularly those from the 15th to 19th centuries, have been preserved in written form fewer frequently than is ideal for historians. Due to the scarcity of such documents, persons interested in Native American history must rely on traditional art, folk literature, mythology, archaeology, & other sources.
The different cultural and geographic background of the humans add to the complexity of Native American history. As one might assume, indigenous American farmers in stratified civilizations like the Natchez interacted with Europeans different than those who relied on hunting & gathering, like the Apache. Similarly, Spanish conquistadors participated in a vastly different form of colonial activity than their French or English colleagues.
Circa 1492, North America & Europe
Native American History: Native Americans Are A Diverse Group Of People.
Academic estimates of the before-Columbian populace of Northern America vary by millions of people: the lowest reliable estimations suggest that 900,000 people existed north of Rio Grande in 1492, while the greatest estimates suggest that there were around 18,000,000. Anthropologist James Mooney conducted the first comprehensive analysis of the problem in 1910. Based on historical sources and carrying capacity, he approximated the precontract population size of each culture area. Native American History: Carrying capacity is a measure of the total of people who might be sustained by a specific method of subsistence. Mooney estimated that 1,115,000 people resided in Northern America of the Columbian landing. Mooney’s findings was reanalyzed in 1934 by A.L. Kroeber, who estimated 900,000 people for same region and time period. Before contact, ethnohistorian Henry Dobyns calculated that there were around 9,800,000 & 12,200,000 individuals north of the Rio Grande; in 1983, he increased that estimate to 18,000,000.
Native American History: Dobyns was one of the first academics to investigate the impact of widespread diseases on indigenous population change. He observed that, during in the reliably reported outbreaks of 19th century, imported illnesses like smallpox interacted with numerous secondary effects (such as pneumonia and starvation) to produce fatality prices as high as 95%, and he speculated that earlier infections were also deadly. He then utilized this and other data to compute potential founding populations based on early census data.
The figures proposed by Dobyns are one of the highest in the scientific literature. Some of Dobyns’ detractors point to inconsistencies between physical proof and his conclusions, such as when the number of dwellings discovered at a location suggests a lower population than Dobyns’ model of demographic recovery. Others, such as historian David Hennie, have criticized certain of Dobyns’ assumptions in his studies. Many early fur traders, for example, documented the estimated number of warriors a tribe deployed but neglected to note the size of the civilian population. Small modifications in one’s starting assumptions—in this case, the number of women, children, & elderly represented by each warrior—can result in massive variances in population estimates when repeated over several generations or centuries.
Native American History: A third group claims that Dobyns’ estimates are too low since they don’t account for pre-Columbian Native American-European contact. Severe outbreaks with European diseases may also have started in North America during the lost10th or earlier 11th centuries, when the Norse brief colonized a region known as Vinland. The archeological remains of a tiny hamlet at L’Anse aux Meadows (on the coast of Newfoundland) prove the Norse presence in The U’s around 1000 CE. Given that sagas mention an epidemic that ravaged Erik the Red’s village in Greenland at the same period, the potential that native peoples were infected with diseases before the arrival of the Columbians must be addressed.
Native American History: Political And Ethnic Diversity Among Native Americans
Determining the number of political and ethnic groupings in before-Columbian Northern America is difficult, not least because the criteria of what constituted an ethnic group or a polity differ depending on the questions being asked. Ethnicity is typically associated with some characteristic of language, but social and political organization can take place on multiple scales at the same time. As a result, a group of people can be classified as just an ethnic group if they speak a similar dialect or language, even if they are members of multiple polities like a clan, a village, or a confederation. Other factors influenced ethnic and political classification, such as geographical borders, a subsistence base that emphasized either foraging or agriculture, the presence or nonattendance of a or religious hierarchy, social , & the affection of colonial bureaucrats, among others; see Sidebar: The Distinction Between a Tribe and a Band.
Native American History: Today’s cross-cutting links between ethnicity & political organization are as complicated as they were in the past. A pre-Columbian Iroquoian speaker might have been a participant of the Cayuga, Cherokee Mohawk, Oneida,, Huron, Onondaga, Seneca, or Tuscarora nation, just as a modern speaker of a Germanic vocabulary German or English—might identity as Austrian, German, English, Irish, Scottish, Australian, American, , Jamaican, South African, Indian, or any of an amount of other nationalities And both the academical Germanic and Iroquoian speakers live or lived in layered polities or semi: families, neighborhoods’, towns, districts, and so on, each of which has some amount of autonomy in relations with the outside world. Recognizing that determining the exact number of ethnic or political organizations or polities in fifteenth-century Northern America is problematic, most researchers prefer relative rather than absolute enumeration of these entities.
Native American History: The diversity of North American Indian language is remarkable—at the time of contact, there were more than 50 language families in North America, with between 300 and 500 languages. Western Europe only had two language groups (Indo-European & Uralic) so between 40 & 70 languages at the time. To put it another way, if scholarly traditions are followed and ethnicity is defined by languages, Native America was far more varied than Europe.
Native American History: The majority of indigenous American political organizations were consensus-based. Leaders rose to power under such systems in reaction to a specific need rather than obtaining a fixed level of control. The Southeast and Northwestern Coast Indians had exception to this general norm, as they lived in hierarchical communities with distinct main classes. When compared to European communities of comparable size, native American polities were extremely independent, regardless of the manner of organization.