Module 3. Our Story: Native Americans


The peoples of the Americas arrived approximately 12,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic Age. A “small” ice age left the Bering Strait frosted over, which allowed for people to cross from the continent of Asia into modern day Alaska. Over many decades, small groups of nomadic peoples traveled long distances and spread throughout the Americas, some migrating all the way to South America.

As the decades passed, the nomadic peoples settled all throughout the lands, and began farming and sedentary living approximately 8,000 – 9,000 years ago. From there, they developed into vastly different tribal groups, some creating massive civilizations that were fairly advanced for their times. These civilizations include that of Cahokia rooted along the Mississippi river, who in the height of their power had a population of up to 30,000 and trade networks that reached modern day Mexico.

For many decades, up until the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans lived in North America in relative peace and harmony. Each tribe developed a unique society based on their surrounding terrain and climate as well as familial alliances. Conflict between tribes was typically based on border disputes, but rarely large-scale political warfare.


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Our Lives: An Ethnic Studies Primer Copyright © 2022 by Vera Guerrero Kennedy and Rowena Bermio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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