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Changes in the Land: Native Americans in New England

             Discuss Henry David Thoreau's rumination on the transformation of New England's ecology by the early 19th century. In what ways did Native Americans shape New England's ecology? Compare and contrast the food systems between the American Indian tribes of northern and southern New England. How did the Native Americans view land use and property rights? Analyze the consequences of European contact and trade for American Indians. In what ways did European diseases impact the American Indian political structure? What happened to Native Americans and their ecosystem as European began to "commodify" New England's ecology? .
             Response .
             How many times have we looked upon our own cities and towns and commented on how different old and once familiar landmarks look? The questions of "what ever happened to?" and "do you remember when?" seem to pepper our everyday conversations as we reminisce and lament upon the good old days of times past. "This I have imagine." is what Henry David Thoreau pondered as he set about cataloging the changing landscape of Walden. When we reminisce, we do so with a personal "look" brought about by our past. Our experiences and recollections are clouded by our ancestral stories, opinions and judgments. How then can we begin to separate our personal and sometimes erroneous recollections, and begin to differentiate fact from fiction? Many would say one only need to study the factual history of the subject for the answers. But factual histories are ripe with personal biases, et al experiences that have shaped the view, culture and ultimately the landscape of our life, as we know it. William Cronon, tackles this subject in his book Changes in the Land, as he explores and explains the changing landscape that Thoreau writes about using both factual/historical data combined with a fresh ecologically based approach. .
             When the Europeans first came to New England, they did so with the mindset, that America would be everything that the old world was not.

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