An assumption exists that the "Indians'that inhabited the Americas prior to European inhabitance were a single, primordial race. These assumptions, with an in depth look, can easily be deemed inaccurate. First, the Indian race was as heterogeneous as the continent of Europe across America. The Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, Hopi, Salish, and Iroquois tribes were as different as the French, as compared to the English or the Spanish. The idea that these tribes were primitive is inaccurate due to the data that is available about the advancements that some of these tribes had accomplished before extinction. From the tip of Nova Scotia to the depths of South America, the natives produced a vast, patchwork quilt that blanketed the continent with diversity.
The range of tribes was as different as the climates and regions with which they were given to live. The Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific N.W. were a static people that lived in villiages along the coast. This lifestyle was allowed by plentiful supply of fish and plant life, and a system of working the land using fire and other technologies (White Essay). The Iriqouis people of the Northeast were people who allowed themselves the ability to build villages and maintain their way of life in one place. Their communal lifestyle led to a politically based civilization, where villages were able to gain stability by solving internal problems (Nash, 16-8). Due to climate, and isolation each tribe was very different and obviously, due to extended sustain, each race had progressed beyond the simple people for whom history has them pegged.
The Coast Salish people are a prime example of the extent to which these native tribes were not primitive, but were able to use the land and some technology to live and prosper within their region. Their use of fire, was far beyond, the simple use of warmth and cooking. They used fire to cultivate the land, by burning the prairie land.