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Changes in the Land by William Cronon

            Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion states, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." In life everything one does has a positive or negative effect on the surrounding population and environment. This is evident in the European conquest of New England. In order for one to understand how the conquest caused distinct changes to the culture and ecology of the native population and land one must first understand how the New England natives and environment functioned before the Europeans landed, how the European settlements functions differed the natives ideals and culture, and what effects European conquest had on the native people and the land. .
             The native population, often referred to as Indians, can be split into two different groups based on their locations in New England and customs. While both groups lived a life based on sustenance how they gained this is the key factor differentiating them. The Northern Indians were a hunting-and-gathering society while the Southern Indians relied mainly on agriculture. Both were nomadic which contributed greatly to the way they lived, and it was this mobility along with other practices that caused the pre-European environment to have such a surplus of wildlife. Practices such as: planting maize with other crops like kidney beans, squash and tobacco; setting places where they had settled ablaze once they departed; and choosing to starve rather than deplete the environment of more than was needed were common among Indian tribes. Trade and other such ideas were not very vital to the Indians since everything they needed was provided by nature. Trade, specifically money (wampum), was saved for the elite and used to gain alliances and trust. Also, their definition of ownership was based off of their life of sustenance. To an Indian, one owned only what was in their immediate possession. The ecology of New England before the European conquest was a lush paradise full of wildlife during the spring and summer months but a harsh one during the winter.

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