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America Before Columbus

            Essay #1 (The attitudes of Native Americans toward the land and nature).
             Native Americans respected the land they used and employed elements of nature to their culture. They were, at first, a generally nomadic people and their movements exposed them to different land types, climates and wildlife. Indians were able to successfully adapt to each condition, and eventually developed a system of agriculture. Since they used the land as a lifeline, they worshipped gods that represented different elements of nature. However, nature could be quite frightening, and they had frequent ceremonies thanking various spirits that helped them with harvests, as well as rituals used for warding away ghosts or evil spirits. Examining the agricultural habits of early natives is a good way to start explaining the connection between the Indians and nature. .
             Archaic North Americans lived off of the land, as did Native Americans after them. They didn't focus on big game, rather the smaller mammals, fish and wild plants. They were able to use their resources effectively, and pack more people into smaller areas. One village near Kampsville, Illinois, was able to support 100-150 people because its inhabitants knew when to fish and find mussels from the local lakes. It was a permanent village that thrived from 3900 to 2800 BC not only because of the shellfish from the lakes, but also because of the game, birds, nuts and seeds available in the surrounding area.
             Native people in the Northwest resided in villages of about 100 people. They settled near large oak groves and spent time processing acorns. They used the acorns and its properties for food. They ground them into meal, leached them of their tannic acid, then roasted, boiled or baked the nuts. The acorns, as well as the abundant resources of game, fish and plants helped the Indians in California prosper. Native Americans knew how to get what they needed from the land, and didn't waste their resources.

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