Today Native Americans are recognized as a sort of holdover from an earlier era in American history when there was not a structured national government and Europeans had not yet infiltrated the mainland…
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Today Native Americans are recognized as a sort of holdover from an earlier era in American history when there was not a structured national government and Europeans had not yet infiltrated the mainland. It is almost a secondary insight that this culture and these individuals were the first to grace the lands of this continent, and that there place here for hundreds if not thousands of years had been preserved through their owns laws and means of existence. One must take a second to consider that the Native American tribesman on this continent were not simply savages run amok in a continent of abundance, but a developed civilization and people that had developed laws, bonds, and forms of living that had functioned to support their tribes and people for a long amount of time. With European exploration and expansion into the new world came a variety of substantial changes that would forever alter the lives of these people. This essay considers these changes and what they meant for life before and after European expansion. While it would be a major generalization to state that there was a single type of life Native Americans enjoyed before European contact there are a number of thematic elements that one can identify as being indicative of their pre-Columbus lifestyle. When considering the lifestyles of these various cultures it is most effective to think in terms of groups of Native American societies residing throughout North America during this period. One of the major of such cultures was referred to as the Clovis Culture (Wilson 2000). This culture enjoyed big-gaming hunting throughout the Mid-western regions of what would become the United States and New Mexico. They fashioned many crude forms of tools and designed advanced weaponry in the form of spears and arrow points. Another major culture of the pre-Columbus era was the Paleoindian culture (Wilson 2000). This tribe occupied regions of the Great Plains and Great Lakes and much like the Clovis culture fashioned weaponry from natural surroundings as a means of procuring food through hunting the abundant forests and land areas that had remained untouched by European hunters. In these regards, some of the most prominent aspects of this era in their history was the abundance in foodstuffs and hunting material. These cultures were able to freely roam the countryside without significant worry or threat from outside nations. The expansive nature of the continent was such that while there were internal conflicts of Native American tribes, they was still no shortage of food or land; it was clear that this abundance was one of the central aspects of the pre-Columbus era in Native American culture. After the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century there was a marked shift in the cultural lives of Native Americans. While it would be superfluous to say that in large part the change did not benefit these tribes, at the beginning there was mixed types of interaction between Native Americans and Europeans. Perhaps the most seminal tale of this cultural mixing occurred during the Native American interactions with the Pilgrims where there was positive interaction and a sharing of knowledge and foodstuff with the newly arrived colonists. Still, for all the positive interaction that occurred, there was an abundantly larger amount of negative consequences. In large part the colonial influence carried with it warfare and genocide. Rather than attempting to meld and live peacefully within the Indian tribes the colonists choose to implement their significant military force and advanced technology to overtake the Indians land and resources. In addition to these factors, the Europeans carried with them foreign diseases that the Native Americans had yet to develop resistance to, resulting in widespread infection among the Indian populations. As is indicated, European influence greatly altered the lives of many Native Americans for the worse. While previously Native American t
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