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American History - Essay Example

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Name Professor Module Date The Early Americans The origin of man has been a subject of debate for quite a long time with some people believing in the Biblical creation, some with the scientific version while others keep faith in the traditional myths of their communities…
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Download file to see previous pages These images have a significant influence on the way students and historians perceive their past (Chrestien, 104). This paper evaluates a number of primary sources that accrue to the history of the first Americans while relating the sources in terms of their contributions to the current written history. In 1926, George McJunkin, an African-American cowboy, made a discovery that hugely changed the perception towards North America’s first natives (Johnson, 31). He spotted bleached bones while tracking lost cattle near Folsom, New Mexico but the bones were later found to belong to a bison species extinct for more than 10,000 years (Johnson, 33). The talk point of the discovery was the spearheads made of stone by humans found mixed with the bones, which meant that Indian ancestry could be traced back to thousands of years before the time thought by most of the 20th century authorities. As Johnson (48) asserts, the first Europeans who inhabited America in the 15th century believed that this was the new world but this discovery disapproved them as it was established that more that 20,000 years before, there were inhabitants in the area. There exist no documented records to affirm that diversity of societies in early America thrived, although the differences in cultural practices and languages were enough proof. In order to reshape this history, Johnson (66) believes that one has to look at the various primary sources of information, mainly archeological artifacts, which record the past behaviors of the humans. A wide range of artifacts that includes basket snippets, pottery fragments, oral traditions, discarded tools/ equipment, and food remains have been used by archeologists, anthropologists and historians to put together relevant pieces of information about the social organization, diet, and technology of these people and the changes they have gone through over time. In the 16th century, Chrestien (105) argues that Europeans believed that Indians originated from the Lost Tribes of Israel with reference to the Bible, while others associated their ancestry with the myth of the lost continent of Atlantis while another suggestion came from a Spanish missionary (Jose de Acosta) that the Indians are part of the small group of hunters that was driven away from their Asian homes by starvation and other hardships. The notion that America’s first habitats came from Asia is supported by physical anthropology. American natives and people of northeast Asia have common physical traits that form a strong line of evidence that North America was inhabited by Indians. These physical traits include (Johnson, 101); i. Straight black hair. ii. Wide cheekbones. iii. Shovel-shaped incisors. iv. Dark brown eyes. Bering Strait, which currently separates Siberia and Alaska, has been believed to be the area used by America’s pioneers to cross into North America (Johnson, 121). According to Johnson (122), this took place around 25,000 to 70,000 years ago during one of the ice ages where large volumes of water froze into glaciers creating a land bridge between Alaska and Siberia. The land bridge is believed to have appeared twice; between 26,000 and 28, 000 years ago, and between 10,000-12,000 and 20,000 years ago (Johnson, 145). It is during this period that authorities believe Indians came into America as they followed the migratory patterns of animals which were their major source of food with the aid of the Beringia (the land bridge formed from the frozen waters) (Chrestien, 105). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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