American Indian Culture Before 1763 Essay

Pages: 4 (1157 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Native Americans

American Indian Culture Before 1763

Native American society prior to 1763

The Native American society was thriving before its interaction with the Europeans, especially given that natives had a thorough understanding of how they could exploit land without risking remaining without resources. By the eighteenth century many native tribes had relocated in order to avoid clashing with European settlers. The Iroquois Confederacy (also known as the Six Nations) had taken opportunity of the fact that invading nations needed resources and organized diverse trading businesses meant to assist both their own people and settlers in their struggle to sustain themselves. From a cultural point-of-view, the Indians managed to preserve most of their cultural values, this most probably being a result of the fact that their society was largely based on them. Native American culture dominated the way that Indian-Americans behaved previous to their encounter with the Europeans, as they mainly focused on respecting four concepts: the environment, the Great Spirit, people, and personal freedom.

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Although modern-day society largely promotes the idea that the American Continent was discovered by Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus, it is absurd to consider that someone is capable to discover something that had already been discovered many millennia before. There were several millions of individuals living in the "New World" at the time when the Spanish came across it. These people were organized in diverse groups that developed cultures and habits characteristic to the areas that they lived in and to their society as a whole.

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Natives were primarily accustomed to earning a living through farming, hunting, and fishing (fishing was only present in the case of tribes living near coasts) before they could be influenced by their encounter with the Europeans. While men were focused on hunting and fishing, women and children took care of planting and harvesting resources such as corn and beans. Depending on their activity and on the region that they found themselves in, some tribes were nomadic. They followed animals as they traveled through the country and hunted in accordance with their needs. Even with the fact that these communities seemed primitive, they were capable to thrive and to expand their numbers rapidly.

Whereas men were recognized as being superior in regard to women because of their strength and because they were responsible for hunting, most tribes were matrilineal in character. This might be a result of the fact that women were in charge of their economies through conducting farming activities and through caring for resources. Their ability to deliver babies can also be one of the reasons for which they were respected by their communities. Children were particularly important for tribes in general and mothers were provided with special care during their pregnancy and when they gave birth. Depending on the tribe that they belonged to, children were subjected to a series of customs performed with the purpose of preparing them to face life's hardships. Even with that, mortality rates among infants were generally high because they contracted diseases or because they were too weak to make it in the harsh conditions present in Native American communities.

Children's behavior was regulated by several general laws that they had to obey in order to avoid being punished by supernatural forces. Surprisingly, native tribes seldom employed physical violence in trying to punish children, as they would rather verbally penalize them when they did something bad. The community hoped that through observing the behavior of adults in their group, children would learn more… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"American Indian Culture Before 1763."  Essaytown.com.  September 24, 2011.  Accessed April 13, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-indian-culture-1763/344356.