Indian American culture in the midwest prior to the arrival of Europeans

According to anthropologists and archaeologists, the Native Americans, also known as American Indians are virtually immigrants too. They came to North America through Berlingia land bridge between Asia and America (it’s said there was once really an ice bridge) about 12,000 years ago. And the most interesting thing is that, according to the study of ancient Indians sculls by scientists, these people display good affinities with the population as diverse as the Ainu of Japan, peoples of central Asia, Australasia, India, southwest Asia, even the Neandertals of Europe.
By the time Christopher Columbus arrived in North America and gave them the name Indian in 1492, Native Americans had developed a pretty big population in this vast land, estimated as 1 million to 18 million, scattering all over the North America. There were many different tribes which belong to several main cultures and societies. In Midwestern America the Indian Americans had experienced three main periods before the arrival of the European arrived in 17th century. Paleoindian cultures was the earliest one, occupied North America, with some restricted to the Great Plains and Great Lakes of the modern United States of America and Canada, as well as adjacent areas to the west and southwest from about 12,000B.C. to around 8,000 B.C. These people moved into North America when the continental glaciers of the last great ice age, the Wisconsin glacier period, began to melt. Following the Paleo-Indian period is the Archaic period (8,000 B.C to 1,000 B.C), the Woodland Tradition(1,000B.C to 100 A.D) and the Mississippi Period (900 to 1600 A.D). Archeological evidence indicates that Mississippi culture probably began in the St.Louis, Missouri area and spread northwest along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and entered the state along the Kankakee River system. It also spread northward into Indiana along the Wabash, Tippecanoe, and White rivers.
Mississippi period was characterized by a mound-building culture. The main trait was their construction of large, truncated earthwork pyramid mounds, or platform mounds. Domestic houses, temples, burial buildings were usually constructed on the tops of such mounds. In the middle west of America, which usually refers to Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, and maybe also Iowa and Missouri, there were resided by many Mississippi Mound tribes before the European explorers arrived. Mississippi Mound people were mostly farmers and they followed the rich, flat floodplains of Indiana rivers. They brought with them a well-developed agricultural complex based on three major crops—maize, beans, and squashes. Corn was the primary crop of Mississippi farmers. They gathered a wide variety of seeds, nuts, and berries, fished and hunted for fowl to supplement their diets. With such an intensive form of agriculture, Mississippi Mound culture supported a large Indian population in Indiana.
The tribes living around the great lakes area were mainly Hurons; Ottowas; Chippewas or Ojibwas; Potawatomis; Winnebagos; Menominees; Sacs; Foxes; and Miamis. Most numerous probably were the Hurons and Chippewas. The Foxes and Menominees were fewest in numbers. Fighting and battle were often launched between tribes, and some tribes had to keep moving around.
In 16th century before the arrival of Europeans, the vast land of Midwest America were the homelands of numerous Indian tribes, they were mostly Ojibwas, Potawatomis, Winnebagos, Menominees, Sacs, Foxes, and Miamis. They used projectiles and tools of stone, bone and wood to hunt and farm. They could made canoes for fishing. Most of them lived in oval or conical wigwams that could be easily moved away. Different tribes had different living way. Ojibwas were primarily hunters and fishing was important in the Ojibwas economy; other tribes such as Sac, Fox, and Miami, who wondered in the south and southwestern section of the Great Lakes region, did both hunting and farming to make living. They were oriented toward the open prairies where they engaged in communal hunts for buffalo. In the northern forests, the Ottawas and Potawatomis separated into small family groups for hunting; the Winnebagos and Menominees used both hunting methods interchangeably. They have built up a Widespread trade networks extending as far west as the Rockies, north to the Great Lakes, south to the Gulf of Mexico, and east to the Atlantic Ocean.
American Indians in this area didn’t develop a written form of language yet. Each tribe spoke its own language, belonging to one of three main language families. The Hurons spoke an Iroquoian language; the Winnebago spoke Siouan and the other tribes’ language belonged to the large Algonquian family. The Hurons reckoned descent through the female line, while the others favored the patrilineal method. All tribes were governed under chiefdoms or complex chiefdoms. For example, Hutons were divided into matrilined clans, each represented by a chief in the town council, where they met with a town chief on civic matters. But Chippewa people’s social and political life was simpler than that of settled tribes.
The religious believes varied between tribes. Hurons believed in Yoscaha, a supernatural being who lived in the sky; he was believed to have created the world and the Huron people. At death, Hurons thought the soul left the body to live in a village in the sky. Chippewas were a deeply religious people, they believed in the Great Spirit. They warship the Great Spirit through all their seasonal activities. They took the religion as a private matter: each person’s relation with his personal guardian spirit was part of his thinking every day of life. Ottawa and Potawatomi people had very similar religious beliefs to that of the Chippewas.
Indian people were well known for their faithfulness and royalty. They were friendly and generous to outsiders, though fighting and battles sometimes happened between tribes.

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