Life & English: The first residents of America probably came from Asia

Most Native American groups believe their people were always in America. However, the first residents of America probably came from Asia. At least 14,000 years ago, they walked from Asia to North America. At that time, the two continents were connected by land, between what is today Alaska and Northeast Asia. Today, the land-bridge that connected the two continents is covered by the Bering Sea. It seems that the process of globalization began 14,000 years ago.

Many Native American ways of life were connected to the natural world. Before the arrival of Europeans, the natural world provided Native Americans everything they need to live. They live in homes made of wood and plant material from forests. Their diet was a mix of crops grown in the soil and meat gathered by hunters on the prairies. Even their tool were made of stone, wood and animal bone that could be found close to home.

Native Americans with their traditional dresses

Religious beliefs were a part of everyday life for Native Americans. They believed that spirits live in the world around them and help shape their life. They performed rituals to win the favor of these spirits. A warrior would seek the help of spirits before he went into battle. A farming village would ask spirits to deliver a good harvest… Most of them believed in one supreme being that watched over the world.

Native American taught their children the skills they would need as adults. Boys learned to use bows and arrows to hunt. Teenage boys might perform dangerous acts, like diving into icy water. Girls learned to help their mothers with cooking, sewing and other tasks. When a girl became a teenager, she might leave her village to live by herself for several days the visited by older women who helped teach her about life as a woman. Their life was friendly with the natural world.

Quy Minh

Reference: “Illinois Native Peoples” by Andrew Santella, Heinemann State Studies

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