Native American Cultural Regions

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First Migrations into North America

First Migrations into the Americas

Lesson Plans by Liane Hicks

People lived in North America for thousands of years before the arrival of the European colonizers. The paths of the migration of the First Americans 13,000 years ago led them to a variety of different environments which in turn affected the thousands of different cultures and languages that developed.

First Migrations into the Americas

Storyboard Description

Native American Cultural Regions divided into 7 main regions: Eastern Woodlands, Southeast, Plains Plateau, Southwest, California-Intermountain, Northwest Coast

Storyboard Text

  • People have lived in North America for thousands of years. Different natural resources and climates affected the way the Indigenous peoples of North America lived: their clothing, homes, and what they created.
  • South of the Inuits' ice fields from Alaska to California along the Pacific Ocean. Dense forests of fir, pine and cedar trees, and flat rocky beaches. The climate is mild and rainy. Some First Nations: Tlingit, Haida, Kwakiutl, and Chinook.
  • Coast of California through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin. Environments differ greatly from the mild climate of the beaches, the extreme hot and cold of the desert, to the dense Redwood forests and the mountains. Some First Nations: Shoshones, Paiutes, Miwoks, and Pomos.
  • Southwestern states of AZ, NM, parts of CO, UT, and TX to northern Mexico. Deserts, mesas, canyons and mountains. Hot days and cold nights. Very little rainfall and vegetation. Some First Nations: Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, Yaqui, Yuma, Apaches, and Navajo (Dine).
  • In the northwestern U.S. and British Columbia, Canada between Cascade and Rocky Mountains with Columbia and Fraser Rivers. Fairly dry with little rainfall. It is very cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Flatlands as well as gorges, hills and forests near the mountains. Some First Nations: Nez Perce, Spokane, Yakama, Lillooet and Shuswap.
  • From the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains from TX through Canada. Cold winters and hot summers. Flat and treeless grassland with pronghorn antelope, deer, bear, and bison (from the late 1600s on).First Nations: Sioux, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Comanche, Lakota, Saulteaux, Ojibwe and many others.
  • From the Mississippi River to the Atlantic. Forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys, and the coast. Four seasons. Hunted animals like turkeys, deer, beavers, bears, and fish. Some First Nations: Iroquois (Cayuga, Oneida, Erie, Onondaga, Seneca, Tuscarora, & Mohawk) & Algonquian (Pequot, Shawnee, Wampanoag, Delaware, & Mohegan)
  • From Texas to the Atlantic Ocean and south from the Ohio River Valley to the Gulf of Mexico. Hot and humid with rivers, mountains, valleys, coastal plains, and swamps. They grew crops like maize, beans, squash, tobacco, and sunflower. Some First Nations: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Natchez, and Seminole
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