Colonial Impact on Native Americans

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Native Americans before contact with Europeans were set in their ways and were fairly advanced people. There is evidence to suggest that people, such as the Anasazi were living in large city like areas but had to disperse due to long droughts and disease spreading among them. The dispersed people formed various tribes and continued to live relativity simple lives in areas that were so culturally diverse it is mind boggling, especially in the California area. There were around “40,000 Californians, who spoke 50 different languages belonging to at least six language families.”(text, 13) But after the Europeans come tribes are wiped out or forced to integrate with one another due to sickness or war depopulating the tribes, causing a less diverse Indian population that was being slowly pushed west. European colonization of North America destabilized Native American culture, causing a slow, steady, spiral into destruction.

Indians traded with the Europeans because at first they were not perceived as a threat. But unknown to the Indians, they brought something that would wipe out half of their local population within a decade. English and Dutch settlers brought smallpox with them. Most of the victims were between the ages of 15 and 40. These were the people who would do the lions share of the hunting, farming and caring for children. These were also the people who would be the next generation of leaders. The Iroquois were hit especially hard, and this led to conflict between the Iroquois and the Huron Indians. The Iroquois waged “mourning wars”. The objective of these wars was not to kill the other tribe, but integrate captives among themselves. The captives would become kin, often taking the name and place of a dead loved one. Children were the favorite targets because they were the easiest to integrate into their own society. Men were often just executed because they would not choose to integrate. These mourning wars, also known as the “Beaver Wars”, because...
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