Identify the Three Cultural Regions of North America Directly Preceding Colonization. Note One Group for Each Area and Describe Its Culture and the Distinctive Traits That Defined the Communities It Created.

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  • Topic: Iroquois, Wampanoag, Algonquian peoples
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  • Published : June 14, 2012
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The three cultural regions of North America directly preceding colonization would be the Iroquois, the Algonquian, and Narragansett’s. The Iroquois are a melting pot. League traditions allowed for the dead to be symbolically replaced through captives taken in the "Mourning War." They also were a mix of farmers, fishers, gatherers and hunters, though their main diet came from farming. The main crops they farmed were corn, beans and squash, which were called the three sisters and were considered special gifts from the Creator. These crops are grown strategically. When Americans and Canadians of European descent began to study Iroquois customs in the 18th and 19th centuries, they learned that the people had a matrilineal system: women held property and hereditary leadership passed through their lines. The Iroquois believe that the spirits change the seasons. Key festivals coincided with the major events of the agricultural calendar, including a harvest festival of Thanksgiving. The Great Peacemaker was their prophet. The Algonquian people of the Eastern Woodlands were hunter-gatherers, meaning they relied on collecting edible plants and hunting wild animals as their main source of food. They were too far north to rely solely on horticulture; however, some groups did farm. The people of the Eastern Woodlands became very skilled hunters and fishermen because they lived in forested areas and were usually close to water. In Eastern Woodlands society it was solely the man's responsibility to hunt and fish. The women were in charge of farming, if they did any, and gathering various wild berries, nuts, tubers and other plants to eat from nearby forests. The Narragansett were well organized with central authority. They were governed by eight hereditary sachems each subordinate to the grand sachem who usually resided in the largest village. Their villages of medium-sized longhouses were usually large, fortified and located on the islands of Narragansett Bay. They farmed...
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