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By | March 2013
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IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE IN NATIVE AMERICAN SOCIETY

Throughout the history of the people who resided and lived off of the land of North America, there has been a direct correlation between agricultural and economic development. In many early societies, farming was the primary source of food. Over time, farming techniques increased, which led to more production. Trading was used to pass along surplus food. This allowed for smaller groups to be adjoined by the trade routes and share cultural practices. Also, due to areas of higher yields of crops, unbalanced wealth throughout communities began to develop and the first rulers of lands were derived from these wealthier areas. Agriculture and the need to constantly develop the lands for farming are proven to have had a clear relation to societal and economic growth for the Native Americans.

Scientific findings show that the earliest Americans, called Paleo-Indians, arrived from northeastern Asia as early as 13,000 B.C.E. These people fed on mostly marine life, birds, small mammals and wild plants. At that time the plants were not used necessarily as a food source as much as they were used for their healing abilities. There is an old Native American tradition that states, “in the old days the beasts, birds, fishes, insects, and plants could all talk, and they lived together in peace and friendship”. (Boyer et al. 2011) Over time, man killed animals for food and for their skins. After many meetings of the animals about the unfair treatment by man, they decided that diseases would be created to pay revenge on man. The plants, however, who were always friendly to man, would defeat the animals’ evil designs. “Each Tree, Shrub, and Herb, down even to the Grasses and Mosses, agreed to furnish a cure for some one of the diseases named.” (Boyer et al. 2011) This began man’s interest in plants and the need for them increased over time.

Following the Ice Age, around 4000 B.C.E, and as Earth’s temperatures began to rise,...

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