Decline in the Influence of Native Americans

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, United States Pages: 2 (650 words) Published: October 29, 2013
In “The Indians New World” by James Merrell, he talks about how “after 1492 native Americans lived in a world every bit as new as that confronting transplanted Africans or Europeans.” Merrell argues that after the Europeans and Africans came to America, all three cultures shared a history in what would become the colonies, and eventually the United States. To help to prove his point, Merrell uses the Catawba Nation of the Carolina’s as an example of how all three of these cultures were intertwined. All three cultures suffered hardships and all three involved the creation of a new niche in the Americas. The Catawba suffered from sickness that devastated their population. In some instances, all of the elder generations were wiped out. The loss of their elders went hand in hand with the loss of traditions that had yet to be passed on to younger generations. Ceremonies, ancient rites and other cultural traditions were lost. In some instances, the Catawba did ceremonies without knowing the meaning behind any of the ceremony. In addition to losing their long held traditions, many Native Americans also lost their ancestral lands. Because of the loss of such a large number of their population, different cultures of Native Americans hand to blend together and settle in new areas. When this happened, the Native Americans lost knowledge about where the best game was and where the best soil was. When the colonists came to America, it became a new world for the indigenous peoples as well.

In Neal Salisbury’s “The Indians’ Old World” he states that the indigenous peoples already had an advanced society before the arrival of European colonists. Salisbury mentions how in the Americas there was a cornucopia of different languages, economies and political systems. One notable culture that disappeared before the arrival of Europeans was the Mississippian culture, and in particular the Cahokia. The Cahokia made elaborate residences and burial sites. At its peak, the Cahokia had...

Cited: - Merrell, James. The Indians New World. Of Major Problems in American History Volume I, 3rd ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2011.
- Salisbury, Neil. The Indians’ Old World. Of Major Problems in American History Volume I, 3rd ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2011.
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