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Environment and Culture in North America

Environment and Culture in North America

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Environment and Culture in North America

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  1. Environment and Culture in North America

  2. Culture Areas • Geographic Area of “ethnic” groups with similar cultural traits.

  3. Names… • Indians • Holdover from the search by explorers for a route to the “Indies”. • Some Native Americans dislike this name. • Amerind, Native American, or First Nation also used.

  4. Names… • Names of tribes are necessarily what they called themselves. At the time of contact, some explorers used names that other groups called a specific group. • Thus, Navajo prefer Dine and Yuman prefer Quechan.

  5. Geography and Culture

  6. Environment • Biome • A larger biological community of interacting plants and animals, as exemplified by tundra or coniferous forest. • Habitat • An area of land with physical characteristics such as minerals, soils, rainfall, and temperature that affect which plants and animals live there. • Ecotone • A community of plants and animals found at the transition between biomes or other large biotic units; characterized by a mixture of species that may attract predators, including humans.

  7. N. A.Biomes

  8. Biomes • Tundra • Treeless biome • Ground frozen year round, permafrost

  9. Tundra • Frozen tarn pond in alpine tundra near Dillon, Colorado Images (c) by James L. Reveal, Norton-Brown Herbarium, University of Maryland

  10. Coniferous forest • Evergreens-pine, spruce, fir, and hemlock Images (c) by James L. Reveal, Norton-Brown Herbarium, University of Maryland

  11. Moist Temperate Forest • Mostly coastal and in low mountains (less than 9,000 ft) • Abundant precipitation, rain and snow; 25-160 in (65-400 cm). • Cool temperatures, rarely below 5° F or above 100° F; moister and cooler in the north.

  12. Temperate Deciduous Forest • Beech - maple - yellow poplar, oak - hickory, mixed pine - hardwood. • Cool /cold winters, warm summers. • Moist winters, moist summers. Photos Courtesy of Steve Nix, About Forestry

  13. Chaparral • Arid, very little rain in summer. Chaparral fire near Ensenada, Baja California Images(c) by James L. Reveal, Norton-Brown Herbarium, University of Maryland

  14. Cold Desert/Hot Desert Biome • Cold Desert-cold in winter, arid. Cold desert of the Great Basin near Lunar Crater, Nevada Images(c) by James L. Reveal, Norton-Brown Herbarium, University of Maryland

  15. Temperate Grassland • Plains, Prairies Mid-grass prairie near Manhattan, Kansas Images (c) by James L. Reveal, Norton-Brown Herbarium, University of Maryland

  16. Water Resources • Rivers, Lakes, Oceans, Sinkholes, Springs.

  17. Native American Impact on the Environment • Environment of the past dynamic. • Interglacials • Hypsithermal • Prehistoric people did impact the environment. • Clearing forests, diverting water.

  18. Culture Histories • Use of archaeological methods to construct cultural types based on culture area and artifacts. • Temporal Types • Artifacts with temporal signatures

  19. Components • Component • An archaeological unit that includes a culturally homogeneous stratigraphic or spatial unit within a site and is thought to represent a single occupation of the site.

  20. Phases • Phase • An archaeological unit consisting of several components at a number of sites defined by similar artifacts and other characteristics and found in a unique geographical area and time period; phases are thought to loosely represent cultures

  21. Horizons • Horizon • an archaeological unit that links phases based on traits of material culture that appear to have spread widely during a relatively short period of time.

  22. Tradition • Temporal continuity in material culture the archaeological unit that links phases and sites based on general attributes of material culture that persist over a long period.

  23. Culture History • PaleoIndian (Pleistocene) • Archaic (Beginning with Holocene, continuing through contact with some groups) • Woodland (ca 3000) • Mississippians, Iroquoians, Plains Village (ca 1000) • Historic Period (after contact)

  24. Culture Concepts • Band • Small, mobile groups • Wild resources • Little personal property

  25. Culture Concepts • Tribe • Larger groups, sometimes villages • Kinship groups-clans • “Big men” in some groups (NW Coast)

  26. Culture Concepts • State • Monarchy or democracy • Social Classes/castes

  27. Culture Concepts • Egalitarian • Status based on age, individual, gender • Ranked • Social position inherited, nearness to chief (or chiefs lineage)=higher status • Stratified • Sharp class distinctions

  28. Themes in North American Research • Settlement of America? • Adaptation to Environment • Food Production? • Complex Cultural Systems? • Ethnic Identities? • European settlement