These ancient mariners perhaps navigating boats

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: t east, spreading out across the continent, while others continued migrating south. Alternative Migration Theories Scholars continue to debate the origins of Native Americans. For example, in 2000, an ancient campsite known as Cactus Hill in Virginia was conclusively dated at around 18,000 years old, which was much earlier than the existing estimates of Native American arrival here. Additionally, tools that were found there resemble even older tools found in Spain 2 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 and France, which has led some archaeologists to propose that at least some of the ancestors of Native Americans came in boats across the Atlantic from Europe.1 Geneticists studying DNA propose another theory. Based on the study of DNA mutation patterns and that native Siberians lack a mutation that appears in the 6,000- 10,000 year- old skeletal remains of many Native Americans, some geneticists working with anthropologists have suggested that Native American ancestors were a group of ancient peoples moved out of China into Malaysia where they became sailors and populated the islands of the South Pacific. These ancient mariners, perhaps navigating boats across the Pacific Ocean, travelled to Central and South America. 2 As scholars make new discoveries, new theories may be proposed. Whatever the true origin of the earliest inhabitants, these people were augmented by two waves of immigrants coming from Asia around 9,000 years ago and again 7,000 years ago. These first Americans thrived in all habitable areas of the Americas and as they migrated to different regions, they adapted to the environments they found, with distinct cultures emerging as early as 4000 B.C.E. Arrival of the Europeans By the time Europeans came to North America to colonize in the 15th century, there was a thriving native population estimated from 1 to 18 million, with most recent estimates ranging from 4.5 to 10 million. The variance in the population estimation is due to the fact that when Europeans began keeping records, the native population had been drastically reduced by war, famine, forced labor, and epidemics of disease. Although determining precise population estimates now is impossible, it is indisputable that when Europeans came to “The New World,” the land was already occupied by millions of people. Although all these people were called “Indians,” the people who lived in North America were extremely diverse. Anthropologists have organized these people into 1- 2,000 different tribal nations, with almost as many languages divided into approximately 60 independent language families. In addition to not having a single language, there was not a single religion, social structure, arts tradition, or even history to bind them together. Indeed, this is part of the reason they were more vulnerable to invasion and conquest. And just as Europeans typically identify themselves as Germans, Irish, or Italians, most Native Americans refer to themselves by their tribal ancestry, such as Hopi, Cree, or Blackfoot. Thus even prior to European immigration, the area we currently call the United States was multicultural. Contact with Europeans in the Colonial Period 1 Dorfman, Andrea. “New Ways to the New World.” Time Magazine. April 17, 2000. pg .70 2 Bishop, Jerry E. “Strands of Time.” Wall Street Journal, September 10, 1993, p 1, col. 1. 3 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 Natives welcomed the first Europeans to arrive in America. They were intrigued by European white complexions, beards, and clothing styles and by the technology of sailing ships, steel knives, gunpowder, mirrors, and copper and brass cooking implements. This early friendliness soon changed, and early records include several comments...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online