In the words of historian Gerald Danzer, "History is a great integrating discipline." It helps us realize that things do not exist in isolation or at random. It puts things together. It helps us see life as a whole.
"We Have a Great Deal to Learn..."
As you watch the last video in this lesson, consider the overall status of the more than 500 unique Native American cultures that inhabited the North American landscape prior to European contact in 1490s. What is the legacy of the indigenous peoples of ancient America?
Lesson Study Questions
To evaluate your understanding of the lesson topics and prepare for tests, consider how you would answer these questions:
- Explain the following statement in reference to archaic Americans: The absence of written sources means that ancient human beings remain anonymous.
- How do we learn about cultures that did not use written languages?
- What can we learn about those cultures?
- What elements do written sources bring to our knowledge about people?
- What were the similarities of the cultures of indigenous peoples in America in 1492, and how did they differ from the culture of Europe at the time?
- Consider the adaptations to the environment in order to survive.
- Are social and political organizations similar? How did various cultures communicate?
- Contrast indigenous cultures with European technology and domesticated animals, etc.
- What were the main features of the Mexica culture prior to European contact?
- What was the extent of their empire in the Americas?
- How was their society structured?
- What role did tribute play in their empire?
- Describe and explain the characteristics of the pre-Columbian indigenous cultures that existed in the Pacific Northwest, the California coastal region, the Southwest, the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast, and the Northeast. What is the legacy of these cultures?
- Consider how the environment affected the economy of each culture.
- How did they organize their communities?
- Identify at least one feature of each culture.
- What can we learn from them?
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