Native Peoples of the Americas (Learn and Explore) by Anthony L. Green

By Anthony L. Green

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However, its influence among the Eskimo endures to the present. 23 24 THE ARCTIC The Granger Collection, New York were the southern Yupik and the Aleut. They got nearly all their food by fishing and hunting sea mammals. The Aleut also gathered shellfish and wild plant foods such as berries. Settlements and Housing Most Arctic peoples spent the winter in well-insulated houses built partly underground. The houses were made of stone or sod over a framework of timber or whalebone. In Alaska, except for the far north, they heated their homes with a central wood fire that burned beneath a smoke hole.

Women used umiaks for transporting themselves, children, the elderly, and possessions. In winter people traveled on sleds that were pulled by dogs or by both dogs and people. Arctic peoples hunted caribou and other land animals with bows and arrows. They used harpoons to kill seals and walrus, which they hunted either from shore or from kayaks. Kayak-based seal hunters often used a spear-thrower to increase the speed and force of the harpoon. An umiak used for whaling was manned by a professional crew.

Social ranking was also very prominent among the peoples of Florida. Among the Timucua, for instance, the supreme leader enjoyed a greatly elevated status and was sometimes carried around by his followers. Natchez society included strict rules for marriage and social status. In other tribes, such as the Cherokee, social rank was relatively unimportant. The practice of ranking could extend beyond individuals to include the organization of clans and towns. Member towns of the Creek Confederacy were sometimes ranked in terms of their tribal affiliations or on the basis of outcomes of ball games between towns.

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