Northwest Coast/Southwest Native Americans development was shaped by the environment in which they lived. However, the later cultural organization of their community and the subsequent modernization modified their lifestyles to fit in the fast changing environment. Arguably, this was due to their primitive approach to exist under the forces of the natural system. Though analysts have differed on the history of the native Americans, the debate is justified to shift the major focus to the period before the arrival of Captain James Cook in the colonial era.
Arguably, the history of the native Americans is rich and carved out of intrinsic derivation and interactive orientation that depicts human capacity to fit and develop with time (Martin & Mike, 104-15). Over view This paper explores the natives of the Northwest Coast/Southwest America with an aim of examining their adaptive capacity during this early period of time. The paper evaluates the environmental consideration of these regions and the resilient impacts that carved and fixed the natives to easily adapt.
Describing the adaptations, the paper traces the changes that have occurred over time to ensure the continued ability for success by the communities. To add to that, it looks at how the kinship form of cultural organization assisted the natives in assuming the adaptations during that period. Finally, the paper gives a comparison between kinship that was used by the natives and the later family systems which was brought by the colonial masters and widely applied globally. Historical background of Northwest Coast/Southwest America
Native Americans of Northwest Coast/Southwest are the people who lived in these regions at an estimated time of about 20, 000 years before the arrival of the Europeans to the “new lands”. They are believed to have come to the region through the Bering Strait along the Pacific Coast. Most of the tribes were of Indian origin and included Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian of the Southeast Alaska and Nuxalk and Kwakiut who occupied the regions around the mouth of Coola River in the present day British Columbia. Others tribes of the Northern coast included Nookta, Mkah, Quileute and Quinalt.
Towards the Southwestern regions, the communities included Hohokam of the desert who bore the later descendants Pima and Tohono. Other tribes included the Hopi and the Athapaskan tribes who inhabited the present day Utah and Colorado (Martin & Mike, 170-15). While retaining the essentials of “Indianness,” the native tribes adapted to the regional extremes of the temperatures, rugged mountains, the deserts, prairies and woodlands found in the North America continent. Notably, the environment was very natural and unexploited giving them vast opportunities and challenges for coexistence.
While the North was for the better period of the year under extreme low temperatures, the south west was a hot zone with extensive temperatures. Specialized adaptations in relation to the environment and changes with time a) Food Following the extreme temperatures of the Northwest Coast, the people relied on the sea as opposed to the land which was freezing most of the time. Therefore, they moved closer to the sea which was warmer due to hydrodynamics of the sea. The community relied on the food from the sea, the beaches and the rivers. To add to that, sea clubs, were easily dug from the sea shore and the sea lions hunted with ease.
Nuu-chah-nulth (Nukta) hunted the whales in the open seas. Assimilated from their Indian culture, plants supplemented their diet and for medicinal purposes. On the other hand, the Southwestern America natives developed strong inclination to hunting and gathering of the vast wildlife that existed in the region. However, they relied on small animals like rabbits due to their primitive hunting tools and techniques. b) Clothing According to Carolyn (338-341), clothing was one of the great adaptations that the native people assumed as a direct response to the environmental conditions of the region.
Notably, the Northern parts were very cold and people had to assume heavier modes of covering as opposed to the hotter Southern parts. Therefore, use of leather and fur coats from the animals was the main form of clothing for all the people due to its ability to keep them warm. However, this clothing was reinforced with inner bark of the cedar tree which made it water tight. Though analysts continue to differ on the initial development of these clothing, they tend to agree that the Indians had less difficulty in developing these garments.
On the other hand, the Southerners clothing system development was slow due to the higher temperatures which never necessitated urgency for the same. These models were however referred to be highly primitive by the arrival of the Europeans. c) Shelter and transportation As indicated earlier, Native tribes in America had to adapt to the extreme conditions of weather in their areas of occurrence. Northwestern region had high rainfall that fell throughout the year and extensive ice covered the ground.
Therefore, they exploited the massive vegetation of Fir, Spruce, and Cedar trees to construct their shelters to resist the frost low temperature impacts. Using these logs, the men created plank houses. Notably, the shelters were placed near the fishing grounds to ease the movement of their food. The shelters were also located beyond the forest which acted as the main ecotome from the hostile moving ice in the higher regions. Notably, there were few threats to them in the shelters as most of the animals kept away from the region due to the extreme low temperatures.
Towards the Southern region, the Hohokam and the Athapaskan mainly dwelt in caves which they considered much safer from the vast hostile wild animals like the jaguar and the buffaloes (Edgar, 160-163). Arguably, transportation by the sea was easy to adapt to as Indians had traveled long distances before settling in America. Due to most of their activities being based in the sea, its use had to further develop. Tree logs were carved to give a groove which held several people during fishing and movement from one section to others.
With time, it was assimilate as part of the major sport for the young people. However, inland transport was mainly on foot but later supplemented with animal rides especially the lama and the donkeys. With the arrival of the colonialists, most of the traditional systems were halted as they were referred to be highly primitive. Whereas most of the previous organization was mostly on kinship and communal consideration, individual family system was forced to them. To add to that, modern hunting systems using hooks, traps, nets and guns was assimilated.
Notably, it made life easier in the hostile regions as it reduced the time taken to hunt and raised warmth in the cold regions. To add to that, food preservation systems changed to assimilate modern consideration which raised the length of time that the food took before it went bad. Kinship as a facilitating component for these adaptations Most of the historians argue that the success of the environmental adaptations was greatly boosted by the social and political organization of the native communities during this early period a connotation which is very true.
Through kinship, the local organization assumed orderly demands that saw the local reorganization and directing tune towards addressing the immediate problems. Most of the adaptive demands like construction of planks, became much easier. From their prior paleo-Indian derivation, kinship brought them together as a cooperating entity where better systems of shelter, fishing, gathering, food preservation, and general survival was based on community groups roles. Through kinship, historians argue that hunting skills were easily developed.
After understanding the spawning seasons for the salmon fish, it was the kinship that decided on the new system where fences were built across rivers to tap them. Besides, burning skills to flash out animals was adopted as a hunting skill and a system to enhance vegetation regeneration. This was linked with the latter extinction of animals like mammoth in the native community regions. Of greater importance was trade that was done with orders of the leaders. Notably, new clothing like leggings and mittens that were warmer easily got to the natives and reduced the low temperatures impacts to them (Edgar, 297-302).
Similarities in kinship and family system. Family and Kinship system share various aspects that are mainly inclined to their consideration for the involved parties. In both systems there is a general consideration of traditional orientation and interlink which defines and dictates the behavior of the members. Therefore, the systems form a direct indication of derivative identity but at different levels. Both systems indicate forms of community organization where the kinship represents the larger and outer networks that may be extended to include the community social order.
The family system operates for the same goal but at a smaller unit which include the parents and children. Finally, the systems indicate a societal consideration for division of roles between the different members and stakeholders (Margaret, 64-66). In the family, the roles of the man, woman, and kids are very different while the societal consideration requirements of the different subgroups is equally variant. Conclusion Northwest Coast/Southwest Native Americans development was shaped and mapped by the immediate environment as well the kinship organization model.
It was through this adaptation that the current America was derived from. Though referred as a primitive form of operation, the natives effectively interlinked and explicitly assumed later demands to carve the effective niches that saw their subsequent improvement in their ways of life. Of greater importance was the direct consideration of the later impacts that the colonial rulers had after their entry in 15th century to the new lands. However, the old systems still persisted to reflect the original ideals of habitation. Work cited page
Carolyn, Merchant, The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Edgar, Hewett, Ancient Life in the American Southwest. Washington: Kessinger Publishing, 2005. Gary, Graham, Richard Matson & Quentin Mackie, Emerging from the mist: studies in Northwest Coast culture history. Otawa: UBC Press, 2005. Margaret, Andersen, Howard Taylor, Sociology: understanding a diverse society. New Jersey: Cengage Learning, 2005. Martin, Bell & Mike Walker, Late Quaternary environmental change: physical and human perspectives. New York: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005.Sample Essay of AssignmentExpert.com