Regionalization of the North American Natives


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The regionalization of the Native Americans also helped to create the hunting industry, both on land and in the sea. The Indians in the Plains region became excellent hunter-gatherers because of their lack of resources but wild animals. The Mandans, a tribe located in present-day Montana, used the bison around them for “not only food but clothing, shelter, implements, and other additions” (89).

They needed to make maximum use of their land’s limited resources and they did this by making each animal worth the kill. Adding the buffalo to their culture allowed their ideas to spread much quicker, and soon reached the people of the United States. It was easy to see that the buffalo was important and of great use as it had so much value among the tribes, so the new settlers quickly used them for their personal gain. For some time after 1492, the Plains were then filled with hunters looking to kill buffalo for their pelts and then to sell them, all because regionalization forced natives to embrace the versatility of the species. This is similar to how the natives would hunt for whales in cold-watered areas, especially the Northwest and Alaska.

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On a regular basis, tribes would sail in boats ““pursuing whales and fur seals in the open ocean, harpooning them, and bringing them back to their villages to be butchered and have their blubber rendered into oil” (53). This practice was passed down and still used in 1492 with centuries of improvisation by their ancestors, indicating that they had a complete understanding for how to use all parts of the whale. Later, people in the United States would whale in similar regions only to obtain their oil that would be used for light around the country. It was in high demand, therefore generating large amounts of money; however, if it weren’t for the natives doing the same thing they would have not known how to hunt the animal properly, how to use its materials, or even where to find them. In other words, Indians were the first to use the whale’s oil after they perfected their hunting abilities, then introduced it to others once they incorporated it in their lives. The hunting industry was thus created with the help of the Native Americans because their ideas and experience allowed Americans to exploit materials generated from the animals embedded into their culture.

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