Many people get bored when we talk about history. Those things already happened and there is nothing else that can be done about them. However, a look at history can still give you valuable lessons just like what you’ve learned from the great Cherokee Indian named Sequoyah.

For today’s history lesson, we’ll take a look at the Native Americans in North Carolina. We’ll go through the different periods starting from the Paleoindian up to the Late Woodland period. We’ll see the lineage of the Native American people in North Carolina.

Paleoindian Period

This period is considered the oldest cultural period of Native Americans in North Carolina. It happened around 10,000 BCE. This is when the last ice age happened. At this period, the ocean levels dropped, which resulted in the exposure of land where the Native American ancestors walked on from what is presently known as Siberia to Alaska.

From Alaska, the population grew further and they spread throughout the Great Plains, Canada, and the Eastern Woodlands, where North Carolina is included. The Paleo-Indians hunted animals such as wild horses, elephants, giant bison, ground sloths, elk, moose caribou, and porcupines. Archaeologists also discovered that they also used the different parts of the animals not only for food but also for clothing and other needs. Wild plant foods as well as fish and shellfish are also part of their diet.

Archaic Period

The people who lived in the Archaic Period also used tools similar to those used by the people in the Paleoindian period. However, there were also changes. During this period the native people invented the atlatl. This is a spear, which makes it possible to hunt animals from afar. They can throw them into small game or fish.

Plants are not only used for food but also as medicine during this period. The stones are used for tools and jewelry as well. They made grooved axes, balance stones for their atlatls, awls, and fishhooks. Decorative pins are also created out of stone. This is also the period when the natives started making woven baskets.

Usually, the people traveled to find food and gather them. They also spread out to get raw materials that they use to create various tools or improve their shelter. Some of them also traded with their neighbors. Some of them may also have canoes that they created out of removing the centers of trees.

Woodland Period

Transitioning to the Woodland period from the Archaic period was when bows and arrows, agriculture economy, and pottery was introduced. They still continued to hunt and fish for food whenever it was available. It was also at this time when the bow and arrow were developed so they could hunt more efficiently.

However, they also began farming so that when winter comes they would still have enough food to last until the spring comes. They started planting and harvesting maize, gourds, squash, beans, and sunflowers.  Pottery was also developed and clay pots were manufactured. The different styles of their pots were adopted from their neighbors such as those in Tennessee and Ohio.

Archeologists have discovered that those Woodland Indians are more likely to settle in a village as compared to their earlier ancestors. There is also evidence that religious and political aspects of their lives are influenced by the Mississippians.

Mississippian Period

This period is also known as the late woodland period. There isn’t a clear distinction between when this starts and when the Woodland period ends. However, during this period, the Native Americans began practicing religious ceremonies.

At this time, the diet was mostly made of corn, beans, and squash as compared to meat. Their homes are more permanent in design and are usually in the shape of rectangles and squares.

Pottery styles became more complex and the designs were more intricate. These were used either for cooking food or as urns for their loved ones. During this period, the social hierarchy is more organized.

The Native Americans In North Carolina

Way back then, there was a great number of Native Americans living in what is now known as North Carolina. There were more than a hundred thousand but were cut to about twenty thousand as the European settlers came.

Europeans brought diseases with them like measles, influenza, and smallpox. The Native Americans didn’t have immunity against those diseases so many of them died. There were also battles that pushed the Native Americans away from their land. Some moved westward while others made treaties. Many also fought back and tried to stand their ground but many were killed in the battles and forced to move out of their land.


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