Paleo Indians

Published on September 14, 2011 by Amy

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American Indian Life in the Paleo Indian Period
American Indian Life in
the Paleo Indian Period

Archeologists think that the Paleo Indians, sometimes referred to as the Clovis People, were among the first to inhabit the Americas. This ancient tribe appeared in our continent at the end of the last Ice Age, entering the continent from Asia. Their name, Paleo, actually comes from the Greek word “palaios,” meaning ancient. They inhabited the southwestern United States and northern Mexico between 10,000 and 40,000 years.

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Although they were here longer than all other following cultures combined, they left very little records of their lives. Archeologists have very little to go by as to the Paleo Indians beliefs, religion, language, celebrations, ceremonies, mournings, and culture such as dance and family relationships. They became extinct about 9,000 years ago, taking with them their secrets of their life.

Although little is known about the culture of the Paleos, archeologists have formulated a few ideas on the lives of Paleo Indians. Like many tribes, it is believed that the Paleo Indians were nomadic people who primarily were hunters-gatherers. They traveled in tribes of between 20 and 50 people, carrying their belongings on their back. They often sought shelter in caves, but occasionally built crude shelters from brush and animal skin. They decided where to camp depending on where the animals, such as mastodons, caribou, bison, and mammoths, were.

When they first began hunting, they probably trapped smaller animals. But they are known for inventing spears with stone points that could be thrown by using an atlatl, but before they created spears,. A tribe of Paleo Indians may have even worked together to herd larger game over a cliff, killing it for food. In addition to the game they trapped or killed, the Paleo Indians also ate seeds, fruits, roots, and possibly even insects. They used animal skin and plants for clothing.

Because archeologists have found stone points in different areas of the continent, it is believed that the different bands communicated, perhaps even trading among each other.

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