Native American Culture Areas c. 1500


Map Code: Ax01397

Native American cultures vary significantly across the North American continent, with many aspects of individual tribal cultures being determined by different environmental conditions and landscapes. North America can be split into ten different cultural areas, although some scholars consider certain regions such the two Eastern Woodlands regions to be one, whilst others differentiate tribes such as those of the Great Lakes, considering them as a distinct unit. The arid desert environments of the Great Basin, and to a lesser extent the Southwest where agriculture was more sustainable, favoured a nomadic foraging lifestyle that resulted in the formation of smaller less organized social groups. The Northwest Coast region by comparison was abundant in food resources and could support higher population densities, with less need for agricultural development. The Native American culture of the Great Plains area was revolutionized by the introduction of horses by Europeans, which allowed the native populations to hunt bison much more effectively.

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