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BC: The End

FC: Native Americans Past and Present

3: The Three Language Groups of Virginia The Indians tribes of Virginia were separated into three main language groups. These three language groups were the Algonquian, the Siouan, and the Iroquoian. They were different because the groups of tribes lived in different regions. The Algonquian lived mostly in the Coastal Plain region. They ate fish and shellfish. The Siouan lived in the Piedmont region and built mounds, traded goods with other Indians, and planted crops. Lastly, the Iroquoian lived in the Appalachian Plateau and the southern part of the Tidewater where they farmed and hunted. It is clear to see how different language groups could form when the tribes lived in different regions.

4: Three Indian tribes, the Paleo, the Archaic, and the Eastern Woodland, all lived in Virginia but had different lifestyles. This is mainly due to the different time periods they lived in, the change of the land over time, and the advancement of their tools. The Paleo lived about 18,000 years ago in a cold climate and in grasslands. They hunted large animals with spears and gathered nuts and berries from the plants. The Archaic Indians settled in Virginia about 7,000 years ago in a drier and warmer climate. They mainly hunted deer with advanced spears called atlatls. The Archaic also began to grow and store food and trade what they had grown. The final tribe, the Eastern Woodland, lived from 400 to 1,000 years ago. They invented the bow and arrow for hunting, grew more crops, and developed better food storage. These examples show how these tribes had different lifestyles.

6: Over the past 400 years, the English Settlers followed by the U.S. Government have affected the lives of Native Americans in Virginia. When the English arrived in the early 17 century, around 50,000 Indians were living in Virginia. Many of them died from diseases brought by the English. The tribes and the Settlers also fought over land. The areas where the Indians could live were decided through treaties like the ones in 1646 and 1677. These treaties are still honored by the Pamunkey and Mattoponi tribes, the oldest recognized tribes in Virginia. In fact, they are the only tribes that still have reservations in the state. Indian life continued to be impacted once the federal government was formed. For example, laws such as the Racial Integrity Act labeled Native Americans as colored and kept them from marrying whites and going to public schools. This law lasted from 1924 to 1967. Today, only 8 tribes in Virginia are recognized by the state and they are working to get federal recognition. Modern tribal leaders work to preserve their heritage by passing down the history to their children.

9: Many states recognize November as American Indian Heritage Month. Virginia is one of those states. In making this declaration, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell says we shouldn't just remember Native American history, but we should also celebrate and expand the role of Native Americans in our modern day lives. Right now, 6 out of 11 states recognized tribes are still seeking federal recognition. Governor McDonnell encourages state and tribal governments to work closely with each other. Virginia leaders also want to update the Standards of Learning archives so it will be easier for children to learn about Native Americans. By focusing on Native Americans during this month, I think children will continue to learn about how important they are in our society.

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  • By: amanda g.
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  • Title: Blank Canvas
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