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3.1. Native Americans

Today the people once called American Indians prefer to be called Native Americans. This name reminds us that they were the first people to live in America. They helped the Pilgrim Fathers a lot. The Indians gave the white settlers food which was probably the most important thing at that time. Indian foods and methods of planting, hunting, and fishing helped the settlers to survive in their new home. Two of the most important crops in the world today - Indian corn and white potatoes - were first planted by American Indians. Indians helped the settlers by introducing them to Indian utensils, clothing, methods of transportation. They include canoes, dog sleds, hammocks, pipes, rubber balls, snowshoes, moccasins, parkas.

The influence of Indian culture is quite evident in American English. Thousands of mountains, lakes, rivers, cities and states have Indian names Ohio, Chicago, Saratoga, Massachusetts, Mexico, Montana, as well as common nouns tobacco, skunk, moose, canoe, etc.

Although the Indians helped the European settlers in many ways, the latter did not treat the natives in the same way. They soon began to cheat them, to seize their lands. The whites did not respect Indian culture. As a result of this, the Native Indians and white settlers became bitter enemies. They were doomed to defeat since the white settlers had guns and bullets, while the Indians had bows and arrows.

As early as 1786, the US government began setting aside special territories (called reservations) for the Indians. They were pushed onto these lands which were the worst lands (mostly in the Northwest and Southwest). During the middle of the 19th century they were kept in the reservations and forbidden to leave them without permission. Today there are about 267 reservations for the Native Indians. When Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, there about 700,000 Indians living in the area that later became the initial USA. By 1890, as a result of white cruelty, poverty and poor living conditions the Indian population has decreased to about 240,000.

Now most Indians live in the Southwest Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico and California. On the reservations traditional Indian customs have survived. Tourist visit these reservations to observe the Indian way of life.

Date: 2015-01-02; view: 365

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