chapter  1
15 Pages

First Americans

WithAlice Beck Kehoe

The Americas were initially populated during the Pleistocene Ice Age. Many descendants of America’s First Nations consider their religious traditions, that they originated in a spiritual realm connected to this world, to be sufficient knowledge for the question of earliest population. Cautious anthropologists accept Clovis mammoth hunters as the first humans to inhabit North America, and make no guesses on what language the hunters spoke. Clovis is interpreted to have been highly skilled hunters whose nomadic way of life rapidly dispersed their families over the landscape, wherever mammoths roamed. The first humans coming into America were few, and the continent vast. Their campsites were small and apt to be either deeply buried by later soil or destroyed by erosion or historic constructions. There are “fundamentalists” among American Indians as among adherents of Western and Asian religions and, as among these others, a fundamentalist position may serve a political agenda.