chapter  10
31 Pages

First Nations of North America in the Contemporary World

WithAlice B. Kehoe

North America, like the other continents, has had a long history of human population expansion and adaptation to a variety of regional ecologies. Populations in some localities were much reduced before European settlements were initiated in numbers, but few districts could have been honestly perceived as unpopulated. The European settlement of America was a conquest driven by expanding European populations. Cultural relativism is a revolutionary restructuring of Euro-American views toward what have been competing populations. Population increase combined with leaders sophisticated in legal maneuvers and media manipulation make First Nations a political force. American First Nations were devastated by war and disease and politically submerged, but the majority have persevered as conscious ethnic groups. The North American nations that superseded indigenous nations have at last reached geographic limits that have forced Mexico, the United States, and Canada to look to internal restructuring rather than to a frontier to accommodate population demands.