3 Native Americans (America's first inhabitants)

Your job with your group ( 3 or 4 maximum): "You are a journalist on an American TV channel. Interview Native Americans". Grammar: past, future, ago, ..for / ..since, have to , be able to (3 lessons with this one).

Origins: the first settlers

The correct names are "Native Americans" or "The First Nations" (because the "Indians" live in India, don't they ?). Native Americans were America's first inhabitants. They have been living on the American continent for a very long time. Their ancestors arrived from Siberia and Asia a very long time ago (maybe 24.000 years ago). They were able to move from Asia to America because there was ice. Groups of hunters followed and hunted animals (mammoths, reins, etc). They discovered (and settled) an immense continent where nobody lived ...

Native American tribes settled everywhere on the continent. Some names are very familiar on this map !

A new continent

The map shows the names of the different tribes (= groups) of Native peoples. They spread out on the vast continent and they discovered different animals and climates all over the continent. They had no choice: they had to adapt (= they were obliged to adapt) and new cultures "were born".

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Watch this video (3.02)

Problems

Diseases were brought by Europeans (the Spanish first, then the English). Diseases wiped out many Native American tribes.
And the English settled on the east coast (the 13 original colonies). They wanted more land inside the new continent ...

19th century: the total wipe out.

Europeans have been living in the USA for about 350 years. In the 19th century, people moved en masse from Europe to the USA. The new country gave people jobs, and the territories in the west were a good opportunity. New settlers came from Europe: they had diseases, alcohol, firearms, trains: Native American tribes were not able to resist (= they couldn't resist) ! Many of them were destroyed, wiped out.

As you can see on the map, native lands diminished (= shrank), because White people took them. Of course, treaties were signed between Whites and Indians, but White people always broke them (= never respected them).

The native territories shrank from the beginning of White people's arrival.

The situation today

Negative aspects:

Native Americans have been living with problems since White people came ! Today, the situation is not very good for Native tribes in the USA. They are about 2% of the USA's total population. It is a minority. Many tribes are poor (they are the poorest people of the USA). A lot of them face problems like alcoholism, suicide, no education for the children, etc.

Look at this map: it shows (in orange and green), where Native people now live in the USA. They live in reservations: special territories given by the US government. Can you locate Pine Ridge reservation ? It is the poorest part of the USA (watch the 3 photos taken in Pine Ridge reservation) ....

Positive aspects:

To conclude this story, let's see the positive sides for today's Native Americans. Many tribes are proud of being "Indians". They have been re-discovering their past history for about 30 years now and they revive it. They re-learn the old languages (they ask the old persons in their tribe), they re-play their ancient music and they go to pow-wow (big meetings for all tribes of the USA). They also open museums to show people how they lived in the past. Young Native Americans go to school and university.

Created By
Thierry Raguier
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