America before the European Invasions

Feb 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 16-3: Indigenizing Education, Media Reviews

AMERICA COVERby Alice Beck Kehoe
Longman (2002). 259 Pages
ISBN 0-8203-2354-3
Paperback $24

Review by Al Kuslikis

The story of America’s original inhabitants from their first appearance until European contact begins with relatively small migrations during the Late Pleistocene (40,000 – 10,000 years ago) and culminates with thousands of cultures and languages.

The details that usually provide the “content” of history are forever lost to us, such as the decisive battles, key alliances, or important debates that shaped the old “New World.” The archeological record, however, paints a fairly coherent picture in regrettably broad strokes.

The author draws on the work of archeologists, historians, and anthropologists to provide an account of pre-contact America by region, discussing topics such as possible migratory routes, trade relationships, social organizations, technological innovations, and ecological adaptations.

The author provides intriguing evidence of highly-developed, complex societies such as Cahokia during the Mississippian Period (900-1600 AD). This book helps fill the void of American pre-history and should find its way into tribal college libraries as well as American Indian Studies curricula.

Al Kuslikis worked and taught at Diné College for 8 years. He currently lives and works in Arlington, VA.

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