In this unit, you will study American Indians, learning how early cultures developed in North America.


Click on the links to read the study maps that tell about the American Indians and where they lived.

Location of Indian Settlements Locations

Geography and Climate Affect Indians Geography

Archaeology and Cactus Hill Early Discoveries

Vocabulary: Read and copy the unit vocabulary and definitions.

Archaeologist: A person who studies evidence left by early peoples in order to find out about their way of life

Artifact: Objects made by humans (ex. stone tools, weapons, baskets, carvings)

Dispersed: To go away in different directions

Environment: The natural world, within which people, animals, and plants live

Characterized: To be typical of the way a particular person or thing behaves of looks

Resources: Something that can be used as a source of help

Sod: A surface section or strip of earth with growing seeds and roots

Natural Resources: Source of wealth that occurs within nature, such as timber, fresh water, or minerals

Human Resources: The people employed in a business to complete a job or a task

Capital Resources: Money or property used for business

Shelter: Something that provides cover or protection.

Play this columns matching game to learn the vocabulary words and their definitions.
Vocabulary Matching

What do archaeologists do? Maybe you'd like to become an archaeologist, but you're not sure what that means. Click on this link for several videos from PBS that explore the world of the archaeologist. Archaeology

When did they come here? We've heard many stories of the first people to come to North America. Archaeologists are making exciting new discoveries about the arrival of these first Americans. Read the following selections to see what they've found.

(Readings Source:

The early humans crossing Siberia to Alaska on the land bridge called Beringia was the longest held theory about humans coming to North America.

Below is a discussion of what was, for many years, the earliest archaeological evidence of humans on this continent.

Clovis_and_explan.jpgBecause this first "point" was found near Clovis, New Mexico, the people of that time (11, 200 years ago) were named the Clovis culture. Archaeologists date most Paleoindian artifacts using the Clovis date as a starting point.

But new discoveries have been made; some of them are right here in Virginia at a site named Cactus Hill. These new discoveries have excited and confused archaeologists because they give evidence that people lived here much earlier than the Clovis people! This has changed the theory of Paloeindians entering North America through the Siberia to Alaska route of Beringia. HOW did they get here? That is the question that archaeologists are now trying to answer. The dig at the Cactus Hill site is part of that search for answers!


Cactus Hill is located on the Nottoway River in southeastern Virginia. Evidence that humans lived at Cactus Hill as early as 18,000 years ago makes it one of the oldest archaeological sites in North America.


Cactus Hill Excavation Photographs:

Cactus_Hill_Excavation.jpg cactus_hill_points.jpg

Learn more about Cactus Hill with this webquest site. You can finish the webquest if directed by your teacher, or you can read through the quest to find out more about Cactus Hill. Cactus Hill Quest

Use the interactive map on the next link to see the Pre-Clovis sites in North America. Click where it says "Launch Interactive" after you use the link. This takes you to the interactive map. Drag the cursor over the map to see the dates and locations for many early sites. Those archaeologists have certainly been busy! Pre-Clovis Map

Another early site is the Topper site in South Carolina. Here are some video clips about Topper from PBS. It's very interesting! (P.S. Topper is a Pre-Clovis site, too. It is dated at 16,000 years ago.)
Topper Artifacts (Source:

Here is a graphic with the names of the American Indian groups that you should know and remember. It names each group and gives the location of each group's settlement.

You'll need help with Kwakiutl. Here's how to pronounce it.
How do you pronounce the word "Kwakiutl"? What does it mean?
Kwakiutl is is usually pronounced "kwah-kee-oo-tl." This is an English pronunciation of a band name from their own language, Kwagu'ł, which is actually pronounced closer to kwah-gyoolth. Another name which is commonly used is Kwakwaka'wakw, which means "speakers of the Kwak'wala language."

Remember the locations by memorizing the Native American checkmark! As you make a checkmark on the U.S. map, remember the locations and the name of the Indian group found at each point.


Practice saying them by using the blank map found below. Can you do it



This chart describes the settlements and their environments.

The map shown below gives the location of each American Indian group. You should know and remember these locations.

Click on this video link to see a Google Earth video that shows the American Indian groups, where they lived, and how they adapted to their environment to survive. Be sure to click on the icon that expands the movie to full screen for the best viewing. American Indians Google Earth

Print your own full size map showing the locations of the American Indian groups that you are studying. Your teacher may ask you to color and illustrate your map. You'll have to cut the map pieces out and glue or tape them together to make one large map. Large Map

(Map source:

The following pictures show you the homes of the Indian groups. Think about the descriptions of each group and tell which picture matches which group. The pictures are labeled A, B, C, and D. Your teacher may tell you to write your answers in your notebook, using those letters.


Create a flip book, showing the locations and the lifestyles of the American Indian groups. Use the map shown below and the pictures as resources for your book. Follow your teacher's directions for the creation of your flip book.



Indians_settle_map.jpg Sioux_Snap.jpg

Indians_settle_map.jpg Pueblo_Snap.jpg

Indians_settle_map.jpg Iroquois_pic.jpg

Food, Clothing, and Shelter

Fill in the graphic using the pen on the Promethean Board.


Review Games: Click on the links to review what you've learned.
1. Native Americans Dwellings Match
2. Native American Groups Millionaire Game
3. Native American Jeopardy Jeopardy
4. Settlements Hangman Settle
5. Native Americans Pop up pop up
6. Climate match Match
7. Practice Test! Practice
How much do you remember? Keep your score to show your teacher. Then correct the questions that you got wrong.