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By Lorenzo Ramos

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Relying on the vigor of a handful of crops (rather than the diversity of items gathered and hunted) made the people vulnerable to vagaries such as drought, crop failure and raids from other tribes. Although there was some malnutrition, disease, starvation and famine, sometimes leading to death, on the whole agriculture was a giant step forward. It set the foundation for more sophisticated cultures because the basic question of what to eat was no longer a full-time preoccupation. 3 AMERICAN INDIAN FOOD As groups became larger—and particularly when a surplus was generated—a more elaborate social system developed, with a leader or chief and his attendants at the top.

This area extends over the eastern part of the United States, roughly from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, including the Great Lakes. It includes present-day Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin. Environment. This zone is covered with fertile woodlands, eastern prairies, coastline, lakes and rivers. Major Tribes. Abenaki, Algonquin, Cayuga, Chippewa, Delaware, Erie, Huron, Illinois, Iroquois, Kickapoo, Massachuset, Menomini, Miami, Mohawk, Mohican (Mohegan), Montauk, Narragansett, 11 AMERICAN INDIAN FOOD Ojibwa (Chippewa), Onondaga, Oneida, Ottawa, Penobscot, Pequot, Powhatan, Seneca, Shawnee, Wampanoag, Winnebago.

The latitude and 9 AMERICAN INDIAN FOOD elevation produced a “cold-desert” environment. The Great Basin is one of the driest regions in the United States. The Plateau includes the semi-desert environment of the southern portion. Major Tribes. Bannock, Chumash, Klamath, Paiute, Pomo, Shoshone Paiute, Spokane, Ute, Yokuts, Yurok. Culture: Gathering-Hunting. The tribes of California, the Great Basin and the Plateau were all forager-hunters. California. In the interior, acorns were the staple. They were ground into meal, leached out with water to remove the tannic acid, then boiled to make mush or baked into unleavened bread.

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