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Native Americans
Native Americans of the Plateau and Great Basin Area (Grades 4 to 6)



Native Americans of the Plateau and Great Basin Area (Grades 4 to 6)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.13

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cornhusk, heated, memorialize, tule, yucca, fiber, highly, therefore, spears, various, social, provided, environment, hemp, knowing, unique
     content words:    Native Americans, Northwest Coast Area, Great Basin, Cascade Range, Rocky Mountains, Plains Indians, Great Basin Indians, Great Basin Area, Nez Perce, Basin Area


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Native Americans of the Plateau and Great Basin Area
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     The area where the Native Americans settled east of the Northwest Coast Area and west of the Plains is considered the cultural area of the Plateau and Great Basin. The Plateau section had more water available. The Great Basin portion had huge stretches of barren desert. All in all, it was a tough environment in which to settle. The Native Americans faced many obstacles here.
 
2     In the northern portion of the area between the Cascade Range and the Rocky Mountains, the Native Americans had very simple social, political, and religious systems. Art was almost nonexistent. They fished for salmon with nets and spears. They also gathered camas bulbs. They gathered bugs, including ants, to eat. They hunted small game and then, later, buffalo. When they settled in their winter villages, they had lodges with cone-shaped roofs.
 
3     Around 1730, these Native Americans received horses, tepees, dances, and deerskin clothes from the Plains Indians. This changed them culturally. The Plateau and Great Basin Indians became famous for breeding and trading the horses. They were, therefore, able to migrate more and trade down into California and the Plains.
 
4     In the southern portion of the area, the Pomo were sedentary people. They gathered edible plants, roots, and fruit. They hunted small game too. They lived in brush shelters or lean-tos. The Pomo were famous for the acorn bread they made. They pounded the acorns into a meal, leached it with hot water, and cooked it in baskets heated by hot stones. Their basketry skills were also highly developed.
 
5     These and other tribes further south in the Great Basin Area often had meager resources. They lived on wild food such as insects, seeds, lizards, and deer. They often migrated with the seasons. There was no agriculture. The mothers used cradleboards made of thick twigs and soft animal skins to carry the babies on their backs or sometimes tied to saddles. Grandmothers carried cooking tools and baskets. The male adults carried bows and arrows. They had a huge respect for nature, believed all living things had spirits.

Paragraphs 6 to 15:
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