History of the West Region
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||prospectors, tucson, commonly, traditional, mines, grounds, camps, livestock, pits, mining, settled, wherever, tribe, land, stables, wealth
||West Region, United States, Native American, Native Americans, New Mexico, Pacific West, Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian Islands, Francisco Coronado, New World
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History of the West Region
By Trista L. Pollard
1 Open land and mountains is what the first settlers saw when they came to the West Region. This region was the last area in the United States to be settled. Spanish explorers came to the southern part of the region in the 1500's. It was not until the mid-1800's that European settlers came to the West.
2 Many Native American tribes lived in the West Region. One of the areas they lived was in the southern part of the region. This is called the southwest. They also lived in what is now Alaska and Hawaii. These tribes had lived in the region for about 23,000 years before other people arrived. They were farmers in the southwest. These tribes grew corn, beans, and squash. Native Americans used the resources in the area to build their homes. Some made their homes by digging round pits into the ground. These pits were covered with logs, branches, and soil. As time passed, they built a different type of home. Pueblos were built using the clay soil in the area. They are apartments that have many stories or levels. If you were to visit Arizona and New Mexico today, you would see these old pueblos. They are called ruins because they are not lived in by people. Today, relatives or descendants of these first Indians live in cities in the region. Some live on reservations.
3 Inuit was the major tribe in the Pacific West. They lived in northern Alaska. The name Inuit means "people" in their language. Settlers who came to Alaska referred to them as Eskimos. Inuit had to survive in climates that were very cold. They built igloos when they set up their winter camps. Igloos were homes built out of ice blocks. They would hunt seals, rabbit, and foxes. Since the lakes and rivers were frozen for most of the winter, the Inuit used sleds and dogs to travel over the ice and snow. Today, they use snowmobiles when they are hunting during the winter. During the summer, the families would move their homes to tents near fishing areas. The tents were made from animal skins that were stretched over frames. These frames were made from large bones or wood. The fish would be preserved so that it could last for a long time.
4 Today the Inuit still camp near fishing grounds. During the summer is when they hunt for whales and seals. They use kayaks to fish along the coast of Alaska. They also have others homes in nearby towns. These homes are different from igloos. They have electricity and running water. To keep their culture alive, the Inuit hold festivals and classes to teach about their culture. These events help Inuit children to understand their families' traditional ways.
5 Moving from the arctic climate, we travel to Polynesia. This is what Hawaii and other islands are called. People lived on these islands for hundreds of years before the first settlers came to these islands. In fact, the word Polynesia means "many islands." These islands were found all over the central Pacific Ocean. Polynesians fished by using canoes that were very strong. They sailed between the islands and eventually landed in the Hawaiian islands. Once they settled there, they became farmers. They also built cities and large communities. The Polynesians also fished in the Pacific Ocean. By the 1700's, Europeans had found the Hawaiian Islands. Missionaries and other settlers came to the islands. They built plantations and trading posts. To help with trade, settlers started shipbuilding businesses.
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