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From Mammoths to Statehood: The History of Early Nebraska



From Mammoths to Statehood: The History of Early Nebraska
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.45

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    gatherers, lifestyles, nomadic, history, geologists, transcontinental, westward, lifestyle, based, natural, farmland, journey, public, exchange, onto, rocks
     content words:    In Nebraska, Seven Native American, New World, Robert La Salle, United States, Louisiana Purchase, Native Americans, Plains Indians, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Homestead Act


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From Mammoths to Statehood: The History of Early Nebraska
By Gwen Wellsandt
  

1     Nebraska's history began millions of years ago. Geologists (scientists who study rocks) have found clues that tell what the land was like. Seashells show that Nebraska was once covered by an ocean. Fossils tell geologists that dinosaurs once lived here. The climate changed over time. During cold periods called ice ages, mammoths lived in Nebraska. They are now extinct, but so many mammoth fossils have been found that the mammoth is the state fossil.
 
2     During the time of the mammoths, people lived in Nebraska. They were hunters and gatherers. They moved around to find food and hunt animals. Over time, these people learned new skills, like farming. The native people's culture changed into different lifestyles based on where they lived. In Nebraska, two lifestyles developed. Some tribes, or groups of native people, were nomadic. They had no permanent homes. Instead they lived in tipis and traveled to find food. Other tribes were farming tribes. They lived in permanent homes called earth lodges and left only twice a year to hunt buffalo. Seven Native American nations made up these two lifestyles. The Pawnee, Ponca, Omaha, and Otoe-Missouri had a farming lifestyle. The Lakota-Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho were nomadic tribes.
 
3     In the 1500s, explorers from Europe began to come to the New World. Robert La Salle claimed the land where Nebraska now is for France. In 1803, France sold the land to the United States for fifteen million dollars. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States and needed to be explored. Lewis and Clark were chosen for this job. They began their journey in 1803 and explored the land until 1806. They found that the land had many natural resources. One of these resources was animals; people wanted the fur from beavers, otters, and other animals.

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