Paleo-Indians - The first Native Americans
PRINT THIS PAGE answers questions: an online encyclopedia of history and science

Paleo-Indian Period

Archaeologists call the time just after people first came to North America the Paleo-Indian period. During the Paleo-Indian period, all the people in North America were nomads and got their food by hunting and gathering. Some of these people stayed in Alaska.

Other people gradually went south and east, looking for warmer weather, little by little. They hunted the mammoth as they went, and then as the mammoth became extinct they began to hunt buffalo instead. They used spears and atlatls to hunt. After a while (nobody is sure how long), some people reached Central America and then South America, while other people reached the east coast of North America.

By that time, maybe about 8,000 BC, people in North America had developed different languages, and couldn't understand each other talking anymore.

Learn by doing: make and use an atlatl
Go on to the Archaic period

Bibliography and further reading about the Paleo-Indian period:

The Archaic period
More about Native Americans
South America and Central America home

Copyright 2012-2015 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated September 2015.

About - Contact - Privacy Policy - What do the broom and the mop say when you open the closet door?