Guidelines for Cultural Summary: Due the Friday before the class where that Culture Area is discussed (ideally, submit as MS-Word or Adobe PDF document by email).
1) First select a Culture Area (and a back-up or two) from the ten we will cover in this course: Subarctic, Northeast, Southeast, Plains, Plateau, Southwest, Great Basin, California, Northwest, Arctic
2) Next, select a specific society in this culture area (probably by reviewing the Handbook of North American Indians, William C. Sturtevant, general editor Note: there are no volumes in this series available for the Southeast... other references will have to be used)
    a) that you find interesting
    b) that gets my prior approval
    c) and that is documented sufficiently to answer the questions listed below.

Write a 3-6 page summary, suitable for distribution to the class for use as a cultural example on the exams, addressing the following issues:

Cultural Summary:

- Map: Include a map showing the where this group is located, and identifying neighboring groups. /5 pts

- Neighbors: Discuss the interaction between your group and their neighbors. /5 pts

- Environment: Describe the details of the environmental setting, including wild plants and animals, and discuss how it changed throughout the year. /10 pts

- Subsistence: What did people eat during different times of the year and from where did they get it? What techniques did they use to obtain food and process it? /10 pts

- Habitation: How often did the members of this society have to move to a new location? Describe and illustrate their dwellings and how they are conducive to particular aspect of the environment, subsistence techniques, and/or mobility. /10 pts

- Social structure: What is the basic social unit of the society? What were the smallest and largest permanent group sizes and does the group size change on a regular/seasonal basis? What type of leadership does the group use and how were leaders selected? How do tasks and social status vary by gender? /10 pts

- Religion: Describe the most important religious and/or other ceremonies./10 pts

- Material Culture: Discuss and illustrate material aspects of this society, including examples of subsistence technology, clothing/body decorations, status markers/ceremonial items, trade goods, etc.  /10 pts


- European Contact: Effects of contact with Europeans? /5pts

Archaeological Remains: What material remains would you expect to find from them several hundred years after they had lived in the area? (you may have to think about this... it will probably not be mentioned in any of your sources) /5 pts

- References: References, including web sites and the pages of the Handbook of North American Indians you used. At least one reference must be from a print (non-web) source such as the Handbook (besides our textbook). Generally, books provide more details because websites are notoriously sketchy. /5 pts

85 points total

Only those summaries earning an A will be posted for reference use by the class.


- not getting my prior approval for the group being reported.
- not discussing all issues that are asked: If you cannot find an aspect mentioned, check how a neighboring group does things. If there is absolutely no information, please say so.
- not including enough illustrations: the web is a good source for these, but please note the source for each image

-the map should CLEARLY show where the groups was located... feel free to draw on it if necessary.
                -be sure to show ALL neighboring groups… even ones in adjacent culture areas. Again, you may simply need to sketch these in.

- you MUST include a photo/drawing or diagram/plan of a house and/or village... use a similar neighboring group if necessary and/or sketch it yourself..

- similarly, you MUST include some illustrations of some material items from this group. If you use similar items from a neighboring group, mention how they might be different.


- Neighbors: kinds of interaction you might consider are trade, marriage, warfare, sharing, etc. Might be expressed as cultural similarities.

- Environment: you need to convey a feel for the landscapes in which these groups are living. For example, for a group living here in prehistoric Happy Valley, I would describe the setting something like "they farmed maize along moderate-sized streams in the bottom of a valley surrounded by long, linear ridges. The surrounding forests, both in the valley and the ridges, were covered in oak and hickory forests which provided wild resources such as black berries and blue berries in the summer, acorns and hickory nuts in the fall, and wild turkeys, deer, black bear, and beaver at other times of the year. The marshy land around the streams provided waterfowl, cattails, and fish from the spring through autumn."
- Subsistence: how did they process their food? Yeah, so they're eating corn. On the cob? As tortillas? Porridge? Bread? Is the meat dried, smoked, salted, or only eaten fresh? Inquiring minds want to know!

- Habitation: little mention of the mobility of these groups... even most farmers move their villages in most environments to fresher farmland every decade or so.
- Social Structure: what do men and women each do in this society? What special privileges and tasks does each have?

- References: web pages are good for illustrations, but usually not helpful for the details I ask about. You may have to rely more on books from the library to get most of this information. Please note the source of each map and illustration not of your own making. You MUST use at least one book besides the course textbook. I’m not a stickler for citation format.