Most scholars think America’s first people arrived
before 15,000 years ago, likely from northeast Asia, but there is a
lively debate about exactly when, how, and from where in northeast Asia.
They were modern biologically; there is no evidence for earlier humans
like Neanderthals in the New World.
It’s a misconception to think of the first people as
noble hunters in harmony with the environment. This obscures
the complex realities of life in ancient North America. They were tough,
resilient, and ingenious, and survived by exploiting their surroundings.
The first people were nomadic. Many archeologists
think they traveled in small groups, following game, harvesting what
they needed from the land, and moving on. As groups moved into areas,
they likely established a pattern of cyclic movement linked to the seasonal
availability of resources. When an area filled to capacity, some groups
moved on to colonize new regions.