Pioneers Through Winter in North America: Paleo-Indians and Paleo-Eskimos

TitlePioneers Through Winter in North America: Paleo-Indians and Paleo-Eskimos
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2012
AuthorsToupin, Jerry
Conference Name80th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the Western Snow Conference
Date Published2012
Conference LocationAnchorage, Alaska
Keywordscold, North America, Paleo-Eskimos, Paleo-Indians, snow, winter

We may never find out exactly how humankind first reacted towards cold, snow and winter. Yet in North America, this first contact following the post-glacial era (20,000 years ago) can be partly traced back through archaeological evidence. Traces from first settlers possibly coming from Siberia can be found in Alaska and in the Yukon as far back as 14,000 years ago. Excavations done farther south (near San Bernardino, California, and in Mexico) strongly suggest that toolmaking people were even there 50,000 years ago (Simpson, 1980). Scientists named these first migrants as Paleo-Indians (47,000 to 14,000 years ago) and Paleo-Eskimos farther north (±6000 years ago). They possibly crossed the Bering Strait located between Asia and Alaska and later settled in vast parts of North America. Others might have sailed along the North American West Coast (Mochanov, 1980).

More specifically, we will examine how people coped with winter in the Canadian Arctic, West Coast and Prairies, Southern Ontario and Michigan, Québec and the Maritimes/Maine, USA. It appears as though winter created a dual life for all of the new residents.