N.Y.S., the Glaciers, and the indiginous peoples Before Europeans
Warning, serious boredom is ahead.
The Great Lakes system includes five large lakes, one small lake, four connecting channels, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. The large lakes are Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. They hold about 90% of the freshwater in the United States and approximately 20% of the world’s freshwater supply. Forty million residents of the United States and Canada depend on this system for clean drinking water.
The glaciers flattened the land and left rich deposits. There was great upheaval with piles of debris and rocks that became hills and mountains. As the earth warmed and the glaciers receded, the trenches gouged in the land filled with water and formed what we now know as the Finger Lakes, in the mid-state of NY. 7,000 to 32,000 years ago, the glaciers formed, and the Great Lakes covered 97% of Canada in thick ice.
Wow, as I read this, I thought, I had no idea that these lakes were that important. I knew that they had seen the transport of goods, grain, etc. Or perhaps I had forgotten. I remember when Lake Erie was so polluted that it was declared a dead lake because of sewage and other pollution runoffs. The fish were diseased and often had cankers on them, making them unbeatable.
The lake has recovered in the last 80 years and fish have returned. But the big businesses failed, Bethlehem Steel and the Auto Companies. I remember Lakawana, smelled bad and everything was covered with black stuff. The companies grew rich as their employees died.
When I was in 8th grade I had NYS history I’m sure each state does the same. I had forgotten so much, but at the same time, new discoveries are made every day that make each state a new discovery.
As for the Indigenous People of New York, the names of the New York tribes included the Delaware, Erie, Iroquois, Mohawk, Oneida, and Seneca. When the first Europeans came to New York harbor in 1524, the native civilization found on the banks of the Hudson was a complex and ancient one. It is believed the native ancestors entered the Hudson Valley 12,000 years earlier after the last continental glacier receded. Where they had been hunters and gatherers, they learned to plant and harvest their own crops.
I can’t say that these were peaceful people, they often warred with each other until the Iroquois Confederacy drew these Tribes together in the world’s oldest participatory democracy.
With that, I’ll stop. Forgive me if I was a little disjointed, I was really too tired to write. Thanks for reading.
The Iroquois Confederacy of upper New York State and southeastern Canada is often characterized as the world’s oldest participatory democracy. Learn more about the Native American people who made up this influential body.