Native Americans

Moving to America

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Moving to America

Look around you and you will see many different people speaking different languages, eating different foods, wearing different clothes. This is America, a country of many different peoples, but where did they come from? When did they come to America? And how did they get here? The answers to these questions await students in this engaging look at the history of immigration to America.

Learn about the history of how people came from all over the world to live in America and why people still come today.

  1. Students will realize that America is home to many different people.
  2. Students will know about the many people who have come to America.
    1. Native Americans: Native Americans were the first people to live in America. They lived in different groups called tribes. The Wampanoag Indians lived on the east coast of America in the present-day states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. They lived in homes called wigwams, which they made with bark or grass mats. The Navajo lived in the southeastern part of America. They built special homes, called hogans, out of wood, mud, bark, and fur. The Cherokee lived in villages and towns in the southern Appalachian region. The Yurok lived on the west coast of America. They ate mostly acorns and salmon. The Cheyenne lived in the middle of the country. They moved from place to place following herds of buffalo, which they hunted for food. The skins of the buffalo were used for clothing and shelter.
    2. Explorers: Explorers came to America in search of new land and resources. One of the first explores to reach America was Christopher Columbus. He was in search of a passage to Asia, where he hoped to find gold and other riches. Columbus’ trip helped people in Europe find out about a place they had not known before, North America. Soon explorers from all over Europe came to North America to claim land: Spanish explorers claimed Florida, Mexico, New Mexico, and California for Spain; English explorers claimed the east coast of America for England; and French explorers claimed land along the Mississippi River for France.
    3. Settlers/Colonists: People from Europe began to come to America to live. The people settled in places called colonies. The first European colonists came from Spain to a colony in Florida called St. Augustine. Spanish settlers also moved to Mexico, New Mexico, and California. Settlers from England sailed to the east coast of America. The first English settlement to last a long time was Jamestown. Life in Jamestown was hard; the colonists had to find food and other resources, and they had to build their settlement by hand. Another group of colonists from England called Pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom. They built a settlement called Plymouth. The nearby Wampanoag Indians befriended the colonists and taught them how to plant corn, hunt, and fish. Not all settlers came to America in seek of religious freedom. In fact, most settlers came to America in search of land.
    4. Slaves: Some people were forced to come to America. Many people were taken from their homes in Africa by force. They were brought to America as slaves and sold to other people. Most slaves were made to work on large farms called plantations. They had to work in hot fields all day with no pay. Sometimes families were torn apart when members were sold to other plantation owners. In 1865 the 13th Amendment made slavery illegal, and the African American slaves were freed. These former slaves stayed in America to start their new lives.
    5. Pioneers and Settlers: As more people came to America, the land along the East Coast became crowded. Consequently, many people moved west to areas of land that had yet to be settled. These people were called pioneers. They packed their belongings into covered wagons and started west. The pioneers faced many challenges, including severe weather and sickness. They had to traverse rivers, plains and rugged mountains. When they came to a place they wanted to live, they stopped and built new homes, ranches and towns. Then, settlers followed the trails made by the pioneers. Once the settlers reached the towns they built new homes, businesses, schools, and churches. Some of these towns grew larger and turned into cities.
    6. Early Immigrants: Most of the early immigrants came from Europe and Asia. Some came to America because they wanted to find a better job, while others came to get away from wars or to be free from religious persecution.
    7. Recent Immigrants: Today, immigrants are coming to America from all over the world. They come to work, go to school, and make better lives for their families.
  3. Students will realize that the Native Americans, Explorers, Colonists, Slaves, Pioneers, Settlers, and Immigrants have all added to the American culture. They brought foods, dances, clothes, and even styles of architecture to the country. It is this diverse group of people that have made America what it is.