By Linda Murray Berzok
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Additional resources for American Indian food (Food in American History Series)
On this fertile ﬂoodplain, there was a major change in food production around ad 750, when people began to grow and eat more maize. From that point on, the staples were maize, maygrass, chenopod, knotweed, a little barley and squash/gourds. Storage methods evolved from household pits of the sixth century, to central-communal pits during the late ninth century, to above-ground granaries a century later. The Indians here also started making large pottery bowls. These developments signaled a signiﬁcant shift that gradually led to the development of Cahokia, a huge urban center that ﬂourished between 800 and 1350 near what is now East St.
Famine was a real threat due to drought. Large game was scarce (deer, antelope and mountain sheep were taken by spear only occasionally) and small game furnished more meat; rabbit killed with a throwing stick was the most common single species. The Hopi and Zuni traded their textiles and maize to the Plains Indians for bison meat. There were few large game animals anywhere in the Southwest; Native Americans in this area were mostly vegetarian. They were able to obtain adequate nutrition from grasses, nuts, fruits, roots and especially seeds.
This was bound to produce conﬂict. Congress thought the solution was The Federal Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced eviction of 100,000 Native Americans east of the Mississippi River to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, further disrupting the ceremonial calendar and foodways. The Choctaw went ﬁrst, then the Creek. The Cherokee in Georgia were prospering as farmers, even owning slaves to work their ﬁelds. S. Supreme Court. President Andrew Jackson, however, ignored the decision. In 1838, he ordered federal troops to burn the Cherokee’s crops and made 20,000 tribal members walk west at gunpoint during winter in the tragic march known as the Trail of Tears.