Today, we tell about early Native Americans. Scientists believe that the native peoples of America came here thousands of years ago during the last ice age. These people settled the land from the cold northern areas to the extreme end of South America. As the groups of people settled different parts of the land, they developed their own languages, their own cultures and their own religions. Each group's story is important in the history of the Americas. However, it is perhaps the tribes of the central part of the United States that are most recognized. They will be our story today. In eighteen-oh-four, Merriwether Lewis and William Clark led a group of explorers to the Pacific Ocean. They were the first educated Americans to see some of the native tribes of the Great Plains. And they were the first white people these Native American people had ever seen. When the group of explorers neared the eastern side of the great Rocky Mountains, they met with a tribe of Indians called the Shoshoni. Merriwether Lewis was the first to see them. Let us imagine we are with Merriwether Lewis near the Rocky Mountains almost two hundred years ago. Across a small hill, a group of sixty Shoshoni men are riding toward us. The first thing we see is that these men are ready for war. Each is armed with a bow and arrows. Some carry long poles with a sharp knife on the end.
They are riding very fast. Some horses seem to be without riders. But a closer look shows that the men are hanging off the sides, or under the horse's neck. They are using the horses' bodies as protection. The horses are painted with many different designs that use blue, black, red or other colors. Later we learn that each design has a special meaning for the man who owns the horse. Each one tells a story. For example, the man riding one horse is a leader during battle. Another has killed an enemy in battle. One of the designs protects the horse and rider. As they come nearer, the Shoshoni group sees that we are not ready for war. They slow their horses but are still very careful. Merriwether Lewis holds up a open hand as a sign of peace. The leader of the Shoshoni does the same. They come closer. The Shoshoni are dressed in clothes made from animal skin. Most of these skins are from deer or the American buffalo. The shirts they wear have many designs, and tell stories like the designs on the horses. One shows a man has fought in a battle. Another shows a man has been in many raids to capture horses.
Still another shows the man saved the life of a friend. Captain Lewis smiles at these men. He again makes a hand sign that means peace. The signs are now returned. Lewis and the Shoshoni chief cannot speak each other's language. They can communicate using hand signs. One young Shoshoni man comes near. He drops to the ground from his horse. He is tall and looks strong. His hair is black in color and long. He wears one long bird feather in the back of his hair. Some of his hair is held in place by animal fur. His arms have been painted with long lines. We learn that each line represents a battle. There are many lines. But we leave the Shoshoni without him adding another one. The Shoshoni were only one of many tribes of native people who lived in the Great Plains area. The life, culture and society of these tribes developed because of the land that was their home. The Great Plains today is still huge. Even in a car, traveling at one hundred kilometers an hour, it can take two long days of driving to cross the Great Plains.
The plains reach from several hundred kilometers north in Canada across the middle of the continent to Mexico in the south. In the East, the Great Plains begin near the Mississippi River and go west to the huge Rocky Mountains. It is the center of the United States. There are big rivers here, deserts and mountains. Other areas are so flat that a person can see for hundreds of kilometers. Millions of kilometers of this land were once covered by a thick ocean of grass. The grass provided food for an animal that made possible the culture of the Indians of the Great Plains. The grass fed the bison, the American buffalo. The buffalo was the center of native Indian culture in the Great Plains. The huge animal provided meat for the Indians. But it was much more than just food. It was an important part of the religion of most of the native people in the Great Plains. The Lakota tribe is one of the people of the Great Plains. The Lakota are sometimes called the Sioux. They believed that everything necessary to life was within the buffalo. Another Plains tribe, the Blackfeet, called the animal "My home and my protection."
The back of the huge buffalo provided thick skin that was used to make homes for the Plains Indians. Other parts were made into clothing. Still other parts became warm blankets. Buffalo bones were made into tools. Nothing of the animal was wasted. No one knows how many buffalo were in North America when Merriwether Lewis first met the Shoshoni. But experts say it was probably between sixty million to seventy-five million. Another animal also helped make possible the Indian cultures of the Great Plains. Native Americans first called these animals mystery dogs, or big dogs. They had no word for this animal in their language. We know it as the horse. No horses existed in North America before the Spanish arrived in the fifteen hundreds in what is now the southern part of the United States. Native peoples hunted, moved and traveled by foot. Traveling long distances was difficult, so was hunting buffalo.
The horse greatly changed the life of all the people of the Great Plains. It gave them a method of travel. It provided a way to carry food and equipment. It made it easier and safer to follow and hunt the buffalo. The horse made it possible to attack an enemy far away and return safely. The number of horses owned became the measure of a tribe's wealth. Spanish settlers rode horses to the small town of Santa Fe in what is now the southwestern state of New Mexico. They arrived there in about the year sixteen-oh-nine. It is not known how native peoples in Santa Fe got the first horses in the country. Perhaps they traded for them. Perhaps they captured them in an attack. Many tribes soon were trading and capturing horses. By the seventeen fifties, all the tribes of the Great Plains had horses. They had become experts at raising, training and riding horses. They became experts at horse medicine. Each Indian of the Great Plains could ride a horse by the age of five. As an adult, a young man would have a special horse for work. Another horse would be trained for hunting.
And another would be trained for war. An Indian warrior's success depended upon how closely he and his horses worked together. George Catlin was an artist who traveled a great deal in the early American west. He painted many beautiful pictures of American Indians. Mister Catlin said the Plains Indian was the greatest horse rider the world has ever known. He said the moment an Indian rider laid a hand on his horse he became part of the animal. The buffalo and horse were extremely important to the Plains Indian. Because the horse made hunting easier, more time could be spent on things like art. The Plains Indians began to make designs on their clothing, and on special blankets their horses wore. Even common objects were painted with designs. The coming of white settlers to the Great Plains was the beginning of the end of the buffalo and horse culture of the American Indians. Settlers did not want buffalo destroying their crops. The buffalo were killed. By the year eighteen eighty-five, the Indians of the Great Plains were mostly restricted to area of land called reservations. Many of the Great Plains tribes that survive today work hard to keep their traditional cultures. They produce art, music, and clothing. They keep alive the memory of these people who added greatly to the history of America.
1.Rocky Mountains 落基山脉
Inland from the coast, the winds from the Pacific meet the mountain barriers of the coastal ranges and the Rocky Mountains.
Behind him, I could see Hattie’s face reflected in the window glass, painted with hope.
A variant form of the EDAR gene is very common in East Asians and Native Americans, and is probably the reason that these populations have thicker hair than Europeans or Africans.
It’s hard to know, for example, how agriculture in the Great Plains has affected weather.
今天，我们为您讲述早期的印第安人。科学家认为，美洲的土著居民是在几千年前最后一个冰河时代来到美洲大陆的 。科学家从寒冷的北部到南美洲的尽头都找过他们的踪迹 。这些土著居民在不同的地方定居时创造了自己的语言、文化和宗教 。每个土著部落都是美洲历史的重要组成部分 。然而，美国中部的部落认可度最高，这将是我们今天的故事 。1804年，梅里韦瑟·刘易斯和威廉·克拉克带领一队探险者去了太平洋 。他们是看到大平原地区的土著部落的第一批受过教育的美国人 。也是这些美洲原住民所见过的第一批白人 。当探险队到达落基山脉的东部时，他们遇到了一个叫做肖肖尼的土著部落 。梅里韦瑟·刘易斯是第一个见到他们的人 。大约两百年前，我们和梅里韦瑟·刘易斯到达洛基山脉附近 。在小山的对面，六十名肖肖尼人骑马向我们走来 。我们的第一反应是，这些人已经做好打仗的准备了 。每个人都配有弓箭 。有些人拿着顶部带着利刀的长杆 。他们骑得很快 。有些马背上似乎并没有人 。但如果仔细观察，就会发现这些人都挂在马的两侧或马脖子下面 。用马的身体作掩护 。马身上有各种各样的图案，有蓝色、黑色、红色或其它颜色 。后来我们才知道，每一种图案对马的主人都有特殊的意义 。每个图案都有一个故事 。比如说，其中一个人是指挥官，另一个在战斗中杀死了一个敌人 。其中一种图案能保护马匹和人的安全 。当肖肖尼人走近看到我们还没有做好战争的准备 。便放慢了速度，但仍非常小心 。
梅里韦瑟·刘易斯举起一只手，以示和平。肖肖尼人也做出同样的手势，双方在逐步靠拢 。肖肖尼穿着用兽皮做的衣服 。这些兽皮大部分来自鹿或美洲野牛的毛皮 。他们穿的衬衫有很多图案，和马身上的图案一样蕴含着很多故事 。一个图案显示某个人参加过战斗，另一个图案显示一名男子曾多次突袭捕获马匹 。还有一张图案显示这个人救过朋友的性命 。刘易斯上尉对这些人微笑着，又做了一个手势，以示和平 。肖肖尼人也做出同样的手势 。刘易斯和肖肖尼头领都看不懂对方的语言 。他们用手势交流 。一个年轻的肖肖尼人走近，下了马 。他又高又壮，留着长长的黑发，头发后面插着一根长长的羽毛 。用动物皮毛固定着 。他的手臂上画了很多线条，我们知道每条线代表着一场战斗 。有很多条线，但我们离开了，双方并没有打起来 。肖肖尼人只是生活在大平原地区许多土著部落中的一个 。这些部落的生活、文化和社会都是从他们的家园发展起来的 。今天，大平原仍是一望无际 。即使坐在时速100公里的汽车里，穿越大平原也要花上两天的时间 。大平原北起加拿大，南抵墨西哥，东靠密西西比河，西至落基山脉，处于美国的中心地带，这里有大河、沙漠和山脉 。其余地方一马平川，数百公里之内都是茫茫无际的草地 。草为动物提供了食物，使大平原印第安人的文化成为可能 。美洲野牛以草为食，是大平原印第安人文化的核心 。
野牛为印第安人提供了食物，但不仅仅是作为食物。还是大平原地区当地大多数人宗教信仰的重要组成部分 。拉科塔部落是大平原地区的一个民族 。拉科塔人有时被称为苏族 。他们相信所有生命必需的东西都能从野牛身上找到另一个部落——黑脚族人称这种动物为“我的家和我的保护” 。牛背为平原地区印第安人提供了厚实的皮，可以用来建造家园 。其它部位被制成衣服，还有温暖的毯子 。野牛的骨头被制成工具，每一个部位都没有浪费 。当梅里韦瑟·刘易斯第一次见到肖肖尼人时，没有人知道北美有多少头野牛 。但专家估计可能在六千万到七千五百万之间 。另一种动物也对大平原地区的印第安文化起到了关键作用 。美洲原住民最早称这些动物为大狗 。他们对狗没有任何概念，其实就是我们说的马 。十六世纪，西班牙人来到今天的美国南部之前，北美大陆上原本没有马 。土著居民徒步打猎和出行 。长途跋涉依然很困难，猎杀野牛就更是如此了 。马的出现极大地改变了大平原地区所有人的生活，便利了出行，提供了运输食物和设备的方式，也使得跟踪和猎杀野牛变得更容易、更安全 。有了马，印第安人就能对远方的敌人发动进攻，并安全返回 。马的数量成为衡量部落财富的标准 。西班牙定居者骑马来到了现在西南部的新墨西哥州的圣达菲小镇 。