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During the Little Ice Age, Native North Americans devised whole new economic, social, and political structures. The Atlantic published an excerpt from UNC-Chapel Hill historian Kathleen DuVal’s forthcoming book, Native Nations: A Millennium in North America (Penguin Randomhouse).

“A common stereotype of Native Americans is that, before 1492, they were primitive peoples who lived in tune with nature. It is true that, in the 1400s, the Indigenous people of what is now the United States and Canada generally lived more sustainably than Europeans, but this was no primitive or natural state. It was a purposeful response to the rapid transformation of their world—one that has implications for how we navigate climate change today,” DuVal writes.

The Atlantic