In 2021, The University of Michigan archaeological department uncovered a site in St. Joseph County, Michigan, that contains the earliest evidence of humans in the region, dating back to ~11,000 BCE. These people, known as Clovis people, are attributed as direct ancestors to a majority of Indigenous American peoples.
Around 10,000 years BCE, the Ice Age comes to a close. The glaciers that carved the Great Lakes basins begin to melt and recede. As they recede, the glaciers deposit sediments that form rolling hills, known as “moraines”. The St. Joseph River is formed from the outflow of newly melted water, and the confluence of many tributaries, attempting to drain into the Lake Michigan Basin.
People practice “Old Copper Culture” in the Great Lakes region, by mining copper ores found in northern Michigan and Wisconsin. The copper is used for tools, harpoons, knives, jewelry, and more.
People in North America further develop and expand upon many technologies and culture traditions during this time period. In Woodland cultures, agricultural practices are implemented during this time period.
Mississippian culture dominates the midwest, with the settlement of Cahokia being the largest known settlement North of Mexico, before European colonization begins.