Before the arrival of the white settlers the American continent was covered by large forests, coniferous in the north and on the west coast and deciduous in the northeast. Along the northwest coast the climate was mild and humid. Forests and rivers were the domain of a large range of wildlife: deer, bears, wolves, fur bearing animals and fish while whales and seals were plentiful in the ocean.
About thirty Native nations lived in this region. They had relatively easy life as food was plentiful and the forests provided timbers for houses, boats as well as totem poles. In the east, deciduous woodland were plentiful along the eastern side of North America from the Great Lakes to South Carolina. The Iroquois, Penobscot and Whanpanoag lived there. Their basic food were maize, beans and squash. The Iroquois built great longhouses from wood and thatch in which at least thirty people could live.