...and when people sing me a song of the noble savage, I gently remind them that they were also often of a mind to eat each other...
The practice of eating the flesh of others was only practiced within certain tribes and it was ritualistic. One of the purposes was that they believed they gained an enemies strength by partaking of them. Another purpose was they believed the spirit could not enter the land of the ancestors if they ate the flesh of the individual. The eating of the flesh of another was not done because it was appetizing, but for the aforementioned ritualistic purposes.
There were also warrior sects as well as simple farmers and hunters. There is no one description that fits all indigenous people of the Americas.
Also must be noted that the settlers can not be all grouped into one type either. However for the indigenous peoples they all seemed to be of the same traits. Some of the IP (indigenous people) that were living near where the settlers landed at first where willing to welcome these outsiders, but that was before they brought diseases a plagues that they had not previously been exposed to thus killing off many of them. These settlers also put up fences keeping them away from land they had freely been able to step foot on for centuries, and were shot at when attempting to scale these fences.
Some of the settlements may seem to have been away from the IP populations, unfortunately there were nomadic as well as stationary tribes. The nomadic ones were seasonal and followed the herds of dear or what have you, that they hunted and just because they were not in the are when the settlers originally set up their settlements does not mean that they did not use the area later in the season, thus more animosity between the IP and the settlers began to brew.
Many tribes, who were not warrior tribes, took up arms and some of the IP populations that once did not get along started to band together over a common enemy. It must be stated that not all did, but just as many IP’s thought that all settlers where the same, the settlers thought that all IP’s were the same as well.
Early racial profiling, who knew?