<ul><li>The Eastern Woodland Indians inhabited a wide area in the eastern part of the United States that extended eastward from the Mississippi River, through the Great Lakes region, to the Atlantic Ocean. </li></ul><ul><li>Many tribes were found within this area. Peoples of the Eastern Woodlands included the Illinois, Iroquois, Shawnee and a number of Algonkian-speaking peoples such as the Narragansett and Pequot. </li></ul><ul><li>Though many languages and dialects were spoken by the inhabitants, these groups shared many cultural traits based on their common life style that was common to living in the forest. Living and learning from the land, they learned to use wood and wood products as the basic raw materials in their lives. This region is noted for ample rainfall, numerous lakes, streams, and rivers and the Woodland Indians tended to live near water in the forested areas. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Eastern Woodland Indians were not nomadic people and built their own home for shelter from the elements. The type of dwellings that they built were known as longhouses. The Northeastern Woodland Indians used animal skins, wood, and hay to construct their homes. </li></ul>
Longhouses varied in size and in the number of people that lived in them. While some could provide shelter for as many as twenty families, some tribes, like the Powhattan whose homes are shown here, were constructed to house a single family. Wigwams were also used by some tribes. They were often shaped like a cone. The framing for these houses were usually made from small flexible trees or saplings that were firmly embedded in the ground in a circle. They were then bent overhead into an arch where they were tied together with bark fibers, or rawhide.
<ul><li>This longhouse was built to support a single Powhatan </li></ul><ul><li>family. Like most longhouses used by the Woodland </li></ul><ul><li>Indians, they contained shelves that could be used for </li></ul><ul><li>storing food, equipment, and tools. While it was </li></ul><ul><li>common for the Indians to sleep on the floor, some </li></ul><ul><li>homes had platforms or racks that could be used as </li></ul><ul><li>beds or chairs. The Indians in these homes slept on </li></ul><ul><li>platforms lined with deerskin on each wall. </li></ul>
Here are two more pictures Of the inside of a longhouse
<ul><li>. The Indians also fished the fresh waters of the many rivers and streams throughout the region using hooks, spears, and nets. Tribes along the coastal Atlantic waters also dug for shellfish such as oysters and clams. </li></ul>The Northeastern Woodland Indians were expert farmers. They were also skilled hunters and animals were a staple in their diets.
Deer were abundant in the meadows and hunting grounds of the Woodland Indians and was probably the most important animal to the Woodland Indians. Deer were used for clothing, moccasins, and food. The antlers were used for arrowheads and the hooves were used for glue. To prepare a deer hide they placed the skin in a running brook, preferably with a clay bottom. This loosened the hair that was then scraped off the hide. In addition to deer, the Woodland Indians also hunted rabbits, bear, squirrel, beaver, and other animals that could be found in the region.
Fires were built in the middle of the longhouse and shared by two families, one on each side. Cooking methods included boiling and roasting, and most meals incorporated a soup or stew prepared in a simple black clay pottery or bark container. During good weather a fire for cooking was built outside of the longhouse where women roasted the meat over an open fire. During inclement weather cooking was done indoors.
The Northeastern Woodland Indians had their own farm plot and each member of the family had an important responsibility. The women of the family were responsible for gathering wild plants, such as berries, nuts, and edible plants and flowers. The men's responsibility was to hunt, fish, and fell trees to make canoes. The Iroquois lived in areas that provided good farm land. Many tribes planted corn, beans, and squash which they called the "Three Sisters". In addition to the three principal crops, gourds, Jerusalem artichokes, melons, pumpkins, sunflowers and tobacco were also grown. They also gathered seeds, berries, and nuts. They dried berries, corn, fish, meat and squash for the winter.
Women usually did the cultivating after the men had cleared the land and, along with their children, spent a lot of time in the fields during the spring and summer seasons. It was probably the women who experimented with agricultural techniques that resulted in the successful cultivation of domestic crops.
<ul><li>The Eastern Woodland Indians, of which the Iroquois were included, lived East of the Plains. They depended on the resources of the land for their shelter, clothing, food, and even their tools. </li></ul><ul><li>Skins were often used for clothing or as bedding during the winter. Tools were often made from bone or fashioned from wood or stone. They also made baskets by weaving reeds as shown here. </li></ul>
The woodland people dressed in clothes made from the skin of animals. Deerskin was most commonly used. In hot weather, men wore breecloths. When it got colder, they added deerskin shirts, leggings,moccasins and sometimes fur robes. Women wore wrap skirts, shirts, leggings and moccasins. Sometimes the clothes were beaded in beautiful colors.
<ul><li>Wampum was the word that the eastern woodland people used for beads made from shells. Wampum was woven into belts and clothing. When the European settlers came, wampum was used for trading and for symbols of peace when signing treaties. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Eastern Woodland Indians survived each season by: </li></ul>Winter Spring Summer Fall Hunting birds and animals Fishing and picking berries Growing crops Harvesting crops
<ul><li>Today, Native Americans pass down their traditions, such as native dances, to their children. These people are wearing traditional dress for a pow wow celebration. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Culture Change There has been considerable culture change among all Eastern Woodland groups. Hunting, gathering and fishing have become less important except among some Micmac, for whom fishing has remained significant. </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture, altered by new technologies, crops and rules regarding the division of labour, declined as populations grew, lands were partitioned, and new job opportunities arose. </li></ul><ul><li>Such traditional foods as corn bread and corn soup are still eaten, and tobacco continues to be grown for ritual purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>Most People today dress just as everyone does in the area, although some still dress in a more traditional manner. </li></ul>