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Eastern Woodlands

Socials Research Project
by

Alicia Iachetta

on 24 March 2013

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Transcript of Eastern Woodlands

Eastern Woodlands By: Alicia Iachetta and Brennain Lea Customs and Traditions Dance Storytelling Dreams Spirits Art Lifestyle Housing Food Like all other native groups, the Eastern Woodlands
used the resources around them to get their food. Everybody had a specific job. Hunters hunted animals for game. Fishers fished for fish and and different types of seafood. And the gatherers (agriculture) gathered berries, herbs, wild plants, and onions. Agriculture was very important for the Eastern Woodlands because it accounted for 70% of their food. Gathering and agriculture was done by women. The Eastern Woodlands lived in an area rich in natural resources. They also had a wide variety of trees (oak, pine, spruce, etc.) which provided them with wood for fuel and tools, bark for housing and canoes, and splinters for woven baskets. Lakes, rivers and streams provided a great variety of fish to eat. They hunted animals such as racoons, dear, beaver, and rabbits; and gathered berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Women prepared the food, gathered and washed the berries. After the men brought their game home, the women would skin the animal, gut it, then prepare it with herbs and spices. After all the prep was done they would cook and serve with the berries. Every part of the animal was used. (skin-clothing, guts-religiously, clothing accessories, cooking utensils, blankets, etc.) The Northeastern Woodlands are known as the people of longhouses. They are famously known for building the biggest and most historical longhouses. Art was a way to express ones culture during religious ceremonies and festivals. It was also a way to honor gods and spirits. Art, for the Eastern Woodlands people, didn't consist of paintings and artifacts like it does for us today. Art for them, was more about clothing. They had decorative sashes, silver bracelets (after Europeans), intricate basket weaving, and masks carved from tree trunks and worn in dances and ceremonies. The Eastern Woodlands people believed strongly in the power of dreams. They believed that a dream could show the cause of an illness, had the power to cure, and showed good fortune in life. To the native people, dreams were a way of connecting the physical world to the spiritual world. They even had people to interpret their dreams (Shaman) to understand what they meant. They believed that spirits could talk to them through dreams, and the peoples way of answering them was through ceremonies, dance, and offerings. Spirits were very important to the Native peoples and they believed that for every good spirit, there was evil one. They believed in a Supreme being that created everything equal, and with a spirit. Today, there are ways of communicating with the spiritual world, however, in our religion, communication with the spiritual world is a sin because it is blasphemous and not to mention very unsafe. But for the Eastern Woodlands, and many other native groups, it is tradition. They believe that spirits are the cause of everything. If it rains after a dry period, it is believed a spirit caused that. As well, they believe that animals have spirits too. It is also said that just because an animal has a violent nature, such as a wolf, that does not mean that it possesses an evil spirit. Storytelling was a way of passing down knowledge to younger generations. Storytelling was usually done by the elders because they were the oldest and had the most knowledge. Instead of going to school and learning about history, like we do, the Native peoples taught their kids through telling stories and passing down legends. Every story had a moral and taught the listeners something about their culture. As well each story included an animal that symbolized something, and was a support to the main character. The main point of a legend was to teach the young kids something about their tribe, and why they did certain things. Music, like art, was another way to express culture through dance, and ceremonies. Unlike the music we have today, which consists of many instruments put together. The Eastern Woodlands music was mostly drums. The drums were made out of animal hide (mostly from buffalo). Drums gave a beat or rhythm to dance to during a festival or religious ceremony. Later on, people began to chant songs along with playing the drums. Dancing played a major role in the lifestyle of the Eastern Woodland peoples. Like most Native groups, the Eastern Woodlands had dances for everything. They danced not only in religious ceremonies, but also to thank the spirits for something. Dancing, for the Native Peoples, is kind of like praying for us. We pray to God, they dance and offer sacrifices to their gods. Some examples of dances they had included: The war dance, whenever they were about to go into war. Victory dance, if they had won a war they do this dance to honor the god or gods that assisted them in their victory. Begging dance, when the young people of the house would beg for food for the feast. Lastly, the most recent dance is the Jingle dress dance. In this dance, the dancer is dressed in lids from snuff and tobacco containers. This dance originated from a spirit coming to a person in a dream and showing them this dance. This dance is directed to women specifically. Clothing The Eastern Woodlands People used the animals around for clothing an accessories. For a majority of their clothing they used deer skins. What they wore was also dictated by the weather. In the summer the men wore Moccasins and loin cloths; and the women wore deerskin dresses that were belted at the waste and came to about knee length. To accessorize they're clothing, they used porcupine quills and after the Europeans came, they started to wear jewelery such as necklaces and bracelets. The use of a longhouse was to shelter extended family for 10-15 years. As long as the soil surrounding the longhouse stayed fertile. How it was built/what is was made of The frame of the longhouse was built out of wood, like houses today. The frame was covered in bark, usually cedar, and then a set of cedar poles was placed on top of the bark to prevent the structure from blowing away. Longhouses had no windows, only doors at both ends of the house. Along with smoke holes in the roof. Inside, people slept on platforms, each family had its own platform. They hung their valuables such as food, clothing, and personal items on the wall to protect it from wild dogs and mice. Nomadic housing Some Eastern Woodlands groups were nomadic, which meant they moved locations every few years. An example are the Algonquians. They were semi-nomadic. In the summer, they stayed in one place to harvest and hunt, then when fall came around they would move to a new location to prepare for winter. Some advantages of this lifestyle was that you always had access to new resources and you got to chose were you lived. Some disadvantages were that you could never permanently settle down making it hard to establish boundary lines, treaties, trading posts, and alliances with surrounding tribes. Music Clothing, food, housing, hunting, gathering, agriculture Government As we know, the Native peoples had a different system of government than we do today. Some groups had levels of social status (leader, representatives, peasants) but mostly, everyone was equal. For the Eastern Woodlands, each village had a tribe and council. The council met when there was a problem to be solved or discussed. Both men and women could have a say in decision making. But if there was a problem that affected the entire tribe, instead of an individual or a household, the people would appoint a sachem. The sachem was always a man, and was chosen by a woman and her clan. A sachem was appointed by his ability and wisdom to hunt and fight. If, the council did not like the sachem's decisions they could overthrow him at any time. Role of Women Tribal Meeting For the Eastern Woodlands, women played a very important role. Many clans were women based (matrilineal) and women were allowed to participate in tribal decisions; as well as be a part of their tribes government system. Aside from taking part in tribal meetings, women also gathered and prepared food, sewed, and cleaned the tipi or longhouse their family lived in. In the Eastern Woodland tribes, men and women were equal and had equal rights. However, a man could not do a woman's job (gathering, cooking) and woman could not do a man's job (hunting or fishing). Mothers taught their daughters how to cook, clean, gather, and prepare an animal. As you can see, unlike the Europeans, the Native People believed that everyone was equal, man or woman. Trade, Commerce, and Economy Religion: Spirits, Ceremonies, Storytelling Ceremonies Ceremonies were very important to the Native Peoples and was a way of thanking spirits, cleansing a possessed person, or warding off evil spirits. Each ceremony had specific masks and dances to go along with it. Ceremonies for the Eastern Woodlands people was like going to church for us. In church we thank and praise God; and in ceremonies, they thank and praise their many gods/spirits. Some examples of ceremonies include: Marriage, groom brings game to bride, she returns with plants. Green Corn Ceremony, for significance of corn. Animism: Belief that humans share the world with animals and plants; and that everything has a spirit. The Wendigo is an angry, cannibalistic, evil spirit that possesses humans. It can also physically transform into a cannibalistic human. As well, a human can turn into a Wendigo. This spirit is very dangerous and very deadly. Anyone possessed by this spirit is in great danger. There are two ways to turn into a Wendigo.
1. Indulging in cannibalism
2. If the demonic spirit possesses you Wendigo Psychosis: is the mental state of being when a person has an intense craving for human flesh {cannibalism}. If a person feeds this craving they begin to turn into a Wendigo, or the spirit may possess the human. However, if a person seeks help of a Shaman, and does taboos, they may be saved. Since cannibalism lead to being possessed by The Wendigo, or turning into a Wendigo; cannibalism was considered very bad by the Algonquians. If you were starving, and on the verge of death, you had to either commit suicide or have someone kill you by permission. Cannibalism was not an option because of the dangerous consequences that came with it. Like most demonic spirits, The Wendigo would possess its victims and put it through physical, spiritual, and mental trauma. There are very few chances a person who has been possessed would survive. Today, The Wendigo is still believed by tribes, and is still very deadly. The Wendigo and other evil spirits are reasons for the Algonquians, and other groups like them, to have Shamans and religious ceremonies in order to protect tribe members from being possessed. To you and I this may not seem like a big deal, but I believe that since they came before us, and have better knowledge of this land, we should respect them and their beliefs, like they do ours. The Wendigo The Wendigo is one of the most deadliest, demonic spirits that is believed in by the Algonquian tribe. The Eastern Woodlands were introduced to trading and economy when the Europeans arrived on their land. They traded with the English, Dutch, and French. Each group had something to offer. The Europeans offered pots, pans, knives, and guns to the Eastern Woodlands. While the Eastern Woodlands people offered animal furs, which were worth a lot in Europe. Besides artifacts, they also traded cultures and beliefs. Many Natives converted to Christianity and many Europeans Married into native tribes. As far as economy went, house holds were self sufficient so economy and trade networks centered on luxury items. If the European's hadn't come in and established trading, the tribes would not have learned about different cultures, money, different ways of living, and the European's version of wealth. Topic of Interest Thanks For Watching! Bibliography


All images retrieved from Google Images, and are not my own.

Video found on Youtube. By: lodi95

Bial, Raymond. The Ojibwe. New York: Benchmark Books, 2000. Print.

Calloway, Colin G.. Indians of the Northeast. New York: Facts on File, 1991. Print.

Clark, Penney, and Roberta McKay. Canada revisited: a social and political history of Canada to 1911. Edmonton: Arnold Pub., 1992. Print.

Shemie, Bonnie. Houses of bark: tipi, wigwam and longhouse. Unknown: Tundra Bks, 2892. Print.
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