Difference between revisions of "Native American land use"

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[[Category: Prehistory in and around the Jones River]]
 
[[Category: Prehistory in and around the Jones River]]
  
The land practices of the Wampanoag people, whose territory included Kingston (lived on by their subset Federation called the Patuxet), focused on utilizing a limited amount of resources at the exclusion of others at various different points during the year. In order to have such a system of subsistence work, the Wampanoag used preservation and storage technology to make these resources last. For example, the shellfish and fish caught in spring and summer were then dried and stored in what the English observers called "barnes." This system also required very specialized technology so that resources were used efficiently and energy wasn't spent needlessly. One example of this would be the placing of fish weirs at certain places along the Jones River where the greatest number of fish were known to migrate.  
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The land practices of the Wampanoag people, whose territory included Kingston (lived on by their subset Federation called the Patuxet), focused on utilizing a limited amount of resources at the exclusion of others at various different points during the year (Chartier, 35). In order to have such a system of subsistence work, the Wampanoag used preservation and storage technology to make these resources last. For example, the shellfish and fish caught in spring and summer were then dried and stored in what the English observers called "barnes." This system also required very specialized technology so that resources were used efficiently and energy wasn't spent needlessly. One example of this would be the placing of fish weirs at certain places along the Jones River where the greatest number of fish were known to migrate.  
  
The Wampanoag were not migratory, and were certainly not nomadic, but were also not sedentary or village-based either. Instead, they moved seasonally back and forth from the estuary of the Jones River inland to probably the ponds in Pembroke. This allowed them to utilize the land more efficiently as well. For example, fish and shellfish could be caught in the spring and summer, and then in the fall and winter, the shift inland would allow the Wampanoag to focus on hunting deer and beaver away from the exposed elements of the coast, with each species having at this time of year more body fat to protect from the winter cold. This meant more calories for the Wampanoag people to supplement their inland storage pits full of dried foodstuffs.  
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The Wampanoag were not migratory, and were certainly not nomadic, but were also not sedentary or village-based either (Bragdon 58). Instead, they moved seasonally back and forth from the estuary of the Jones River inland to probably the ponds in Pembroke (DePauli, 35). This allowed them to utilize the land more efficiently as well. For example, fish and shellfish could be caught in the spring and summer, and then in the fall and winter, the shift inland would allow the Wampanoag to focus on hunting deer and beaver away from the exposed elements of the coast, with each species having at this time of year more body fat to protect from the winter cold. This meant more calories for the Wampanoag people to supplement their inland storage pits full of dried foodstuffs.  
  
By the time European explorers and eventually settlers arrived in New England, maize (or corn) was being cultivated by the Wampanoag. It seems unlikely that this was a staple crop for the Wampanoag, however; it was more of a supplement perhaps. Researcher Scott Nixon has argued, for instance, that the food security the Wampanoag already had from their year-round supply of marine resources alone would have made intensive agriculture as the English knew it a bit unnecessary, and not worth the extra labor it would have required. The Wampanoag also grew squash, beans, and sunflower. In a horticultural method that has been praised by modern agronomists, according to Kathleen Bragdon, Native Americans of New England would plant the seeds of the squash alongside the corn stalks. The squash vines would then cling to the corn stalks as they grew, and the vines would in turn protect the corn plants from the intrusion of weeds. This is both accomplishes nitrogen fixation of the soil as well as weed control.  
+
By the time European explorers and eventually settlers arrived in New England, maize (or corn) was being cultivated by the Wampanoag. It seems unlikely that this was a staple crop for the Wampanoag, however; it was more of a supplement perhaps. Researcher Scott Nixon has argued, for instance, that the food security the Wampanoag already had from their year-round supply of marine resources alone would have made intensive agriculture as the English knew it a bit unnecessary, and not worth the extra labor it would have required (Nixon 18). The Wampanoag also grew squash, beans, and sunflower. In a horticultural method that has been praised by modern agronomists, Native Americans of New England would plant the seeds of the squash alongside the corn stalks. The squash vines would then cling to the corn stalks as they grew, and the vines would in turn protect the corn plants from the intrusion of weeds. This is both accomplishes nitrogen fixation of the soil as well as weed control (Bragdon).  
  
Separate areas were left uncultivated with these foodstuffs, and were instead left open and green for berries as well as grazing pasture for deer. Oak, hickory, and chestnut trees were managed through small, well-orchestrated brush burning, and these trees were valuable for the acorns that the Wampanoags used for breads or the nuts used for oils. White birch was used for making canoes.  
+
Separate areas were left uncultivated with these foodstuffs, and were instead left open and green for berries as well as grazing pasture for deer. Oak, hickory, and chestnut trees were managed through small, well-orchestrated brush burning, and these trees were valuable for the acorns that the Wampanoags used for breads or the nuts used for oils. White birch was used for making canoes (Russell 122-125).  
  
Every Native American Nation in the region, and there were many coexisting alongside each other (Patuxet, Nauset, greater Wampanoag, Nipmuck, or Massachusett, and others), had its own specified hunting ground or deer pasture which was kept open. The Native Americans of this region learned to simulate bird calls and animal sounds, as well as utilize animals scents in order to become more effective hunters. They also often developed land use techniques which would assist them in catching their food sources. For example, William Woods in his account of the Native Americans of New England describes the use of two rows of hedges, separated at one end by as much as a mile or two, which would gradually narrow, so that deer running through would be easy targets for arrows. These hedges were grown, of course, at those places identified to be most frequented by the deer.
+
Every Native American Nation in the region, and there were many coexisting alongside each other (Patuxet, Namasket, greater Wampanoag, Nipmuck, or Massachusett, and others), had its own specified hunting ground or deer pasture which was kept open. The Native Americans of this region learned to simulate bird calls and animal sounds, as well as utilize animals scents in order to become more effective hunters (Russell 125). They also often developed land use techniques which would assist them in catching their food sources. For example, William Woods in his account of the Native Americans of New England describes the use of two rows of hedges, separated at one end by as much as a mile or two, which would gradually narrow, so that deer running through would be easy targets for arrows (Wood, 88). These hedges were grown, of course, at those places identified to be most frequented by the deer.
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Sources:
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Bragdon, Kathleen. Native People of Southern New England, 1500-1650. University of Oklahoma Press.(1996)
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 +
Chartier, Craig S. "Analysis of the Archaeological Collections of the Kingston Public Library Local History Room: Cram and Allerton Site Collections." Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project. Web.
 +
 
 +
DePauli, Neill, et al. Historic and Archaeological Resources of Southeast Massachusetts: A Framework of Preservation Decisions. MHC. 1982. Web.
 +
 
 +
Nixon, Scott. "Marine Resources and the Human Carrying Capacity of Coastal Ecosystems in Southern New England Before European Contact." Northeast Anthropology. No. 68 (Fall 2004)
 +
 
 +
Russell, Howard S. Indian New England Before the Mayflower. (1980)
 +
 
 +
Wood, William. New England's Prospects. London. (1634)

Latest revision as of 10:28, 23 May 2020


The land practices of the Wampanoag people, whose territory included Kingston (lived on by their subset Federation called the Patuxet), focused on utilizing a limited amount of resources at the exclusion of others at various different points during the year (Chartier, 35). In order to have such a system of subsistence work, the Wampanoag used preservation and storage technology to make these resources last. For example, the shellfish and fish caught in spring and summer were then dried and stored in what the English observers called "barnes." This system also required very specialized technology so that resources were used efficiently and energy wasn't spent needlessly. One example of this would be the placing of fish weirs at certain places along the Jones River where the greatest number of fish were known to migrate.

The Wampanoag were not migratory, and were certainly not nomadic, but were also not sedentary or village-based either (Bragdon 58). Instead, they moved seasonally back and forth from the estuary of the Jones River inland to probably the ponds in Pembroke (DePauli, 35). This allowed them to utilize the land more efficiently as well. For example, fish and shellfish could be caught in the spring and summer, and then in the fall and winter, the shift inland would allow the Wampanoag to focus on hunting deer and beaver away from the exposed elements of the coast, with each species having at this time of year more body fat to protect from the winter cold. This meant more calories for the Wampanoag people to supplement their inland storage pits full of dried foodstuffs.

By the time European explorers and eventually settlers arrived in New England, maize (or corn) was being cultivated by the Wampanoag. It seems unlikely that this was a staple crop for the Wampanoag, however; it was more of a supplement perhaps. Researcher Scott Nixon has argued, for instance, that the food security the Wampanoag already had from their year-round supply of marine resources alone would have made intensive agriculture as the English knew it a bit unnecessary, and not worth the extra labor it would have required (Nixon 18). The Wampanoag also grew squash, beans, and sunflower. In a horticultural method that has been praised by modern agronomists, Native Americans of New England would plant the seeds of the squash alongside the corn stalks. The squash vines would then cling to the corn stalks as they grew, and the vines would in turn protect the corn plants from the intrusion of weeds. This is both accomplishes nitrogen fixation of the soil as well as weed control (Bragdon).

Separate areas were left uncultivated with these foodstuffs, and were instead left open and green for berries as well as grazing pasture for deer. Oak, hickory, and chestnut trees were managed through small, well-orchestrated brush burning, and these trees were valuable for the acorns that the Wampanoags used for breads or the nuts used for oils. White birch was used for making canoes (Russell 122-125).

Every Native American Nation in the region, and there were many coexisting alongside each other (Patuxet, Namasket, greater Wampanoag, Nipmuck, or Massachusett, and others), had its own specified hunting ground or deer pasture which was kept open. The Native Americans of this region learned to simulate bird calls and animal sounds, as well as utilize animals scents in order to become more effective hunters (Russell 125). They also often developed land use techniques which would assist them in catching their food sources. For example, William Woods in his account of the Native Americans of New England describes the use of two rows of hedges, separated at one end by as much as a mile or two, which would gradually narrow, so that deer running through would be easy targets for arrows (Wood, 88). These hedges were grown, of course, at those places identified to be most frequented by the deer.

Sources:

Bragdon, Kathleen. Native People of Southern New England, 1500-1650. University of Oklahoma Press.(1996)

Chartier, Craig S. "Analysis of the Archaeological Collections of the Kingston Public Library Local History Room: Cram and Allerton Site Collections." Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project. Web.

DePauli, Neill, et al. Historic and Archaeological Resources of Southeast Massachusetts: A Framework of Preservation Decisions. MHC. 1982. Web.

Nixon, Scott. "Marine Resources and the Human Carrying Capacity of Coastal Ecosystems in Southern New England Before European Contact." Northeast Anthropology. No. 68 (Fall 2004)

Russell, Howard S. Indian New England Before the Mayflower. (1980)

Wood, William. New England's Prospects. London. (1634)