An Abenaki Village

You are in an Abenaki village at harvest time in the mid-1600s. These Abenaki have met and traded with the Europeans. Contact has made a significant cultural and environmental impact on the Abenaki, but they largely continue to live in their traditional way. They live on the banks of a river and use its water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and to irrigate their fields. Fish are speared, netted, and trapped. The area around the village has been cleared to grow crops by cutting and burning trees and brush, but close by is a dense forest. The women are caring for babies, cooking, harvesting corn, and preparing it for the winter months. The men are fishing and their catch is being preserved on drying racks. Children are playing.

mural at vhs museum_an abenaki village

Meals are prepared over fires using clay pots as well as some newly acquired iron kettles. Cloth traded for beaver pelts has been made into clothing, used in combination with animal skins or replacing skins altogether.

Inside the house fur robes and blankets are stored for use during the cold seasons. Herbs and plants are hung up to dry. Snowshoes will be repaired in preparation for hunting and traveling in deep snow. The seams in the canoe will get new pitch to make it as tight as possible to keep out cold water. As the days get shorter plans will be made for the move to winter hunting grounds, and decisions will be made about where to place caches to store dried corn, beans, nuts, smoked meats, and fish. At night, elders share stories about ancestors and spirits, and everyone gives thanks for a good harvest.

women drying fish; part of mural at vhs museummural view #2 woman gardening

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