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The Powhatan American Indians. Please fill in the following boxes throughout this presentation with the correct pictures and word descriptions in each box. We will check your answers at the end. The Powhatan lived in the Eastern Woodlands.

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Please fill in the following boxes throughout this presentation with the correct pictures and word descriptions in each box. We will check your answers at the end.

The Powhatan’s land consisted of mountains and forests and lots of different plant life, just like where you live.

In fact, the Powhatan lived in Virginia, which is where you live! I wonder if the Powhatan children played in the same places that you play outside?

Since we know that the Powhatan lived where you live, you already know what their climate (or weather) was like:

It was just like your weather now: hot, humid summers and mild (not too bad) winters.

The Native Americans gave us carving, pottery, weaving, respect for nature, and knowledge of the environment.

Indian weaving

Birch bark baskets

Canoe carving and art

the powhatan traveled by walking and riding in canoes
The Powhatan traveled by walking and riding in canoes.

They could not go buy a canoe though, they had to make it. The next slides will show you how they made the canoe. The man demonstrating how to build the canoe is from today’s time. He is re-enacting how the Native Americans made canoes.


Bending Birch Bark Around a Frame

They arrange the pieces of birch bark on a building bed. A weighted frame is placed on top of the bark. Using hot water to make the bark more flexible, they begin bending the bark into shape.

The birch bark is held in place with a series of stakes and stays tied together with basswood bark.


Staking the Birch Bark Canoe

He inserts stakes in holes in the building frame. Once the stakes are firmly in place he holds the bark in place by tying stays to the stakes with basswood bark.


Making the Prowpieces

He splits out cedar trees to make many parts of a birch bark canoe. Here, he is bending a stempiece into place and tying it. The stempiece and manboard are tied together make up a prowpiece. A prowpiece is inserted into each end of the canoe.

Most of the prowpiece will be hidden from view when the canoe is finished.


Sewing Birch Bark

He gathers spruce root and splits it for sewing or stitching the birch bark canoe. Many different stitches are used, and he shows all of these as the canoe is built.

In this image you can see the top of the manboard and the gunwales.


Carving & Installing Cedar Ribs

Starting with a cedar log, he demonstrates how to split out the rib stock, carve it to shape, and fit it together. The result is a light but durable birch bark canoe capable of carrying people and their gear as they explore America's wilderness.


Sealing the Seams

Native Americans used the trees and plants around them to make the things they needed.They used pitch from trees to seal the seams on the canoe so it would not leak.