The Eastern Woodlands. The Region. Because the region is so large, it is broken into smaller geographic regions. There are actually three distinct areas: The Great Lakes The Northeast The Southeast The Great Lakes region is included with the Northeast for this class.
Many of the trees are deciduous and lose their leaves each year.
Even though America has lost 90% of our forests, the general feel of the Woodlands is still evident.
Since there has been such a vast amount of wood available in the Eastern Woodlands for thousands of years, the use of wood in artistic construction is also prominent.The Environment
Life in the Eastern Woodlands has been primarily sedentary since the Archaic Period.
People lived in villages and towns, with outlying sites for food gathering, production and procurement.
A network of trade routes and information systems existed thousands of years before Contact through which goods, ideas and materials traveled.
There was a heavier reliance on agriculture in the southeast, and hunting and gathering in the northeast.
Climates varied considerably from one end of the range to the other.
The tribes of the Eastern Woodlands are the descendents and inheritors of the prehistoric cultural complex from the Archaic period.
In both the Northeast and Southeast, there are Ceremonial Complexes which illustrate the continuity of cultural and artistic connection from thousands of years ago, to today.
Tribes relied on hunting and gathering for subsistence, living in villages and year-round communities. Sme nations also farmed the “3 sisters”: corn, beans, squash.
While there were many political alliances between tribes in the Northeast, one of the most famous is the Iroquois Confederacy – the People of the Longhouse.
The Six Nations – or Haudenosaunee, remain a powerful alliance of six tribes.
Tribes relied on agricultural practices for subsistence, and lived in sedentary towns.
Changes in artistic conventions and traditions occurred first in the Woodlands because the trade materials and influences were present.
One of the few textile forms that is produced without a loom.
Silver working replaced Native “cold hammer” metalworking traditions after Contact.
The elaborate carving and decoration of shells extends from the prehistoric period to the present in the Eastern Woodlands.
Splint and wickerwork basketry is very common, but many other styles are also produced.
Wicker weave and split river-cane baskets are the forms most commonly produced, but coiled pine needle baskets are also found.
Wooden implements like this Chippewa ladle and Narragansett bowl are rare.
Many carved wooden items were destroyed during the early years of Contact in an effort to eradicate disease epidemics.
Young men were often responsible for carving the household dishes and utensils for their family.
A tradition of the northern part of the Eastern Woodlands, these masks have been carved for thousands of years.
To carve a mask, one must be a member of the False Face Society.
The masks are cared for by the Clan Mothers, but are used by men in healing ceremonies.
There are many different kinds of masks because there are many illnesses to heal.
These masks are found throughout the Woodlands and are used for healing in the home.
Most families would maintain husk faces for healing common illnesses and complaints.
This style of mask comes from the southern part of the Woodlands.
Carved by Cherokee artists for dance performance, healing, and ceremonial use.
They continued to be carved and used by members of the Eastern Band Cherokee in North Carolina.
Quillwork was first impacted in the Woodlands, and eventually nearly replaced by the use of glass seed beads for decorating clothing and other items.
A tradition which continues to be produced by a few families today.
Warclubs and other defensive weapons were created in response to Contact. These were not weapons used in hunting, only for combat. Tomahawks were an early “favorite” trade item.
Both stone and wood are used in sculpture.
Split river-cane baskets with natural dyes.
Specialty - beaded portraiture.
Sweetgrass and black ash splint basketry.