Most of the Eastern Woodlands Indians relied on agriculture, cultivating the “three sisters”—corn, beans, and squash. All made tools for hunting and fishing, like bows and arrows and traps, and developed specialized tools for tasks like making maple sugar and harvesting wild rice.
They hunted deer, bear, moose and caribou, and, where available, seals, porpoises and whales. In hunting they used bows, arrows, lances, traps, snares and deadfalls, and used hooks, weirs, leisters and nets to fish. Meat was either boiled or roasted for immediate consumption or smoke-dried for future use.
The traditional diet consisted of a wide variety of cultivated, hunted, and gathered foods, including corn (maize), beans, squash, deer, fish, waterbirds, leaves, seeds, tubers, berries, roots, nuts, and maple syrup.
The Plains Indians who did travel constantly to find food hunted large animals such as bison (buffalo), deer and elk. They also gathered wild fruits, vegetables and grains on the prairie. They lived in tipis, and used horses for hunting, fighting and carrying their goods when they moved.
The Eastern Woodlands Indians dressed mainly in clothing made from animal hides that were softened, tanned, and sewn. Their basic wardrobe consisted of soft-soled moccasins, leggings, and a long-sleeved shirt or coat, over which women wore long skirts and men wore breechclouts and short kilts.
The Lumbee are descended from several Carolina tribes, including the Cheraw, who intermarried with whites and free African Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nakai, 38, can trace her family tree back to at least 1900, when her great-grandfather was listed as Indian on the federal census.
Mississippians depended on corn for food, and they cleared and planted fields near their towns and villages. The amount of cultivated plant food in the Mississippian diet distinguishes it from the typical Woodland period diet.
Eastern Woodland Native Americans commonly lived in wigwams or wickiups. The frame was made of willow saplings. The frame was also covered with woven cattail mats or bark. A fire pit would have been located in the middle and bedding on the floor or on raised bed frames made of sticks.
A breechcloth is a long rectangular piece of tanned deerskin, cloth, or animal fur. It is worn between the legs and tucked over a belt, so that the flaps fall down in front and behind. In some tribes, the breechcloth loops outside of the belt and then is tucked into the inside, for a more fitted look.
Clothing. Plains women used bison hides and the softer, finer skins of deer and antelope to make garments. They decorated clothing with porcupine-quill embroidery, fringe, and, in later times, glass and ceramic beads. On the northern Plains, men wore a shirt, leggings, and moccasins.
The Woodlands Native Americans worshipped the spirits of nature. They believed in a Supreme Being who was all-powerful. Shamanism was part of their religious practices. A shaman is a person who, while in a trance, can communi- cate with the spirits.