Algonkians in 17th Century New England

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Becky Jagiello
Cult & Civ I
Br. Hannon
Section 4
Class I.D. #14
The Algonkian People
The Algonkian people lived in southern New England in the seventeenth century. They lived a life that combined aspects of Paleolithic hunting and gathering with Neolithic agriculture. Obtaining their basic nutrition of life through these methods led to particular economic, social and gender relations. These people produced crops in addition to the abundant natural supplies of their territories. Farming was primarily the responsibility of the women. They planted corn, beans, squash and artichokes in fields that were cleared by groups of men and women. They also grew tobacco in which men were the farmers. Roger Williams observed that men and women worked in combined agricultural labor but women mostly did the farming work. Women probably worked the most because they were mainly the ones that had to support the family but the men helped them. They normally produced two or three heaps of twelve, fifteen or twenty bushels of food. While the women farmed, the men hunted animals, deer being the most important- contributing to ninety percent of the meat eaten in the tribe. Men also fished and collected numerous shellfish like clams, oysters, scallops and lobsters. The native people changed their houses according to the seasonal economic movements. In the summer they moved to the seashores in family groups. They planted fields a mile or more apart near the coast. They also had villages that had clusters of houses, fishing stations, and shellfish and wild plant collection sites. After harvesting crops in the fall, they moved into the forests to hunt deer. They normally gathered in large groups and worked in common hunts. The Algonkians' diet mostly consisted of meat, fish, shellfish and their crops, which was a very healthy diet for them. It was so varied because they moved around during the seasons. The native socities had an aboriginal social system which was...
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