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Northeastern Woodlands Precontact Life Ways Changes during Contact and Colonialism

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As for me when the words Northeastern woodlands come into mind the book The Skulking Way Of War by Patrick M. Malone comes into mind, and I always have this perception of Indians living in dark forest archaic times moving across the numerous lakes with their birch-bark canoes. I also envision them giving rise to now-famous words used today like Tomahawk, squaw, sachem, as well as a wigwam. The Northeastern woodlands Indians had three key language units, namely the Algonquian, the Iroquoian, and the Siouan. The Algonkian concentrated in the Western Great Lakes towards the New England coast, and downstream towards the North Carolina coast. The Iroquoian lived around Eastern Great lakes towards the Appalachian Mountains. However, the Winnebago were the only northwestern woodlands Siouan speakers, and they mostly dwelled around the Great Lakes region (Oswalt, 2009). Thus, the aim of this self-reflection paper is to describe the North-eastern Woodlands native Indians’ pre-contact life ways, changes they underwent during contact and their lifestyle during colonialism.

What surprised me about the Northeastern woodlands indigenous people is that before contact with Europeans they were not a single unit, and instead they had numerous sub-cultural regions, whereby each region observed a rather specialized environmental adjustment. To begin with, the Algonquian sub-group occupied the area around Lake Superior and then northwards to Lake Huron, towards Ottawa Valley, while others occupied the area eastwards of New England and Atlantic Provinces towards the coast. The second subcultural group was the Iroquoian-speaking tribes and they occupied eastern Great Lakes regions, the area around mid-St. Lawrence Valley, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and upstate New York. They mostly engaged in hunting, fishing, corn production and wild vegetable harvesting. The third sub-cultural region extended along the Atlantic coast, and the inhabitants were Micmac, Malecite, Abnaki subcultural groups.