My Social Studies class back in Florida are starting a special research project on Native Americans. Since I am here in Southampton, I can visit our local Native American tribe, The Shinnecock Nation. They have a large reservation just west of Southampton Village. Every year around the end of August they have a large Pow-Wow where Indian tribes from all over the United States attend.
Yesterday, my Mom and Dad and I drove to the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum. First we had to register and pay to visit the Wikun Village next to the Museum. At the village we saw how the Shinnecock lived in the period of 1640 to 1750. There were a replica Wigwam, with fire pit, bed and dirt floor. Also a large Wigwam for storage was built, as well as a dirt pit for meal storage, a garden and a dugout canoe.
The Shinnecock lived off the land and the sea since they are located on Shinnecock Bay and close to the Atlantic Ocean. They also are close to Peconic Bay and would eat lots of fish, clams, lobsters and scallops during the warm months. In the cold months they would eat wild game like deer, geese and turkey. Their clothing came from the deer hides and occasional bear and elk that used to be around this part of Long Island.
The garden was interesting because they used the 3 Sisters method of growing. In the center of the planting was the corn and under that the beans and then the squash. The beans could use the corn stalk to grow and the squash plant leaves and flowers would cover and protect the beans.
They used dugout canoes to fish and even hunt for whales. There was a special exhibition in the Museum of Indian whalers from 1640 to the late 19th century. They built their canoes by taking a large trunk of a fallen tree and using axes and adzes would scrap out the wood but after they had burned it to make it softer. That is why there is black soot and ash on the inside.
I went downstairs at the Museum where they had a special exhibition of 20 bronze sculptures showing various Lakota and Plains people by a famous western artist named Dave McGary. The culture center had a special scavenger hunt form you had to fill out by finding certain sculpture’s features and writing it down. I got them all right and received a nice flintstone arrow head from the Museum.
Last, we drove down to the reservation center where the Shinnecock Presbyterian Church is located. It is the oldest Indian Reform Church in the United States as it was founded in the late 1600’s.