Mashantucket Pequot Museum Library and Archives Blog

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recent Research on Nipmuc and Eastern Pequot Lifeways

The following master's theses on Nipmuc and Eastern Pequot lifeways have kindly been donated by the UMAss Boston Historical Archaeology Department. We would like to thank program director Stephen W. Silliman, Ph. D., whose past work includes archaeological field research on the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation’s historic 225–acre reservation.

Cipolla, Craig N. 2005
Negotiating Boundaries of Colonialism: Nineteenth-Century Lifeways on the Eastern Pequot Reservation, North Stonington, Connecticut.

Fedore, Michael A. 2008
Consumption and Colonialism: A Zooarchaeological Analysis of Two Eighteenth-Century Sites on the Eastern Pequot Reservation.

Jacobucci, Susan A. 2006
Constant Changes: A Study of Anthropogenic Vegetation Using Pollen and Charcoal on the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation Reservation, North Stonington, Connecticut.

Law, Heather 2008
Daily Negotiations and the Creation of an Alternative Discourse: The Legacy of a Colonial Nipmuc Farmstead.

McNeil, Julie A. 2005
Potsherds and People: Considering the Connections between Ceramics and Identity at the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation Reservation, North Stonington,Connecticut.

Pezzarossi, Guido 2008
Consumption as Social Camouflage: “Mimicry” and Nipmuc Survival Strategies in the Colonial World.

Witt, Thomas A. 2007
Negotiating Colonial Markets: The Navigation of 18th-Century Colonial Economies by the Eastern Pequot.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Tribal Website

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has published its first public website.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Question & Answer: Berry Preservation

Question: I have read that berries were a important part of the Native American diet. How were berries preserved by Native people, who had no means of canning or refrigeration?

Answer: There are materials here in the library that suggest that a common method of preserving the berries was to dry them and then ground them into a flour type of consistency. The dried and ground berries were then used in recipes.

"Although we now have many ways of storing foods for use out of season, the Indians usually had to rely on just one method - drying. This is what they did when they found more chokecherries than they cared to eat fresh.

The Jicarilla Apaches ground the berries and made the meal into round cakes approximately 6 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. These hard, blackish patties could be stored and reconstituted when they were needed by soaking in water. The seeds contain a fair percentage of cyanide, but this poison is volatile and drive off by cooking. The soaked cherry cakes were boiled and the juice strained and sometimes sweetened for use as a beverage, or the juice was combined with other ingredients."
Source--Niethammer, Carolyn. American Indian Cooking: Recipes from the Southwest. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999

"Berries, both fresh and dried, were important in the diet of Northwestern tribes. According to Skokomish chef Bruce Miller, the wild cranberry, about a quarter of the size of those sold commercially, is only one of the many varieties of berries available in the Northwest.

Traditionally, fresh berries were cooked by placing alternating layers of berries and heated stones in a special cedar cooking box or a tightly woven basket. After the stones were removed, the cooked berries - depending on the variety and the desired use - were either left to sit and thicken or were thickened more quickly by an addition of dried powdered berries or powdered skunk cabbage leaves. Thickened berries were formed into cakes and placed on wooden drying racks lined with skunk cabbage leaves. After drying over a hot alder-wood fire, the finished cakes were stacked and tied with soft shredded cedar bark and stored in a warm, dry place for future use."
Source--Cox, Beverly and Martin Jacobs. Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Inc., 1991.

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