The First Peoples of the Northeast

The First Peoples of the Northeast
The First Peoples of the Northeast

How long have people lived in northeastern America?  European colonists and early archaeologists tended to deny any lengthy habitation by Native Americans anywhere on the continent, but especially in the northeast.  Today we have a much better understanding of the arrival and subsequent population of this area.  Learn more about the history and research of indigenous peoples in the Northeast in these three books available at The Wandering Bull, LLC!

A Deep Presence: 13,000 Years of Native American History.    A Deep Presence

Archaeologist and Professor Robert Goodby offers  archaeological and historical perspectives on the existence of people in northeastern America.   He focuses on southern New Hampshire and the earliest archaeological sites that have been found there.  Despite European tendencies to disregard or even deny the early presence of Native Americans, archaeologists have found sites that date back to over 12,000 years ago.  Goodby demonstrates that Native peoples moved into the northeastern part of the continent relatively quickly after the great  ice sheet melted.  The landscape they inhabited differed markedly from the one we know today, with lakes and rivers that have since altered remarkably or disappeared altogether.  These people hunted large game animals in an environment that was closer to tundra than the forests of today.

Goodby also considers historical records that demonstrate the continued presence of Native Americans in New Hampshire.  Though colonists claimed to have driven all of the indigenous people out of New England, they remained and continue to live here.  Books and newspapers mention residents who may not have been called ‘Indians’ but who continued to practice traditional crafts and life ways.

A Time Before New Hampshire: The Story of a Land and Native Peoples.  A Time Before New Hampshire

Author Michael Caduto starts his book at the beginning of geological time.   He discusses the formation of the continent itself and the development of landscape features that we can still see today.    Each of his chapters features fictional scenarios depicting what may have happened in various places around what is now New Hampshire over the centuries.   He uses these fictional scenes  to describe how the lifestyles of native peoples developed as the climate changed.  They created new tools, clothing and household goods that they employed to best utilize the resources around them.

Caduto explores Native American food sources, hunting grounds, gathering places and ritual practices.  His book ends with the arrival of the white colonists who eventually took over the lands where the first peoples lived for so many centuries.

Twelve Thousand Years: American Indians in Maine.  Twelve Thousand Years

Archaeologist and Professor Bruce Bourque presents an overview of the Native American inhabitants of what is now the state of Maine.  He begins with a chapter on archaeology in Maine, reviewing several sites and the artifacts found at them.   Bourque then offers chapters on each archaeological time period from the Paleo-Indian period through the mid-1700s.

Bourque’s appendices describe the continued existence of Native Americans in Maine up to the present day. Photographs, drawings and artifacts testify to the continuity of Native American culture even if the people themselves have been overlooked or disregarded.

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