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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 03-04-2011 01:56 PM 1636 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch


This week I’ve had the privilege of attending a Gathering at an Anishnabe community and learning about their history and the history of this region.

One of the most intriguing pieces of information (to me) was presented by an archeologist who said that after the Anishnabe (“First People”) arrived in (northern) Ontario following the ice age, some 10,000 years ago, that for 5,000 years they lived the same lifestyle – that of the hunter/gatherer.

Artifacts from 2,000 years ago indicated that they knew how to farm but chose not to and until the mid-1800’s they were hunter/gatherers/gardeners, moving from spring camps, to summer camps, to fall locations, to winter camps. Each location had its specific benefits and when they moved to their next camp they left “no sign” that they had been there, other than the gardening areas that had been created. (Not sure what those looked like.) Artifacts for the camps typically include a few seed beads, a few pieces of shot (ammunition)- from recent history, and charred bone fragments, and that is basically all that is ever found.

And now to the trees
An archeo-botanist set up a display showing pictures of seeds & bark, etc found in this area from thousands of years ago. Here is some of what I wrote down. (thought you might be interested)

11,000 BC: wild plum, hickory, butternut, maple, beech, oak,
1,000 BC: butternut, hickory, black walnut,
600-1650 AD: dogwood, sumac, elderberry,

Oh, and I also held in my hand a “hammer” stone from ancient times. Perhaps 4,000 years ago (I should have written it down). The stone was shaped somewhat like a balloon with a waist, in case you wanted an “image”. (like my description?? :D )

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

9 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4488 days

#1 posted 03-04-2011 02:01 PM

Cool, Debbie.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3617 days

#2 posted 03-04-2011 02:39 PM

Interesting that a group could effectively move 4 times a year without leaving a trace while we can’t go to the park for a day without leaving traces of our activities that would be noticed for a decade.

Must have been an awe inspiring experience for you Debbie :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3185 days

#3 posted 03-04-2011 02:51 PM

I’ve always been fascinated with old wood.
The idea of making a project out of old growth wood that was around before George Washington is the coolest thing. Can you imagine making something out of 1- 5000 yr. old wood?

I know you could say that dirt is just as old but I never heard of curly dirt, or birds eye dirt.
No grain and doesn’t smell as good either.

Sounds like you had fun.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4669 days

#4 posted 03-04-2011 02:56 PM

exactly my thoughts, David .. we have some changing to do!

I had a fascinating time. My understandings of our past was shaken on a number of different levels.

When I held the hammer and an arrowhead from even further back in history, knowing that someone had made it and used it thousands and thousands of years ago, knowing that they were living, breathing, thinking, planning, caring, dreaming .. and they held this very substance in their hands as well … wow.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Roger's profile


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#5 posted 03-04-2011 03:42 PM

very interesting bits of history. thnx for the lesson Deb

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View mmh's profile


3679 posts in 4231 days

#6 posted 03-05-2011 06:16 AM

Gee, if that rock could talk! It’s amazing to think of the ancient people that roamed this earth before us. I am at awe as to how they survived the elements and daily hardships of staying alive providing for their families.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4669 days

#7 posted 03-05-2011 12:06 PM

a difficult but simple life, I’m sure.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3397 days

#8 posted 03-06-2011 12:18 PM

Hi Debbie.

As someone of part native extraction my grandmother was 1/2 Kahnawake Mohawk), I can tell you life was very complex even then. The crafts they had were more than the diversion thyey are to us today, they were a matter of life or death. If we blow a wood project, we buy more wood at the big box store and try again. The original North Americans had no such luxury. Blow a project and it meant you did without, as you were probably not going to be anywhere you can get more of that species of wood for a year!* If it was something you needed, tough luck. You did without and if that meant hardship, so be it. You learned fast back then, or you didn’t ;live very long.

That arrowhead you held was most likely what is called a “Clovis point”. They took hours of skilled hand craftsmanship to make and were very important because part of “hunter gatherer” is hunter, and hunting was a major part of their diet. Make poor quality points and your kids went hungry. Talk about an incentive to do good work!

Our people learned to live through the coldest of winters without central heating. Indeed, they lived in buffalo hide tents in minus 40 degree weather. They moved their entire community from place to place without the benefit of moving vans or railroads. They found their way around thousands of miles of unmarked territory without a GPS in sight. They had a trading system that imported goods from as far away as Peru to the south, the Inuit to the north, the Maritimes to the east and the Haida of Vancouver Island to the west. This is evidenced by findings of trade goods in the archeological digs of such things as turquoise, pacific salmon bones, altlantic cod bones, walrus tusk ivory items and so on.

They had a rich cultural heritage as well. Look into the courting flutes used by single men to woo their ladies with music. The drums that beat out the heartbeat of mother earth during the dances, the magnificent bead work done by the women to decorate their own garments and those of their menfolk. These items now bring thousands of dollars in the antique galleries of modern society.

Although I was an adult before I discovered my roots (due to the stigma of being native when I was young), I now take pride in it and wish I knew more about it than the little I have discovered by looking through the net and by visirsts to the reserve my ancestors lived on and others across the country. It’s a shame most [eople judge our ancestors and our present day people by the few misguided individuals who abuse alcohol and live in “the white man’s world” rather than by the very successful members of our tribes like the Supreme Court justice, the members op parliament and of the cabinet, the doctors, lawyers, police constables, nurses, aurline pilots and any other profession you would care to name that are members of a first nation.

Paul of the Bear clan of the Kahnawake Mohawk nation

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4669 days

#9 posted 03-06-2011 12:35 PM

I so agree – on all of that.
If we take the wisdom of those words and apply it to our woodworking (and life as a whole), wouldn’t that make our creations even more powerful and beautiful?

Words of wisdom given to me by one of their presenters, an artist, was: “we are more than the residential schools and land disputes”. His goal is to bring “the people” back into focus, by creating sculptures for the larger community, to make “the people” visible and respected. He said that when we (all of mankind) work together, honour each other, move beyond the “me and them” mentality, then the circle will become whole.

Back to woodworking, I see it frequently on here, when a woodworker becomes “one” with the wood, working with it rather than “to” it, the project takes on a whole other level of exceptionality.

As Frank would say, “honour the Spirit of the wood”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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