NativeTech: Native American Technology & Art

Scenes from the Eastern Woodlands
A Virtual Tour ~ Circa 1550

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Picking cherries for our bread ...
You will see the women out gathering one of the many berries that grow wild during the late summer months. We named July "Month When the Cherries Turn Black." The choke cherry's fruit comes on the trees every other year. So although last year there were hardly any cherries, this year the fruit is here in great abundance.

Deep scratches in the tree bark are evidence that bears have been here for the berry harvest. As we pick from the hanging cherry clusters growing in the tall, shrubby trees, you can smell the sweet, fruity scent of this tree's sap.

We gather the choke cherries in our berry-picking baskets which we make out of elm bark. Our baskets are made in the shape of a cone with the bottom snipped off. The piece of bark is wrapped around, sewn up the side and sewn across the bottom. Because berries and cherries stain our fingers and our baskets, we only use these baskets for gathering our berries.

We use these cherries in our breads, sauces and stews. This young girl empties her berries into a soapstone mortar to grind them up (pits and all). This cherry paste will be dried and then formed into dense little cakes to be eaten later in winter months.

Picking cherries for our bread ...
This series is now available as a soft-cover book:
"Woodland Windows," with expanded descriptive
text and additional resource materials

These scenes are also available as
Fine Art Note Cards

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© 1994 - Tara Prindle
unless otherwise cited.