NativeTech: Native American Technology & Art

Scenes from the Eastern Woodlands
A Virtual Tour ~ Circa 1550

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Tending to our garden ...
You will see how our "Three Sisters", corn, beans and squash, all grow together. We rake and hoe the soil of our gardens so that the earth is heaped up into evenly spaced small mounds. Sometimes we mix fish or compost into the little mounds to fertilize the earth and help the sisters grow.

One woman holds a hoe made from a deer scapula, (or shoulder blade bone), fastened to a long wood handle. A few dried kernels from last year are placed in the center of each mound, and then bean and squash seeds are planted around the corn kernels. As the corn stalk grows, the beans wind their way up around the supporting cornstalk, and the low growing squash and pumpkin plants grow to spread out between the mounds. These three plants depend on each other to flourish, and that is why we call them the "Three Sisters".

Our small gardens are always near our houses and villages, so that we can tend them more easily. Recently, some people have started living in larger villages and they have built great palisade forts around their villages to defend themselves against the invading Europeans. Their gardens near the palisades are like great fields, and they often lay some distance from the forts.

Tending to our garden ...
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.