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Eastern Woodland Hunters
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The Eastern Woodland Hunters were located in Southwest and Southern Ontario (excluding the very
south that was occupied by the Eastern Woodland Farmers), Southern Quebec and the Maritime Provinces.
Food
  • The Algonquian people of the Eastern Woodlands were hunter-gatherers, meaning they relied on collecting edible plants and hunting wild animals as their main source of food.

Tobacco

Corn
Farming
  • They were too far north to rely solely on horticulture; however, some groups did farm.
  • The Mi'kmaq's grew tobacco.
  • Ottawa, Abenaki, and Algonquin grew corn, beans, and squash.
Hunting
  • The people of the Eastern Woodlands became very skilled hunters and fishermen because they lived in forested areas and were usually close to water.
  • During the winter, when the lakes were frozen over, were spent hunting larger game and trapping smaller animals.
  • In the summer months, they would focus a lot of their time on fishing. They would hunt too.
  • In the fall and winter, most of the families moved, following the animals they needed to hunt. Because there was a lot of snowfall in the area, the hunters would use snowshoes as a way of traveling.
  • The most important animal to the Eastern Woodlands Hunters was the white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer were hunted for their meat, but the skins were also dried and used in making their houses and clothing.
  • They also hunted:
    • raccoon
    • bear
    • squirrel
    • beaver
    • moose
    • seal
    • caribou
    • whale
  • The types of animals that they hunted depended on the region where they were living and what wildlife was available to them. For example, the coastal people were able to hunt for seals and whales, while the people in the northern regions were unable to do so, but they could hunt for caribou and moose.

Moose Hunt in winter

Fishing in Canoes

Hunters on Snowshoes

Moose

White-tailed deer - the most important animal to hunt

Caribou

Raccoon

Bear

Beaver

Squirrel

Seal

Whale
Preparing the Meat
Algonquin family tends to the fire
  • There were two ways to prepare the meat.
    • The first way was to cook it, by either roasting or boiling it over a fire, and then eat it right away.
    • The second method was to smoke-dry the meat, as a way to preserve it, and then save it to eat at a future time when they were short on fresh meat.
Fishing
Spear fishing in a lake
  • They spent a lot of time fishing, particularly in the St. Lawrence area, the Great Lakes and along the Atlantic coast.
  • So they often put their villages close to good fishing grounds.
  • The inland people fished in rivers and lakes and their diet included a lot of freshwater fish.
  • The coastal people, like the Mi'maqs, took advantage of the ocean and caught a lot of eels, mulloscs, and crustaceans, in addition to eating a lot of saltwater fish, like cod, smelt, and salmon.

Eel

Atlantic Salmon
Roles of Men and Women
Men hunting deer in camouflage
  • In Eastern Woodlands society it was solely the man's responsibility to hunt and fish.
  • The women were in charge of farming (if they did any), and gathering various wild berries, nuts, tubers and other plants to eat from nearby forests.
  • Around the Great Lakes region in Ontario, the women also harvested wild rice in the fall and maple sap in the spring to make maple sugar.
  • Along the coastal region, it was the woman's responsibility to collect shellfish and mussels from the ocean. They would then have clambakes, where they ate clams, oysters, lobsters, mussels, and other shellfish wrapped in seaweed and cooked over a fire pit.

Ojibwa woman harvesting wild rice

Clams

Lobster

Oysters
Tools

Ojibwa deadfall
  • Most tools that the Eastern Woodlands Hunters used were made of wood or bark.
  • For hunting larger animals they used bows and arrows and lances, and for smaller animals they used traps, snares, and deadfalls.
  • For fishing, they used hooks, weirs, leisters, and nets, all of which they made themselves from forest material.
  • Cooking was done in containers made of wood and bark, mainly from birch trees.
Groups in
this Region
Environment / Housing Transportation / Migration Religion / Ceremonies / Art / Clothing Family / Social Structure / Leadership Tribal Relations / War
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