Samantha Villagomez

The Algonquin Civilization

The ancient Algonquin civilization was a very unique and sophisticated culture in the Atlantic World because they used technology, created social organization and traveled to many different locations and areas. The Algonquin or Algonkin spoke the Algonquian language, and they started their empire around the Atlantic Coast of North America and the Canadian region.

Algonquins traveled in small groups supervised by a group leader or shaman. They mostly wore moose and deer hide, and in the winter wore beaver fur and capes. Lots of settlements survived by hunting, fishing and gathering crops depending on the season. Also Algonquins made bows out of animal bones and/or wood. They thought that the world was created by a man who decided to flood it and convinced animals to sacrifice themselves for the world to survive.

Ancient Algonquin clothingexternal image aM3QbxVlAwYXgKVm1x-gkmvyoqF2ZNp7pzxpQVnGhCjpCCvmqz3edczDE1g5xopkkG1gSDN3m7VpZpsOR4cOdgncL3AkFzOxuD2xihlBh1bocxDgqqI

The Algonquin people were very widespread and well-known throughout North America. The homeland of the Algonquins lies in an area from the Pacific North (USA and Canada) to Newfoundland. Lots of Algonquins separated themselves between bands ranging from Ottawa Valley to St. Lawrence. They were mostly concentrated in the New England region, but some Algonquin tribes lived in the West and Northern part of America, as well as in the Midwestern states and in the Southern areas.

The red part is where the Algonquin territory was.
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The daily life of the Algonquins was very simple but different depending on the season. During the warm weather they created large houses in which more than one family could stay. During the spring, they catch seafood using canoes that they built. In the summer they would gather strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and nuts. During the fall, tribes would divide into groups no bigger than 30 people. Ancient Algonquins liked to hunt in large groups so that every hunter could be protected by one another if they were ever attacked by people or animals. In the fall they hunted different types of migratory birds and their eggs. During the winter people created winter camps in sheltered places where they built secure houses. This shows how adaptable were the Algonquins to the weather and the environment.

This picture shows them moving to different areas and places so that they could find food external image CYK-o2q34ETTn_m2qqGMfE9a2FXFNFDkOCOhJ2Np_eaEBbRm_SaSHT3KcS4zwFpwH7UAj7kZkVlFKrvm27SRcZd2a-ayXWNDgY4bf-V3KV1SoPIc5BM

The Algonquin culture and political organization was very different from what we do today. Each Algonquin group had its own reserve which was legally under the control of the tribe. The men in the Algonquin culture were the leaders/heads of the family and had territorial rights. The Chief was not elected but inherited from his father, and he was more of a spokesperson than a decision maker. The decision making process was very fair and equal because every person was allowed to speak up his/her opinion and could vote.The shaman also had an important role in the Algonquin empire because it was believed he was able to cure the sick and talk to the spirit of the weorld. He was also called upon as an interpreter of dreams. The Algonquin society believed in afterlife, witchcraft and thought that revealing their real names could expose them to enemies who could kill them.

This is an example of a house/wigwam that the Algonquin’s lived external image wXbIUP_wKHsNY-zLzXTE8SwJ9uD0Dyg3efPgo_xgbf7_mA9Rwe-xTp2fbBbGFsj6m13SPArhwESH_UzU102L3lUfwm03GqEtRNxWwMBaB__r4rxsi58

Religion was very important to the Algonquins because they had lots of beliefs. For example, the Algonquins had the notion of respect because they thought that every animal, plant or any part of the earth is the circle of life. They also thought everything had a purpose and needs to be respected like anything else. The Algonquins used crops to offer the Gods as a thank you. Algonquian-speaking people used tobacco for spiritual and medical reasons. Furthermore, there was a belief that each person possessed two souls. Ancient Algonquins used things such as dream catchers, to shoo off bad spirits. Ancient Algonquin's cultures included spiritual practices and beliefs such as, worshiping the land they lived upon or creating certain ways to communicate with different spirits.

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It was a tradition for people to use tobacco for medical and symbolic reasons.

The Algonquins created many different types of art and used them everyday. The Algonquins created rock art, which was naturalistic but decorated, symbolized and abstract. They also carved pictographs on canoes such as designs of animals or humans. The designs were usually painted with their own fingers using red ochre. Algonquins used containers from birch bark that would form into different shapes when wet. Algonquin made arrows that were made out of bone and wood materials which were sharpened by rocks, bark, and other surroundings. One art form that most of the Algonquian tribes shared was crafting wampum's out of white and purple shell beads used for trading and daily life. They thought these small beads often told a story and represented family affiliations. This shows how art and technology helped them use tools and communicate.
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This is an example of a canoe that ancient Algonquin’s built out of birch barks.

The Algonquin civilization survived because they were smart enough to learn and use many skills. For example, they moved to different places depending on the season, and where they would find the most food. Ancient Algonquins also used and made traps to hunt deer and other wild animals.They also had a set of beliefs and used them to their advantage. They also figured out how to communicate by creating their own language and using pictographs. They also had an organized leader who made different decisions for their community. Lastly, everyone had different jobs that helped them get their work done faster. These are some ways on how this civilization used knowledge and learned how to survive.