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People of the First Light: Wampanoag History - Primary Sources


Theme: The Peopling of America: Migration and Immigration
Topic: People of the First Light: Wampanoag History (Conflict and Contact with Early Settlers)
Date: November 4, 2004

Primary Sources from Partner Collections
Primary Sources from Local Archives and Collections
Additional Primary Sources Used in Content and Follow-up Sessions

Sources selected by John Grimes and annotated by SALEM in History staff.


Primary Sources from Partner Collections
*note: most of the images below can be viewed on ARTscape the Peabody Essex Museum website.

Unless otherwise noted, material below is quoted from: Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum, by John R. Grimes, Christian F. Feest, and Mary Lou Curran. NY: American Federation of Arts, New York in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2002.

Possibly Pennacok or Penobscot artist
Burlwood cup
Birch or maple burlwood
late 18th – early 19th century
Peabody Essex Museum

“Native spirituality and folklore, so strongly associated with the landscape, were critical to Native cultural persistence in New England… This burlwood cup is representative of such persistence. It is an expression of conservatism, since, when it was made, commercial goods had already supplanted many types of Native – manufactured utensils and furnishings. It is pierced at its flat end, apparently so that it could be hung on a belt toggle, and was thus probably an accessory for a hunter or woodsman.” (96)

 

Northeastern Artist
Bowl in Burled Wood
19th century
Burled wood
Peabody Essex Museum

"The rich and turbulent grain of the wood is beautifully enhanced by the simple design and confident carving of the bowl."
Quoted from: Monroe, Dan L., et. al. Gifts of the Spirit: Works by Nineteenth-Century & Contemporary Native American Artists: 14 November 1996 - 18 May 1997. Salem, MA: Peabody Essex Museum, 1996; 100.

 

 

Probably Iroquois (Handenosaunee) artist
Wampum belt
Shells and leather
18th Century
Peabody Essex Museum

“Wampum are cylindrical shell beads, typically about one Quarter inch in length and one eighth inch in diameter. Wampum beads are white or purple, with the white made from the interior column of the Atlantic whelk shell and the purple made from that of the quahog…. The more important use of wampum was as a symbolic and documentary medium. Among the Iroquois, wampum strings functioned as mnemonies for reciting ritual speeches, while belts of wampum solemnized intertribal communiqués and commemorated councils and treaties” (103)


“Belts made mainly from white beads suggest cordial diplomacy, while those that made extensive use of purple (sometimes referred to as “black” beads) have more sober connotations. The meaning of the belt shown here, which is predominantly purple with ten white cross-filled hexagons, is now lost, but it bears faint traces of red paint on some of the beads and fringe. Belts marked with red were understood as a call to war.” (105)

 

Pawtucket artist
Bear Sculpture
16th Century
Basalt
Peabody Essex Museum

"This sculpture was probably created in what is now Salem, Massachusetts, in the decades shortly before the arrival of Europeans. Highly animated despite its simple form, the sculpture likely represents a clan protector or ancestor." (89)

 

Probably Iroquois (Handenosaunee) artist
Wampum belt
Shells and leather
18th Century
Peabody Essex Museum

“Wampum are cylindrical shell beads, typically about one Quarter inch in length and one eighth inch in diameter. Wampum beads are white or purple, with the white made from the interior column of the Atlantic whelk shell and the purple made from that of the quahog…. The more important use of wampum was as a symbolic and documentary medium. Among the Iroquois, wampum strings functioned as mnemonies for reciting ritual speeches, while belts of wampum solemnized intertribal communiqués and commemorated councils and treaties” (103)


“Belts made mainly from white beads suggest cordial diplomacy, while those that made extensive use of purple (sometimes referred to as “black” beads) have more sober connotations. The meaning of the belt shown here, which is predominantly purple with ten white cross-filled hexagons, is now lost, but it bears faint traces of red paint on some of the beads and fringe. Belts marked with red were understood as a call to war.” (105)

Unidentified French Artist
Portrait, Native of Davis Straight
France, ca. 17th-18th century
Watercolor on paper
Peabody Essex Museum

"After about 1500, before Europeans began to establish settlements in North America, European fishermen began exploiting the rich fishing grounds off the coast of European accounts, and depictions, of Native Americans date from this time. This early watercolor, notable for its classical pose, depicts an Inuit resident of present date Greenland or Nunavut, Canada."
Quoted from ARTscape entry, Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: http://www.pem.org

William Hubbard. A Map of New-England, 1677. Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

This map first appeared in The History of the Indian Wars in New England, which was published in London and Boston in 1677 by William Hubbard.

 

Unidentified Northearstern artist
Spearpoint
Bull Brook palaeoindian site, Ipswich, MA, ca. 11,000 B.C.
Red chert
Peabody Essex Museum

"The Bull Brook site, excavated between ca. 1950 and 1975, ranks among the largest and most important palaeoindian sites in North America. It was occupied by a group of families, probably during the winter season, some 11,000 years ago. Palaeoindians - we have no way of knowing what they called themselves - are thought to be the earliest people to live in present-day New England after the retreat of the last glacier. Evidence at this and similar sites suggests that this spearpoint was probably used to hunt caribou. The beautiful workmanship of this and other palaeoindian tools and objects reveals an obvious concern for aesthetics as well as functionality."

Quoted from ARTscape entry, Peabody Essex Museum. Online at: http://www.pem.org

 

Sheffield Patent, 1623. Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

This document is the Charter for the first permanent colony in the territory of the first Massachusetts Company granted 1 January, 1623/4 for the Cape Ann Area. Transcription from the Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.


Primary Sources from Local Archives and Collections

none suggested

Additional Primary Sources Used in Content and Follow-up Sessions

none suggested

   
   

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