THE FRED WISEMAN COLLECTION
A private collection of recreated and actual Abenaki Artifacts
Replicas of Algonkian style bone awl and case, copper knife and sheath, shell headband, and leggings. Designs were applied with natural dyes or burned into the leather.
Deer skin skirts were generally wrap arounds which provided "one size fits all" clothing.
Halter tops such as these were worn by younger women. The shells on the fringe made sound as the owner walked and attracted the eye of possible suitors. Older women were more likely to wear fuller tops. But early on, only skirts were worn by women of all ages during hot weather.
Rattle created from a small gourd and wooden handle. Designs were applied with natural dyes or wood burned into the surface. The gourds own seeds were used to make sound. Of the many instruments which can be made from gourds, only the rattle appears to have been utilized by Northeast Woodland Indians.
Typical quiver made from raw hide were light and strong. Strap is leather. A small example of typical birch bark baskets sits beside it.
When cloth was introduced, and ribbon could be traded for, women began to find decorative ways of mixing beads and ribbon work creating new designs. This was common in the Great Lakes area. A coat or jacket would accompany the halter style dress.
The beautifully beaded cuffs are done on cloth. Even though new materials were embraced older customs prevailed. These are original artifacts.
This is a man's coat circa 1700. With beads, ribbons and cloth available, both men's and women's clothing became elaborately decorated.
These clam shell discs were carefully chosen for their size in designing this necklace. This is an actual artifact.
These moccasins made of elk hide, are decorated with a combination of beadwork and moosehair embroidery. A piece of leather is added over the top seam to create the design. These are still a single seamed, pucker-toe moccasin style. These are actual artifacts.
As access to beads became easier, the designs became more ornate. This one appeared on a man's apron. These aprons were (and still are) worn over regular pants.
This Percussion Cap Pouch is a combination of leather, cloth and beads.
This is the back of the bag above. Notice that the design is different. Circa 1830-1920.
Leather bag beaded with grapes and grape leaf.
This is the back of the above bag. Again, the design is different from the front.
The upper wampum belt is intended to symbolize betrothal. Two lodges, two people coming together as one. Smaller strands of wampum were carried as messages to summon people to meetings. Large wampum belts were woven to keep the history of the People.
As tourists came into the New England area, natives began making items for sale. These are some examples of the miniatures that were made and sold.
Fishing nets were made from newly available wire. The netting was hand tied cording which was also and made. The shuttle was used in the tying process.
Even before contact, snow shoes and the game of Lacrosse were commonly used throughout the New England tribes. Today, the Iroquois have award winning teams in national competitions.
The art of creating designs on birch bark was done by folding thin pieces of bark into quarters and biting the design through the layers. The person doing the piece could not readily see what they were doing and no drawing was made before hand. Examples of this art are now rare.