11th Annual Algonquian Peoples Seminar

Posted by Kerry Nelson on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized |

New York State Museum

Cultural Education Center, Empire State Plaza

Madison Avenue, Albany, New York

9:00 – 9:30   Registration –

9:30 – 10:00     Welcome & Board Introduction     Mariann Mantzouris & Kevin Fuerst

Presentation of Colors by the Mohican Veterans, (Please stand)

10:00 – 10:20 John Lothrop

Archaeological Research on First Peoples of Eastern New York and the New England-Maritimes Humans first explored New York about 13,000 years ago, as this region was emerging from the Ice Age. With glacial retreat, eastern New York was the physical gateway through which Paleoindians entered the broader New England-Maritimes (NEM) region (extending east through New England to Québec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).  This paper reviews (1) current evidence for changing deglacial environments of these regions, and (2) ongoing archaeological research on how Native Americans colonized the Late Pleistocene landscapes of the Hudson Valley and the NEM between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago.


~Although not a New York native, Jon Lothrop did his graduate work in anthropology at Binghamton University.  While there, he collaborated on excavations at the Potts Paleoindian site in Oswego County for his dissertation, and received his Ph.D. in 1988.  He spent the next 20 years in cultural resource management, directing archaeological survey, testing, and data recovery excavations on prehistoric sites from the Ohio Valley to New England.  In 2008, Dr. Lothrop joined the New York State Museum as Curator of Archaeology.  His duties include curation of the prehistoric archaeology collections, public education, and research on Late Pleistocene adaptations in the New York region

10:25 – 10:40    George Hamel

Life’s Immortal Shell: Wampum as a Light and Life Metaphor From my research into Great Lakes Native American oral tradition during the past 40 years I have concluded that white shell served within ritual contexts as a visible and tangible metaphor for the concepts of LIGHT and LIFE.  When consecrated to ritual use, white shell, whether in its natural form or modified into some other form, and regardless of whether it was freshwater shell or marine shell, served as a metaphor for the concepts of LIGHT and LIFE: for the biological continuity of LIFE in general, and the biological and social continuity of HUMAN LIFE in particular.  This conceptual and aesthetic value of white shell served as the common denominator of all the functions or so-called “values” historically-recorded for white wampum; especially white wampum’s functions as the medium and the message of  “social” relations.  The ritual meaning of white wampum informed the contrasting meanings of dark purple [“black”] wampum and of red-painted wampum in these same contexts.”


~George R. Hamell’s professional career began as an Interpetive Naturalist for the Monroe County Parks Department in western New York in 1962.  Seven years later he returned to college to major in anthropology and american history at St. John Fisher College, a liberal arts college near Rochester, N.Y.  In 1974 he joined the anthropology department of the Rochester Museum and Science Center where he served as Curator of Anthropology through 1980.  In 1981he joined the New York State Museum where he served in several successive roles: as Senior Exhibits Planner in Anthropology, as ad hoc curator of ethnology and archeology, and lastly, as Senior Historian.  Mr. Hamell retired from the State Museum in October 2007 to return to Rochester to become the curator of the Rock Foundation Collection that has been on loan to the Rochester Museum and Science Center since 1977.  This is a large and well documented collection of Seneca and other Iroquois archeological material culture, spanning late prehistory through the end of the 18th century. Throughout his career, Mr. Hamell has looked to Seneca, Huron-Wyandot, and other Northern Iroquoian oral tradition for the interpretation of archeological and ethnological material culture.


10:45 – 11:00   Break


11:00 – 11:20  JoAnne Schedler

The 150th Anniversay of the Mohican Stockbridge-Munsee in the Civil War

~Ms. Schedler, BSN, MSM, RN, is a life member Reserve Officers Association, Mohican Veteran Officer founding member, 1996-present, American Legion post # 0117, 2004-present, Tribal Historic Preservation committee for Stockbridge-Munsee Community, 2004-present, Constitution committee for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, 2005-present, Peacemaker, Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Court 2005- present Nursing Instructor for Associate Degree Program at College of the Menominee Nation 2008/ 2009, Officer in the US Army Nurse Corps Reserves 1984, served over twenty years with the 452 Combat Support Hospital (CSH), retired as a Major from the Army Reserve in July 2004, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses since 1992, National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association # 10179,

11:25 – 11:45   Kevin White

Speck on Penobscot and Iroquois Worldviews in the Cosmological Narratives

Frank Speck was one of the few anthropologists in the early twentieth century examining ways in which the ceremonials of the Native Americans connected directly or indirectly to the cosmological narratives.  In examining tales, religious beliefs, and ceremonies, Speck highlights the interwoven tendencies and practices that have continued to endure through the generations and ages.  By examination of these variations one can examine indigenous cultures in the midst of transition, struggling to balance ancient traditions and sacred beliefs as told in the first instructions of the cosmological narratives against the assimilationist pressures and policies of the larger American culture and government.  These ceremonials and narratives shed light on a unique worldviews specific to each individual indigenous nation.  Speck saw these connections, during a time when it was thought the Indigenous peoples had very little, if anything, to offer Western Civilization other than a mild, passing curiosity.  I seek to energize a dialogue by which contemporary Haudenosaunee communities can benefit from hundreds of years of research and scholarship in ways that are useful to those who continue to be affected by what has been written about them, and what will be written by them.


~Kevin J. White (Akwesasne Mohawk) holds a Ph.D. in American Studies (SUNY Buffalo, June 2007).  He is an Assistant Professor of Native American and American Studies Programs at SUNY Oswego.  He teaches an Introduction to Native American Studies, History and Culture of the Iroquois, and American Indian Sovereignty along with other courses. Currently, his work focuses on various points of analysis with which to explore the cosmological narratives in two parts of noted Tuscarora scholar John Napoleon Briton Hewitt, along with the work of the late John Mohawk on Iroquois creation. His dissertation was an exploration of the published texts of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Creation narratives.

11:50 – 12:10   Ed Curtin

Investigation of the Vosburg Archaeological District, 2005-2010 The Vosburg Archaeological District refers to a group of pre-contact period archaeological sites and landscapes near Normanskill Creek in Guilderland, New York.  The Vosburg site is well-known as one of the largest pre-contact sites in Albany County.  It also is considered to be one of the most important Archaic period (1,000-8,000 B.C.) sites in New York State.  Recent field investigations and collections research illustrate the rich material culture of this archaeological district, while providing important new information on the origin and growth of the Archaic community once located at the Vosburg site.  The new information includes detailed inventories of several archaeological collections; radiocarbon dating of small, outlying campsites; evidence that several local botanical resources were used; and diverse traces of continued visits to the area long after the period of Late Archaic florescence about 3,800-4,000 years ago.  Through consultation and careful consideration, the recognition of the archaeological importance of the Vosburg site has led to plans for its preservation and long term protection.


~Edward V. Curtin is the President of Curtin Archaeological Consulting, Inc., located in Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, New York.  He is an archaeologist with a Ph.D. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Binghamton.  He is best known for his interest in the Archaic period (1,000-8,000 B.C.) of the Northeastern United States, but he also is intensely interested in all things related to the archaeology of the Hudson valley.  His writing on these subjects includes “The Ancient Mohicans in Time, Space and Prehistory” (New York State Museum Bulletin 501, pp. 5-18), “Recent Investigation of Archaic Sites at Hemstreet Park on the Upper Hudson River” (New York State Archaeological Association Newsletter, Fall 2009, pp. 1-3) and the forthcoming “A Small Site in Coxsackie, Circa A. D. 1200:  Some Ecological Issues Concerning Its Age and Location” (submitted to New York State Museum Record).  He also contributes to Fieldnotes, Curtin Archaeological Consulting’s blog at www.curtinarchaeology.com/blog.


12:15 -1:15      Seminar Luncheon: Pumpkin Soup, Buffalo Loaf (thunder Rumble) , Maple Roasted Turkey, Wild Rice with Nuts and Berries, Succotash, Corn Bread and Strawberry Desert-  Fresh Brewed Coffee,  Decaf, Hot Tea and Water

1:15 – 1:35       Charles D.Burgess

New York State’s woodland period archaeological record can be a bewildering topic to grasp.  The periods, cultures and phases articulated most completely by William Ritchie in his Archaeology of New York State, and elaborated upon by Funk, Snow, and others, have become the language for discussing New York State archaeology.  Although this language is practical and useful, it can also be extremely confusing.  This language of “periods” (Early, Middle, and Late Woodland), “cultures” (Adena, Point Peninsula, Owasco) and “phases” (Middlesex, Meadowood, Fox Creek) potentially obscures some relationships that aren’t there. In this presentation I will interpret the past 3,000 years of New York State’s archaeological record through the lens of the Mohican origin history, as related by Hendrick Ampaumut, John Heckewelder, and John Quinney.  The striking relationships between the origin history and the archaeological record will be discussed as the archaeological record is clarified by that history.  The effects of climate change will also be brought to bear in a discussion of the Little Ice Age.  I suggest that regional environmental and cultural responses to climate change are responsible for many of the noted differences between Mohican and Haudenosaunee material cultures, including settlement form, house form and projectile point form.


~My research focuses on the relationships between indigenous peoples and their landscapes, and how interdisciplinary research and mapping can be used to bring those relationships to life.  Most recently I have studied the Mohican River and its people, whose homeland I have been blessed to inhabit all my life.  I recently received my MA in Archaeology from Cornell University, and I also hold a BA in Anthropology from SUNY Albany, and an AS in Wilderness Recreation Leadership from North Country Community College.

1:40 – 2:00      Judy Hartley

Growing up on the Reservation: Changing Perspectives

I am a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee/Band of Mohicans tribe.  Our tribal native lands are in the area of Albany, NY; however, as is well known, our tribe like many others was pushed out of our native lands.  Our particular band ended up on a reservation in north central Wisconsin.  This is where I was born and spent the first 18 years of my life.  I would like to reflect on that experience in my talk.


~I am a tribal elder. I am involved in a long-term project to reclaim our language.  To that end, we are first learning Delaware (Lenape) because that is the language closest to our native Mohican. Professionally, I have a B.S. degree in biology and worked for years as a biologist.  I later obtained an M.B.A. and have worked for the past 21 years for a very large, global medical diagnostics firm, Roche Diagnostics.

2:05 – 2:25 Daniel Mazau & Sean P. Higgins

Lithic reduction  & resource use in southern New York State: the Naima and Paul J. Higgins site Recent excavations by the Cultural Resource Survey Program (CRSP) at the New York State Museum (NYSM) have identified two multi-component prehistoric sites in southern New York State: the Paul J. Higgins site in northwestern Westchester County, and the Naima site in central Suffolk County.  Archaeological data from these sites indicate both were occupied during the Late Archaic and Late Woodland period and that they primarily served as late stage lithic production sites.  This paper will examine the total lithic assemblages of both sites, including formal tools and production debitage, as well as present a discussion of raw materials used at the sites.  The resulting data will be used to understand the stone tool industry, site organization, and raw material exploitation of the two sites, and the derivative interpretations will draw from the contextualizing of the sites’ data at, first, the local scale.  Assessment of the local lithic industries will then be followed by the comparison of the two sites in order to discuss broader patterns in lithic reduction and resource exploitation during the Late Archaic and Late Woodland periods in New York.

~Daniel Mazeau and Sean Higgins are archaeologists (Principal Investigators) for the New York State Museum’s Cultural Resource Survey Program (CRSP) in Albany, New York.  Daniel has worked with CRSP since 2003 and, in addition to conducting archaeological projects throughout New York State with the Museum, has worked in Mexico and Belize.  His graduate research focused on settlement patterns around the Classic Period Maya city of Chunchucmil, while his recent interests center on the settlement patterns and lithic industries of prehistoric Long Island, NY.

~Sean P. Higgins began working at CRSP in 2004.  His research interests focus on faunal analysis and the ways in which such data are used in assessing the diet, subsistence systems, and socioeconomic organization of prehistoric and historic populations.  Sean’s Masters’ thesis, completed at the University at Albany in 2009, examined the faunal remains recovered from San Estevan, a Maya site located in northern Belize, seeking to identify the emergence of social complexity during the end of the Mesoamerican Formative period.

2:25 – 2:40       Break


2:40 – 3:00    Warren F. Broderick

The Stephentown Mounds Do earthen mounds created by Native peoples exist in Mohican country in eastern New York and western New England?  Long-held beliefs of historians and ethnologists infer that Algonquian peoples did not construct them.  A number of earthen mounds are found in Iroquois country in western New York State. Two known and one reported raised earthen “mounds” are found in Mohican country.  I will speak about the Stephentown mounds.

~Warren F. Broderick is Archivist Emeritus for the New York State Archives, Albany, NY.  He is actively involved in promoting the use of original documentary sources in American history research and writing. Mr. Broderick received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in American Studies from Union College.Mr. Broderick is active in land preservation in Rensselaer County. With a background as a historian, he has authored five books, edited or contributed to ten others, and written a number of journal articles on natural history, American ceramics, and  American literary and local historical subjects, in particular New York State’s Native Americans in literature.


3:05 – 4:20    Closing Remarks and Retreat of the Colors” by Mohican Veterans to end the conference (Please stand)


The distribution of any events, sales or promotional literature at an NAI event must be pre-approved by the NAI Board.


Please visit our crafts people, authors, and venders. They are here to share their crafts, knowledge, and experiences with you.

My thanks go to each of you for making this event a success!!   Mariann ~ Seminar Chair

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~2011 Algonquians Peoples Seminar Registration Form New York State Museum

PLEASE PRINT, cut and mail or email: marimantz@aol.com



Phone  (       )__________- _____________ E-Mail_____________________________

Seminar & Buffet                       Seminar & Buffet   $40.00  Number Attending____

NAIHRV Members                     Seminar & Buffet  $30.00  Number Attending____

Student with School ID              Seminar Only         $20.00  Number Attending____

Student with School ID               Seminar & Buffet   $35.00 Number Attending____

Please make payment out to NAIHRV       Mail completed form and payment to:

NAIHRV      Mariann Mantzouris      PO Box 327           Sand Lake, NY 12153

Menu: Pumpkin Soup, Thunder Rumble- Buffalo Loaf  , Maple Roasted Turkey, Wild Rice with Nuts and Berries, Succotash, Corn Bread and Strawberry Desert-  Fresh Brewed Coffee,  Decaf, Hot Tea

For questions email Mariann Mantzouris, Seminar Chairwoman at marimantz@aol.com or call 518-369-8116

The New York State Museum is housed in the Cultural Education Center in Albany, New York.  The Cultural Education Center (CEC) is at the south end of the Empire State Plaza, across Madison Avenue (Route 20) from the Plaza (at the opposite end from the Capitol).  (518) 474-5877 Directions- by the NYS Museum Google Maps

Parking is available, free on weekends, in the two lots adjacent to the Museum, on Madison Ave.

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