There are exhibited specimens of particular interest recently acquired. A large relief map of the Panama Canal Zone and the series of paintings of Mont Pele are of interest.
On the first landing of the stairway is the William Demuth Collection of Pipes and Fire-making Appliances from various countries. Beyond is the
INDIANS OF THE WOODLANDS
Most of the specimens shown in this hall of the American Museum of Natural History were collected from Indians who formerly lived or who now reside east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes, a large section being devoted to the Iroquois--those Indians who were directly connected with the early history of the colonies.
The confederation of Iroquoian tribes, comprising iroquois indians as the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga, known in history among other names by that of the Five Nations, undoubtedly constituted the largest and most powerful organization ever instituted among natives of this land. Later the Tuscarora joined the league of the Iroquois, or the Five Nations, and it then became known as the Six Nations. This league was formed about 1534 for the primary purpose of securing peace and welfare by the enforcement of the forms of civil government. The leaders were astute diplomats, as the French and English statesmen of those days frequently discovered. The Iroquoian tribes were sedentary and agricultural people, depending for only a small part of their subsistence upon trophies of the chase.
The first wall case on the right contains an interesting group depicting the home life of an Iroquois family. The chief, in the center, is about to receive a wampum message from an Indian runner. This runner carries in one hand a war club, such as was used by these peoples, and in the other a string of wampum. The woman is engaged in a household pursuit—grinding maize by means of the primitive mortar and pestle.
Other portions of the Iroquois section of the American Museum of Natural History contain a display of articles used in the household, consisting of dishes, platters, mortars, pestles, spoons of wood, and basketry, together with implements of stone and bone. Their method of carrying children when traveling is shown by a number of baby carriers; their fine arts are illustrated by an excel-lent collection of silver ornaments including the implements used in their manufacture. Ceremonials of iroquois indians are portrayed by a collection of grotesque masks and a series of rattles used by the members of the False Face Societies. Excellent specimens of buckskin and cloth indicate the costumes of these Indians, and their agricultural pursuits are illustrated by samples of corn or maize, beans, squash, etc., remains of which have been found in rock shelters and shell heaps. In hunting and warfare the bow and arrow and war club were the weapons universally employed.
The earliest Indians' who lived in the vicinity of New York are represented by archaeological collections consisting of crude pottery, cooking utensils and other implements made of stone and bone. Some of their pottery is ornamented by incised designs. The stone axe, found in 1850 while excavating for a pond at Thorndale, Dutchess County, New York, is a rare and valuable specimen, while the wooden decoy duck is unique. Models of rock shelters have been constructed to illustrate how the early Indians utilized overhanging ledges as dwelling places. Some of the originals of these rock shelters are still in existence, particularly at Inwood, Armonk and Cold Spring.
In the left-hand wall case will be seen both birchbark and dugout canoes. An unusual specimen in this case is a portion of an original dugout canoe found in New York City in 1906 when making excavations in Oliver Street near Cherry.
In other portions of the hall will be found exhibits from the Penobscot, Delaware, Shawnee, Potawatomi, Ojibway, Menomini, Saulteau, Eastern Cree, Winnebago, Sauk and Fox, Seminole, Cherokee and Yuchi Indians.
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