What are some features of the Algonquian culture?


Quick Answer

The Algonquian people were hunter-gatherers known for their extensive trading, and the lived in small groups headed by a shaman or other leader. The Algonquians comprised several Native American tribes that inhabited the breadth of Canada and the northern United States. The Ottawa tribe of the Algonquians did tattooing and face painting before contact with Europeans. The Algonquian people also painted on rocks and had religions that varied in beliefs among the tribes.

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Full Answer

Game the Algonquians hunted included moose, elk, caribou and sometimes buffalo. They never invented pottery but rather built containers, toboggans and canoes from bark of the birch tree, a tough substance that is malleable when wet.

European explorers reported that the Ottawa were fierce and cold-blooded and even practiced cannibalism, but they admired them for their wood lore, including canoeing and hunting. The Ottawa managed inter-tribal trade because they lived on important waterways. They traded herbs, sunflower oil, tobacco, meat, corn, mats, furs and tobacco.

Native Americans says the Ottawa, Ojibwa and Potawatomi tribes were all one group before they split when they moved from the Northwest of the continent into the Great Lakes region. The various tribes had religions led by shamans with purported magical powers who thought they could fly, penetrate rocks and obtain power from animals. Algonquian rock art, similar across the huge area they inhabited, included depictions of people in canoes or ceremonial clothing and animals.

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