The Lenni Lenape always dressed for the season. Always dressed for the icy cold winters and the sticky hot summers. In the hot summers women wore a short wrap around skirt, and the men wore the men would wear light cloth such as breechclout and leggings tied to a belt. In the cold the men and women both wore a hide shirt, fur robes and perhaps mittens and fur caps. Everyone wore soft soled deerskin moccasins. Their clothes were made from deerskin and beaver skin.
They kept themselves clean and were accustomed to a daily swim or used a sweat lodge or steam bath. The women wore their hair long and when working around fires, kept it in a braid or bun in the back of their head. For decoration, they might wrap their hair with a snakeskin or give their hair a gloss by applying bear grease. Young men often would cut their hair or pull it out by the roots so that only a small round spot on the crest of the head would remain. Although Lenape men did have sparse facial hair, most got rid of it by plucking it out.
Men typically wore a hairpiece called a “roach,” made out of porcupine hairs and dyed deer hair. They might also wear feathers in their hair, but usually only about two – never the big war bonnets worn by the Plains tribes. The women used a type of red paint made from the bloodroot plant mixed with bear grease to put a round dot on each cheek, on their ears, and where they parted their hair. Men often painted their face, chest and shoulders. Men tattooed themselves with pictures of animals, birds, snakes or various geometric designs.
Both men and women wore earrings necklaces and hair ornaments from many natural objects like shell, bone, feathers, stones, clay, and animal claws and teeth. The Lenape made dome-shaped houses called wigwams where a small family or individual could live. They pushed a circle of poles into the ground and then bent them over one another to make a domed frame, which they covered with sheets of bark, skins or woven rush mats. Sometimes several families lived together in a larger “longhouse,” still rounded on top, but longer.
Inside the longhouse were platforms of poles on either side that could be used as seats or beds. Down the center was a row of fires to share. Openings in the roof let the smoke out. Corn and herbs were hung high in the roof and there was room to store other goods beside the doorway. The Lenape lived in settled villages but did not stay in one place for the whole of their lives. Every ten or twelve years they had to move their entire village to a new site because they had used up many of the natural resources of their area.
During the year, small groups might relocate to temporary camps farther removed from the main village. Here they would stay for an indefinite time until they procured the desired materials or foods. The Indians of Lenapehoking used different kinds of transport according to the season and the area in which they lived. Often they simply went on foot, making their own trail or following animal tracks or a dry streambed. Both men and women often carried heavy loads. They would rest the bundle on their back and support some of its weight with a strap called a tumpline.
This was attached at each end to the bundle and passed in a loop around the wearer’s forehead. In summer, when streams and lakes were not frozen, it was sometimes easier to travel by water than by land. The Lenape used dugout canoes for this purpose. The canoes were made from a hollowed-out tree, which could carry several people. Pomo The Pomo are people of the California Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map. The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Pomo tribe.
Land: Sea, coastal regions, rivers and lakes Climate: Mild temperate climate Natural Resources: Oak trees, acorns, buckeye nuts, mushrooms, hazel nuts, bulbs, roots, grasses and seaweed Types of housing or shelters: Grass Mat Houses, Cedar Bark tepees and flat roofed houses Land animals: The animals included deer, elk, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, quail, mountain sheep and bear Sea Mammals: Seals, sea lions and sea otters Insects: Crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and dried locusts were all eaten to supplement the diet
The clothes worn by the Pomo men varied according to the season. During the summer months the men wore a breech cloth or just went naked. In the winter months warm clothing was required and their winter clothing was made from the skins of animals such as deer (buckskin), elk, squirrel, rabbit and wildcats. The Pomo winter clothes included fur robes and cloaks, shirts, wrap-around kilts, mitts and leggings that were often decorated with fringes. They wore one-piece moccasins with a front seam whilst hunting or traveling, but went barefoot in the warmer weather.
The headdresses worn for special ceremonies consisted of headbands made from flicker feathers (a flicker was a type of woodpecker) and plumes were added for further decoration. Women used shredded redwood or cedar bark to make fibers that were hand woven into various items. The clothes worn by the Pomo women included blouses and aprons that covered the front and back made of shredded bark. Their dresses or skirts fell to calf length and were belted and fringed. Special clothes were strung with ornaments, tassels and porcupine quills.
Twined tule slippers, or moccasins, covered their feet in the winter and they wore fur robes to keep out the old. The Pomo tribe lived in several different types of shelters dependent on the natural resources that were available in their location. Their homes included Grass Mat Houses where there was access to reeds and rushes to make make mats. Pomo people with easy access to forest areas built shelters known as Cedar Bark Tepees. Other Pomo Indians made a flat-roofed structure that consisted of four upright posts supporting a flat roof with a framework of slanting poles. The framework was covered with brush, sticks or mud. This type of shelter was commonly used for storage, but Pomo people also lived in this style of home.
During the winter some of the Pomo people also lived in semi-subterranean California Pit Houses. The food that the Pomo tribe ate included their staple diet of acorns which they ground into acorn meal to make a type of bread. The abundant species of oak trees on their lands produced seven different kinds of acorns. Fish an important food source, particularly salmon. The Pomo hunted deer (venison), elk, antelope, fowl, and small game such as rabbits and quail. The hunter-gathers collected other foods including buckeye nuts, pepperwood nuts, various greens, roots, bulbs, and berries.
Most foods were dried and stored for use during the winter months. Coastal groups of Pomo people hunted for sea mammals and considered dried seaweed a delicacy. California Native Indians made different kinds of earth ovens to cook plants or plants in. The Pomo baked Indian potatoes and buckeyes in earth ovens. The Pomo tribe lived in parts of Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Colusa, and Glenn Counties in California. The word ‘Pomo’ means “those who live at red earth hole” in reference to their earth lodge pit houses that were built with a red colored earth as the winter homes of the tribe.
Their tribal lands were subject to various incursions by the Russians, Spanish, Mexican and finally the Americans. The Pomo people were made slaves by many of these invaders and watched as their tribal lands fell to the Russian traders seeking sea otter furs, the Spanish who wanted to convert the tribe to Christianity, the Mexicans who forced the people to work on their farms and finally the Americans who moved west along the California Trail who were joined by the Gold Rush settlers. The Pomo were decimated by the diseases brought by the invaders and those who survived were forced on to various reservations.