For Museums, State/National Parks, Heritage Sites, Powwows, Cultural Centers & Schools
What We Do: Woodland Indian Educational Programs (WIEP) conducts interactive programs and engaging demonstrations, provides exhibit materials and consulting services, facilitates professional workshops and supplies educational materials/illustrations highlighting the Indigenous past of the Eastern Woodlands.* Our public outreach programs are on site, supporting the interpretation goals of museums, heritage sites, powwows and cultural events, etc.**
*Though cultural-history is our focus, we understand Native history needs to be taught in context, which is why we reference continuing traditions and contemporary communities as part of our usual dialogue. Many of our public programs are conducted alongside Indigenous voices. We encourage organizations and educators we work with to continue the narrative and include contemporary Native voices.
**Currently WIEP is unable to conduct public programs, demonstrations and workshops due to Jessica’s health, however Jessica is still consulting and providing exhibit materials as she is able to, from her home.
Our Mission: Our mission is to contribute to the general public’s awareness of Indigenous history here in Eastern North America.* WIEP content emphasizes everyday culture, including topics often overlooked (or ignored) by conventional educational outlets such as plant-derived textiles (material culture), the maple sugar trade (economic culture), and women’s autonomy (social culture). We use an anthropological approach in both research and interpretation, utilizing (and scrutinizing) first-hand accounts, academic interpretations, archaeological evidence, ancient technologies recreations, and Indigenous knowledge... all for a more comprehensive understanding of the past. This includes weeding out inaccuracies and addressing deep-rooted myths and stereotypes (past and present).
*A Double Mission: Our mission to share and educate the general audiences is just one side of WIEP's work… the more public side. We also freely share knowledge, sources, and media to Native organizations and educators, supporting Indigenous teachers and their students/community groups (like regalia classes, culture-skill camps, etc.). This is WIEP's lesser known mission, though not of lesser importance.
Our Truths: Native American history is not a sidekick to colonial history - the Indigenous past is the first history of this land, and a continuing narrative to present day. Native history stands alone as a subject. It is complex and multifaceted. There is nothing simple about the people declared “discovered” by a Western rationality. Since the first waves of European colonization on Turtle Island (North America), Native history has been told and controlled largely by non-Natives. Early Anglo historians and authorities manipulated the image of "the Indian" to support a narrative of Anglo superiority to Indigenous "races." Authors published articles and poetry celebrating the withdraw and impending extinction of Indian Peoples, thus creating the illusion of vacant spaces free for the industrious pioneer to claim (including settler-squatters)... regardless to the fact that thespace was not empty and The People not extinct. These so-called histories (particularly of the 19th century) did less to archive culture factually than to sooth the collective conscience of Western-descended peoples living on Indian Land. Though very nuanced, many mainstream history lessons today still justify past aggressions and proclaim the inevitability of past events. Colonization as it was carried out, including Indian Removal, was not inevitable. We teach a history we take responsibility for, therefore we responsibly teach history. We know that even the history of our history is complicated. And settler history is but a small notch in the long timeline of Native history and occupancy on Turtle Island. This land is Indian Land,… every… last… square… inch.These are not just our truths - this is the actual historical truth. We recognize that truth, we accept that truth, and we teach from a foundation firmly built on that truth.
From coastal Florida to coastal Maine, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, the Woodland “Pottery Belt” encompassed all the eastern States and adjacent parts of Canada. Here Indigenous Peoples have created and used ceramics for hundreds of years. Eastern potters of diverse linguistic backgrounds created some of their most impressive works during the age of corn cultivation. Some clay pots were quite large, many were evenly thin-walled, and almost all were decorated (freehand incised, paddle stamped, textile impressed, etc.), resulting in beautiful and practical ceramics well suited for processing an abundance of corn (among other foods grown, gathered or hunted). To create these earthenware pots, clay was first processed and tempered - that is clay was harvested from natural deposits, then dried, pounded and sifted before being mixed with crushed shell, sand, fibers, etc. - before being expertly molded (few Native artisans still do this process today). Characteristic clay cooking pots featuring pointed or round-bottoms were positioned directly over hot coals to heat the contents within. Because this Indigenous technology is often underestimated or misunderstood (regarding cooking directly over a heat source), we hope this video adds some clarity and more visibility to the history of ceramic technology and foodways in Eastern North America… a tradition still practiced by some Native artisans and traditionalists, ensuring its continuation for future generations. (This video contains some footage/photos of traditional Woodland Native dishes cooking in eastern-style clay vessels during WIEP foodways programs... WIEP has been demonstrating traditional cooking and maple sugar-making since 2008)
- Updated April 2020 -
A Reminder During This Difficult Time...
We Offer Parents, Guardians, Childcare Providers, Youth Group Leaders & Teachers
Click the Images Below to Access WIEP Downloadable Educational Materials.
New 2019! A shortcut menu to some of WIEP’s newest Material Culture Pages.
Highlighting some of the traditional everyday items we create and related information... offering subject basics, links, sources and lots of photos. Just click a bar below to view the page of your choice. Enjoy!
WIEP Featured Online Articles
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Absolutely No Copying Photos or Images on This Site. Do Not Reproduce and Sell Any Images On This Website. Do Not Copy and Post WIEP Photos or Illustrations On Any Blogs or Websites Without Permissions. The Photos That Appear on This Site are Our Property or Used Specifically With Special Permissions ONLY for Our Site; Permissions of the Photographers of the Photos, and/or the Event's Permissions at Which They Were Taken, and/or Those Who Appear in the Photos. We Have No Authority to Extend Their Permissions To Others.