About Adirondack Explorer

The Adirondack Explorer is a nonprofit magazine covering the Adirondack Park's environment, recreation and communities.

Reader Interactions


  1. Melissa Kennedy-Cleveland says

    An ancestor of mine married a full blooded Seneca woman. I commune with the beautiful world outside.

  2. Bill Miner says

    I believe that the Adirondacks were vacated each winter as there was milder conditions with more game outside the region.

  3. Mike Parwana says

    The suppression of nomadism is a well documented worldwide phenomena. Maybe because the ancient Greeks have been so influential in the halls of western colleges and universities for so long the West regards nomadic cultures as barbaric and because most of these highly developed cultures tended to have oral historical traditions (and because written records don’t survive well anywhere except in places like Egypt or on baked clay tablets) their philosophies, points of view, get short shrift. We learn of cultures like the Scythians, Sogdians, Mongols, from the records of their enemies. When the Huns are driven from the steppe into new places western histories record it as invasion, but when the Greeks take lands on the Black Sea, or Alexander builds cities in Sogdia we call them “settlements.” There are many names for theft, among them are colonialism, settler/settlement, evangelism, and sometimes education.
    So the suppression of cultures in North and South America was a baked-in systematic part of the barbaric cultures Europeans brought with them to the laughably named New World.

  4. Boreas says

    It is indeed unfortunate the way Humans re-write history and even PRE-history to suit their versions of Manifest Destiny, proselytization, imperialism, and “civilizing” continents. Europeans are not unique in this behavior. It is quite easy to “rewrite” the history of indigenous peoples – especially if they have virtually no written history.

    Hunter-gathering cultures existed for many millenia prior to “civilization” which was necessary with agrarian and domestication shifts in cultures. It is easy to confuse hunter/gathering cultures with nomadic cultures, but they are very different. The idea that these groups did not create societies is incorrect. Post Ice-age indigenous peoples usually were much more intertwined socially than our “city-centric” culture would expect. It is just that the societies were in a geographical network as opposed to fixed cities and settlements. Trade and sharing of technology was very important.

    Smaller clans and groups often lived apart for periods of time seasonally depending on the availability and location of game, fish, salt, and other resources. Semi-permanent camps were often utilized to gather resources, and the members of the group would regularly gather to re-distribute the food and resources among the group. Other groups delving into agriculture often tended to create more permanent villages, but this shouldn’t imply they were more “civilized”.

    We are finding worldwide that inter-glacial and post-glacial peoples were much more socialized and organized than the archaeology would indicate simply with artifacts. Often their oral history is quite rich, but is often ignored by science which prefers written history and hard artifacts. We need to re-calibrate our science to include “softer” data and oral history to fully flesh out the remarkable influence and societies that have existed for 20,000 years or more.

    An interesting read is “After The Ice – A global human history 20,000-5000 BC” by Steven Mithen.

  5. Taryn MorvilloStewart says

    I fully appreciate this post for highlighting some of the outstanding contributions made by Indigenous persons and interdisciplinary scholarship on Indigenous peoples of the Adirondacks. Full stop.

    However, it’s frustrating to the point of straining credulity to frame this by inferring the dominant narrative of Adirondack history is “white people discovered and tamed this Wilderness”: yes, the erasure of Indigenous Americans was long predominant narrative of ALL mainstream American history, but you’d have to be living under a lot of stone fences to still believe that. Framing these contributions to the real Indigenous history of the Adirondacks as a counter-narrative feels, to me, like egregious subjugation. After all, is not the very word “Adirondack,” a terrible transliteration of the Iroquois word for “bark-eater” a derivative term they used to identify the Algonquin peoples who would survive living in the ADKs throughout the difficult winter months by eating the Inner bark, or cambium, or white pine and other coniferous trees for its abundance of vitamin C (this was also their word for “porcupine,” if I’m not mistaken) — a word better represented by one Wilderness region of the modern day classification of land inside the Blue Line — the Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness?

    I believe both history and Indigenous peoples are better served when the historically accurate narrative is centered as the focus of these important contributions in archaelogy, anthropology, history, etc. — in this case, it is that of the historically marginalized people who lived, died, loved, raised kids, built stuff, hunted, gathered, prayed, sang, danced, grieved, created art, engaged in war, etc. etc. in the Adirondacks at least 12,000 years ago. The “White people discovered” narrative should be relegated to a footnote, if that — which is more than they gave to the Indigenous people from whom they took everything.

    Just a thought.

  6. Ann says

    The nulhegan abenaki from Vermont aren’t federally recognized. Please keep this in mind with further articles. Use federally recognized people only.

    • Real_cerise says

      do the nulhegan abenaki recognize the Federal government? Does a quoted person have no identity if their peer group is not Federally recognized?

  7. DBS says

    I was so excited to read this article. But am distracted by the simple yet inaccurate narrative of the Adirondacks native inhabitants as absent from the historical accounts of the area.

    Yet, Even a cursory search of the history clearly reveals acknowledgment of the indigenous peoples living in the area and even older writings acknowledge the deceitful manner in which these lands were acquired and settled.

    I am no apologist for how our country was settled by Europeans, but to mischaracterize the historical record in such a way risks diverting focus from the wonderful archeological work of understanding the areas earliest inhabitants. That would be a shame.

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