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#1 Dec-26-2013 04:49:pm

sschkaak
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Powhatan Ethnology

This is one of Frank G. Speck's finest works.  The photographs and illustrations are wonderful, and the text covers all of the material culture still remembered and being practiced in the 1920's.  Incredibly, the Mattapony and Pamunkey still knew how to make feather capes--something no other Eastern Algonquians could recall how to do!  It is titled, "Chapters on the Ethnology of the Powhatan Indians of Virginia," in Indian Notes and Monographs, Vol. 1, No. 5, Museum of the American Indian, New York (1928).

https://archive.org/details/chaptersonethnol00spec

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#2 Dec-26-2013 06:45:pm

Chevy
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Registered: Aug-01-2007
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Thanks, sschkaak

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#3 Dec-26-2013 06:49:pm

NanticokePiney
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From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: Powhatan Ethnology

This book is excellent Ray! I read it once before but now I'm going to read it again.


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#4 Dec-26-2013 07:34:pm

Suckachsinheet
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Registered: Sep-11-2007
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

The chief of the EDN has a feather cape. Was that originally Wayandaga's?

Last edited by Suckachsinheet (Dec-26-2013 07:35:pm)


It's in the blood; I can't let go. - Robbie Robertson

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#5 Dec-26-2013 07:54:pm

sschkaak
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Here's a photograph of who we think is Margaret Adams (d.1931) (Mattapony living with the Pamunkey), in the 1920's, wearing a feather cape she made.  (We might call this a feather boa, today?)  I don't think this picture is in this book.  It used to be in the Smithsonian, and it's still listed there, but it doesn't show up when called for.  It has evidently been misplaced or lost during the transition to the Museum of the American Indian.  In any case, we have it!


/pb.php?url=http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o128/RayWhritenour/MargaretAdamsampfeathercape_zps1bddfeff.jpg

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#6 Dec-26-2013 08:02:pm

NanticokePiney
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From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: Powhatan Ethnology

My  Great Grandmom Joseph was a Adams and so is Mike, chief of the Powhatan Renape. Part of the family moved up to East Delair (Morrisville) to the Nanticoke neighborhood there.


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#7 Dec-27-2013 01:31:pm

tree hugger
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Registered: May-12-2006
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Just butting in on the feather capes.

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/vawo … .asp?bio=3

Mollie Holmes Adams
(1881-1973)
KING WILLIAM COUNTY
UPPER MATTAPONI LEADER

Mollie Wade Holmes Adams (October 8, 1881–December 14, 1973) grew up in King William County in the Adamstown (later the Upper Mattaponi) Indian community. She faced the same hardships as her neighbors, including poverty, difficulty in attaining education, and the racism of outsiders. In 1900 she married Jasper Lewis Adams, who served as chief of the Upper Mattaponi from 1923 to 1973. Mollie Adams joined her husband as a leader of the tribe as he facilitated the purchase and construction of the Sharon Indian School in 1919 and the Indian View Baptist Church in 1942.

Raising her twelve children, Adams faced the bigotry of Walter A. Plecker’s management of the Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics. Plecker systematically worked to reclassify all Virginia Indians as “Negro” or “colored” and therefore relegate them to the same racist laws to which African Americans were subject. In a counter move to Plecker’s claims against the Indians, several white men signed a statement certifying Adams’s Indian ancestry.

Turkey feather cape made by Mollie Holmes Adams. Image courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Despite this adversity, Adams was a tribal elder and passed on the almost-lost skill of feather weaving. She aided anthropologists by allowing her picture to be published in one study and by explaining her herbal remedies to researchers. Adams built a strong base for the modern Upper Mattaponi through her church and tribal activism. Her son Andrew Washington Adams was chief of the Upper Mattaponi from 1974 to 1985, and her grandson, Kenneth Adams, is the current chief.
http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/vawomen/res/JS87.05.72.jpg

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#8 Dec-27-2013 01:48:pm

sschkaak
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Thanks so much, TH!  Quite a coincidence that these two women who kept alive the knowledge of making these feather capes were both married to Adams men.  It would be interesting to find out if they, themselves, were blood relations.  In any case, this is a great feather cape!

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#9 Dec-27-2013 01:49:pm

tk
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Registered: Mar-17-2009
Posts: 111

Re: Powhatan Ethnology

James Mooney of the Smithsonian visited the Powhatan groups in 1900. He took about a dozen photographs, including  this one of a Mattaponi group: http://sirismm.si.edu/naa/baegn/gn_00851a.jpg.

The woman is wearing some sort of feather collar.

tk
Esimotsoraivo

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#10 Dec-27-2013 01:53:pm

sschkaak
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Good one, tk!  Anischi!

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#11 Dec-27-2013 02:24:pm

tree hugger
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Posts: 11093

Re: Powhatan Ethnology

tk wrote:

James Mooney of the Smithsonian visited the Powhatan groups in 1900. He took about a dozen photographs, including  this one of a Mattaponi group: http://sirismm.si.edu/naa/baegn/gn_00851a.jpg.

The woman is wearing some sort of feather collar.

tk
Esimotsoraivo

I can't view this one, it may just be me though.

ETA: I got it, thanks tk!

http://sirismm.si.edu/naa/baegn/gn_00851a.jpg

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#12 Dec-27-2013 11:23:pm

Suckachsinheet
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Registered: Sep-11-2007
Posts: 968

Re: Powhatan Ethnology

tree hugger wrote:

Just butting in on the feather capes.

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/vawo … .05.72.jpg

That's pretty much what Mike Taffe's feather cape looks like, but I think it is missing the cloth lining. The feathers are woven into a net. It has been many years since I have seen it up close, so I may be forgetting the fine details.


It's in the blood; I can't let go. - Robbie Robertson

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#13 Dec-28-2013 07:32:am

NanticokePiney
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From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Suckachsinheet wrote:

tree hugger wrote:

Just butting in on the feather capes.

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/vawo … .05.72.jpg

That's pretty much what Mike Taffe's feather cape looks like, but I think it is missing the cloth lining. The feathers are woven into a net. It has been many years since I have seen it up close, so I may be forgetting the fine details.

He got that idea from Grandpop Buster, who also had one. I have a old picture of Buster wearing it but I never knew where it came from until now.


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
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#14 Dec-28-2013 08:08:am

sschkaak
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

MaryEllen Flynn (maybe 1/64 Lenape) made a turkey feather cape with a (?)buckskin lining.  This photo is about 30 years old, and I wish I had taken a picture of the back, but you can make out the structure of the cape well enough. 

/pb.php?url=http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o128/RayWhritenour/scan9_zpsbb1d15d4.jpg

(P.S. - I think her cat got hold of it and, now, it has passed into non-existence.)

Last edited by sschkaak (Dec-28-2013 12:18:pm)

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#15 Dec-28-2013 09:50:am

sschkaak
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Strachey gives the Powhatan word, puttawus, as "a covering or mantle made of feathers."  The word has not survived with this specific meaning in Lenape; however it could very well have been modern Munsee's word, pihtawusuw, "it is in layers" (referring to the overlapping of the rows of feathers).

(Note:  "Powhatan" is a catch-all used to denominate all the Virginia Algonquian dialects.)

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#16 Nov-09-2014 12:31:pm

sschkaak
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Re: Powhatan Ethnology

Zeisberger's 1772 Munsee vocabulary gives a word, "tschuppiwei," meaning 'feather blanket.'  This may be the Delaware word for these garments.  It appears to signify 'apart-feathers' or 'sorted-feathers,' referring to the overlapping manufacturing process.

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