Sunday, November 7, 2010

In Wetu, Wampanoag Cooking Pot

With Thanksgiving coming in a few weeks I began wondering how the American pilgrims might have been influenced by the Wampanoag tribal people, the people they shared that legendary harvest feast with, the feast we now call Thanksgiving. Certainly the Pilgrim's cuisine was influenced. They would have starved if they had not learned to cultivate corn, squash and beans. Some of them did starve. If the Wampanoag shared their food with the pilgrims could it have been in a beautiful pot such as this?

In Wetu, Cooking Pot, Ramona Louise Peters, Wampanoag pottery, 2001
photo: Jason Dowdle

I found Wampanoag artist Ramona Louise Peters on the website Keepers of Tradition: Useful Things Made Beautiful created by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Peters is inspired by the material culture of her ancestors before European contact. This pot is in the style of a 1600's Wampanoag cooking pot. It would have been used in a single family dwelling called a Wetu. The white inlay was to help locate the pot by firelight in the Wetu. The four points represent the four directions.

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