"People of the Dawnland" Exhibit
An interactive exhibit exploring Abenaki culture, arts, foodways, and storytelling traditions.
Learn more about the Abenaki and Wabanaki peoples of Northern New England, Southern Quebec, and the Canadian Maritime Provinces; both past and present. The "People of the Dawnland" exhibit invites visitors to touch traditional basket weaves, play with a cornhusk doll, step inside a reproduction wigwam, or see what plants are growing in the Abenaki teaching garden.
Archaeologists at Strawbery Banke have uncovered pieces of pottery, stone tools, and tent holes that demonstrate the presence of the Abenaki. For over 12,000 years, they have visited the Seacoast seasonally for hunting, fishing, and food preparation. This exhibit describes the locations of Tribal groups from present day Newfoundland to the mid-Atlantic, their shared traditions, beliefs, and resources of their trade networks, and the family relationships of the Abenaki and other Indigenous peoples who are still here in New Hampshire.
Click the link above to listen to a recent virtual presentation done by Anne Jennison and Alexandra Martin on the "People of the Dawnland" exhibit at Strawbery Banke Museum.
Anne Jennison is a traditional Native American storyteller with European and Abenaki heritage, master’s degrees in Storytelling and History, and experience as a history teacher, an interpreter at Strawbery Banke Museum, and as the chair of the NH Commission on Native American Affairs.
Traditional Abenaki Arts
For thousands of years, the Abenaki have made intricately handcrafted goods to meet their everyday needs, working with materials supplied by the natural world around them. Abenaki homes, clothing, weapons, canoes, baskets, pottery, cradleboards, etc. were practical yet beautifully made because Abenaki aesthetic traditions ask that an object made for daily use should be visually appealing as well as functional.
Today there is a revitalization of Abenaki culture underway throughout N’Dakinna (Abenaki territory, literally “Our Land”) – and a whole new generation of people of Abenaki descent are expressing a renewed interest in preserving their heritage by learning and practicing the traditional crafts of their ancestors.
(Images: Liz Greene Charlesbois, Abenaki, creates intricate patterns in birch bark, using her teeth.)
Open daily May 1 – October 31 in the Jones House. The “People of the Dawnland” exhibit is included with general museum admission.
The "People of the Dawnland" exhibit was created by museum staff in the Collections and Education Departments, in collaboration with members of the NH Commission on Native American Affairs, the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People and the Indigenous New Hampshire Collaborative Collective.
For more information about the "People of the Dawnland" exhibit, please contact Alix Martin, Museum Archaeologist, via amartin[at]sbmuseum.org