Local History Librarian
Come Tuesday, March 21, for the story of the native peoples of Ohio. The program begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Spillette Meeting Room, Barberton Public Library, 602 W. Park Ave. Light refreshments will be served.
Native peoples have a long history in Ohio. The earliest groups were the prehistoric people who lived between 13,000 BC and AD 1650. The first people to enter the Western hemisphere, the Paleoindians, arrived in the area around 13,000 B.C. during the last centuries of the Ice Age. They were hunter-gatherers, meaning they were nomadic and followed the food sources that sustained them. The paleo group hunted now extinct animals such as the mammoth and mastodon, as well as deer and small game. They also gathered nuts, berries, and other plant-based foods. Their time in Ohio ended around 7,000 B.C.
The second group of prehistoric people, The Archaics, lived in Ohio from 8,000-500 B.C. They continued the hunting and gathering lifestyle, but they moved about in a smaller area. They also found new ways to harvest the natural bounty of Ohio’s thick forests. They mined flint throughout Ohio and built sturdy axes to chop down trees and shape wood into dugout canoes.
Following the Archaics were the Woodland Peoples. From 800 B.C.-A.D. 1200, the pace of cultural change began to quicken. The Woodland Period marked the appearance of pottery and cultivated plants. By the Late Woodland period, people were living in villages with as many as 100 individuals, and they built mounds of earth to cover graves of relatives. They also constructed elaborate geometric earthworks to serve as social and ceremonial centers.
The Late Prehistoric period, A.D. 900-1650, refers to the centuries preceding the movement of Europeans into the Ohio country. Agriculture was a primary way of life for the people of this period. Maize was, by far, their most important source of food.
Around 1650, the Prehistoric period ended and the Historic period began. The date roughly corresponds to the time when European settlers began to write and keep written records about the Native Americans. The early European settlers discovered trade with the Native Americans created a European market for new, exotic goods. The demand for tribal items balanced the natives’ demand for European technology and tools. The arrival of the English and Dutch created new trade outlets for the native peoples, but complicated their relations with the French who had been first into the area. The Historic Indian Period continued until 1843.