What are you thankful this Thanksgiving?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks. Are we really too busy going about our daily routines to take the time to just say thanks? During this time of the year, many of the books you read and the movies you see show how the pilgrims and the Native Americans celebrated Thanksgiving.

I felt this week would be a good time to reflect on a past column I had written and let you take the time to say “thank you” for the things that are blessings in your life.

Many of you have asked the question about American Indians. I hope this week I can answer some of those questions in this column.

Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. He initially thought he was the first. In February 1493, Columbus wrote about the natives of the land he discovered. He called them “Indios,” and as

time went on the white traders used the expression “Red Man” referring to the Indians.

So, how did the Indians get to America? It is thought that during the Ice Age wanderers from Asia crossed into America. The Indians had to have three things to survive: food, water and shelter. Our rivers and lakes provided the water, fish and other food. All along these areas was plenty of forest to make shelter for them. The Indians lived in small tribes, and life was very hard. The average life span was about 35 years old.

The women breast fed their infants, but as the children got older they would have to chew the food then give it to the child. Remember, there was no baby food or grocery store.

Often people will discover shell mounds along the rivers or by lakes and wonder about them. Clams were a part of the main diet of the Indians, and they ate tons of them. Whenever they killed a wild animal, every part of it was used. The

meat was eaten and the hide and bones used to make tools and weapons.

You might ask who some of the Indian tribes in Louisiana were. The Paleo lived from 10000 to 5000 B.C., the Meso from 5000 to 2000 B.C.,

the Neo from 2000 to 1600 B.C.,

the Tchefuncte from 500 B.C. to 200 A.D., the Marksville from 50 to 400 A.D. and the Caddo from 1000 to 1

600 A.D. Others include the Tangipahoa, Houma, Washa and many others.

Today, you might still find arrowheads left by the Indians in plowed open fields after a hard rain. They are made from the rocks and have been chipped into a tool for hunting, fishing or cooking. Life was hard, but they were thankful for the things that they had. So, as Thanksgiving draws near, what are you thankful for?

The Louisiana Treasures Museum has a large collection of artifacts from the surrounding area that are on display. Teachers that are interested in bringing students on educational field trips to the museum can call to set up a tour on weekdays. The Museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays and also upon request by calling 225-294-8352.

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.