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Lumbee Way of Life

 

Mary Norment in 1875 describes a typical Lumbee community as follows:

…[you] leave the public road and take a foot-path leading through the woods, across branches and swamps, until [reaching] a worn fence made of pine rails, inclosing a half cleared patch of land containing three or four acres, in the center of which generally stands the Indian cabin[s]…A little distanse from the cabin will be found in the yard a well of water, or rather a hole dug in the ground … A poor, half-starved fice dog, used for hunting "possums" and "wild varmints" will generally be found inside of the inclosure … Two or three acres cleared are ploughed and planted in corn, potatoes, and rice… The bed is made on the floor (generally a clay floor) … No division in the cabin … The above picture is true of a great majority of the Indians…


  Winter slaughtering of animals is a tradition among the Lumbee people. Adolph Dial and David Eliades describe this tradition in "The Only Land I Know":

For a very long time [Lumbees] have enjoyed hog killings as events which brought neighbors together for a day of work and fun. Pork was such an important staple in the local diet that most of the corn grown prior to World War II was fed to hogs, and most of the hogs were then butchered for home consumption.

Until comparatively recently, farming was the principal occupation among the Lumbee. Adolph Dial and David Eliades describe farm life as follows in "The Only Land I Know":

…[A] daily round of milking, feeding, gathering, and, depending on the time of the year, of planting, cultivating or harvesting…In earlier days a typical forty-acre farmer put about half his land in money crops, such as cotton and tobacco; fifteen acres of corn, two acres for garden vegetables and a potato patch, and three acres for hay. 

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