The research methodology of the Public History Project involves listening for, and retrieving, under-recognized and erased voices. This process forces us to reckon with unpleasant realities— the hidden costs of building a great metropolis at the expense of a once-great estuary; the injustices of dispossessing and oppressing certain people for the wealth and advancement of others. It requires us to challenge the widely accepted, yet one-sided, colonial narrative of history, and replace it with something deeper, richer and ultimately, more reflective of the whole truth.
These maps and diagrams are part of an unfolding series that will be updated periodically to reflect PHP’s ongoing research. Instead of being conclusive, they only begin to describe the Pre-Contact ecosystem of the lower Hudson River, or Mahicannitukw—“great tidal river”—as it is known in the original Algonquian language.
The first series, Indigenous Foodways, reflects how Native Americans found everything they needed to survive and prosper in the bioregion—clean water, abundant food, medicinal plants, and all the other necessities of material culture. They sustainably cared for the ecosystem by only taking what they needed, gave thanks for what they took, and the vibrant ecosystem ensured plenty for all.