By Janis Seminara
I have been visiting the Garvies Point Museum and Preserve for many years at different stages in my life. When I was dating my husband, we often visited the preserve to walk the nature trails or sit and talk about our future surrounded by forest, meadow and water. Later on I would bring my children, and then visit with friends as a true respite from over-crowded streets, traffic, and the hustle-bustle of everyday living. Garvies Point Preserve and Museum is a great find and an oasis right here in Nassau County. I hadn't visited in much too long, so when I read about a lecture at the Museum this past Sunday on Native American Culture, I reveled at the opportunity.
First of all, the nominal admission fee is well worth the visit. We gathered in the museum where Mr. Peter Ramon led us on a guided tour of displays of the different stages and activities of Long Island Native Americans. Mr. Ramon informed us that many of the Native Americans that lived on Long Island were of the Algonquin Tribe. Within the Algonquin Tribe, there were many groups, part of the 13 groups (although there were more) whose names many of us will identify as the names of the towns we live in. For example: Massapequa, Manhasset, Matinicocks, Corchaug (we know this as Cutchogue) and Canarsee to name a few. Of these groups there were also sub-groups, for example; Quogue, which was a sub-group of the Matinicock. There is a large map at the museum with all the names of each group listed where they inhabited, and it was interesting to note that some of the groups did not necessarily live where the towns of their name exist today. Learning about these groups and viewing the maps gave me a real sense of Long Island history. The Native American people lived very closely in tune with nature here, and their lives very much flowed with the nature of Long Island's natural resources. One can get a real sense of historical Long Island Native American Culture by visiting the museum or taking part in many of the special events at the Museum. There is even an authentic wig-wam at the museum. (See photo)
A volunteer at the museum informed me of the wonderful Thanksgiving Celebration held on the grounds of the preserve in early to mid November. I am already marking my calendar for it and looking forward to sampling some Native American fare, such as Three Sister soup (bean, squash and corn) or Popcorn soup and taking part in some activities such as spear throwing or a Native American Sweat lodge. I was told that a volunteer is always available on the premises to talk about the nature trails, describe any of the exhibits, or just to inform you of all that Garvies Point Preserve has to offer. Guided tours are regularly scheduled for the public which only cost the price of admission. Programs (including outdoor walks) are available for groups by reservation with a fee.
The Garvies Point Museum has an extensive schedule of events that can be fun for all ages; Jewelry/Lapidary Workshops, Sculpture, Cherokee Basket Making, or perhaps a "Rock, Mineral or Fossil Identification " program would suit your interest. The museum even hosts a mineral specialist on site. How about a Sunday afternoon film about Native American legends or a participatory program of Native American games? You can spend an afternoon walking the five miles of nature trails or just enjoying the view. Check out the website, link below for more information, dates, times and schedules and also a schedule of Children's Summer Workshops run by the museum's curator and supervisor, Kathryne Natale.
For more information:
Garvies Point Museum & Preserve
50 Barry Drive
Glen Cove, New York
Garvies Point Museum