Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
The Monacans were a tribe living for many centuries in the Appalachians before the arrival of Europeans, and the display at the state park is a replica of part of one of their villages. It was staffed by several docents who were there to explain things to the tourists. We happened to arrive there shortly after a large field trip of local high school students had arrived, so there were probably 60 kids there and a male docent was explaining to them the Monacan people’s life. He was, not surprisingly, talking a lot about their methods of hunting and fishing and how they killed and ate animals for food.
As Madeleine and I were looking at some of the beautiful baskets they created, a female docent came over and we started talking about the food practices of the Monacans. There was a small plot of corn growing, and I asked her about the corn the Monacans traditionally grew and what percentage it was of their total food consumption. She replied that it was only about two percent. She told us that she is herself descended from the Monacan Indians, and that her people had traditionally set up and stayed in villages such as this one for several years, and that they would then would move to a slightly different location in the same general area, and did this repeatedly because they would gradually exhaust the local resources. I asked if she was referring to the animals who were hunted and fished, and she said no, that meat and fish accounted for less than two percent of their food. Virtually all their nutritional needs – 96 percent – came from acorns, together with nuts, berries, roots, seeds, leaves, shoots, and other plant foods that they gathered.