YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – November is National Native American Heritage Month.
The Tyler History Center is home to a collection of Native American artifacts found here in the Valley. Indigenous people first inhabited this area about 12,000 years ago.
“The evidence tells us that they were parts of different periods of cultures,” said Jessica Trickett, the Anne Kilcawley Christman Memorial Collections manager of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.
Spears, hammers, arrowheads, and other stone artifacts tell the story of how Natives survived in harsh conditions.
“We had actual Mastodons and bears here that they would hunt,” Trickett said.
Their weapons, tools, dwellings, and lifestyles became more advanced as time and technology progressed.
“Where instead of hunting and gathering and moving, they were more settled and they would actually build long houses and live in settlements farm,” Trickett said.
Indigenous people would continue to live in the greater Youngstown area, which they called “Mahoning,” meaning Salt Lick, after the valuable natural mineral used to preserve food found in abundance here.
“In the more recent past — the 18th Century, the mid-1700s — there were Delaware tribes that had settlements nearby in what is now the Niles area,” Trickett said.
“When the white settlers from the eastern United States, the Connecticut area, started moving to this area, there wasn’t really a significant Native American presence left here.”
They did leave behind possibly hundreds of thousands of artifacts — most of which are still in the ground, waiting to be discovered.