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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Native American Fishing

 
 
Native American Fishing Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 31, 2013
1. Native American Fishing Marker
Inscription. In April and May, the Falls of the James is the richest source of food available. 400 years ago, Native American men would wade with nets and spears among the rocks and rapids to catch migrating shad, herring and striped bass. Enormous schools of these ocean-living fish came into fresh water to spawn and thereby escape the many predators that lived in salt water.

There was a seasonal fishing village at the broad, flat, eastern end of this island. It was located about where you came onto the island from the foot bridge. Comprised only of twig huts and fish drying racks, it was set up every year but lacked the usual defensive barricades. In order that all the tribes could safely capture and preserve food, tribal leaders, arranged annual treaties to prohibit warfare when men went fishing.

At the base of the various rapids, native boys would prove their manhood by attempting to ride enormous pregnant sturgeon. The best sites were where big rocks and channels of whitewater rapids met calm, flat water --- such as at the beginning of the rapids where the 14th St Bridge is today. These 8 foot long fish would seek out calm pools in which to lay eggs or rest before mowing up through the next whitewater channels.

The 15 and 16 year old boys would get nods of approval from the observant elders
Native American Fishing Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 31, 2013
2. Native American Fishing Marker
and appreciative glances from local girls, if they could hold on. Success might lead to finding a wife! If they fell off, or broke a finger, or if the fish just sank to the bottom, they got the ultimate humiliation: the elders would turn their backs, the girls would giggle…and there was no possibility of a social life for the next year.

It is interesting to note that in 2012 several large sturgeon were spotted below the 14th St. Bridge.
 
Erected 2012 by James River Park System.
 
Location. 37° 31.822′ N, 77° 27.179′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Tredegar Street 0.3 miles west of South 5th Street. Click for map. Located on Belle Isle which can be reached via a pedestrian bridge from the north bank of the river. Marker is at or near this postal address: 470 Tredegar Street, Richmond VA 23219, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hollywood Rapids (within shouting distance of this marker); Canons and Corpses (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ironworks Oil House (about 600 feet away); Cannon over the Camp (about 600 feet away); Belle Isle Rolling Milling and Slitting Manufactory
Belle Isle Trail image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 31, 2013
3. Belle Isle Trail
(about 600 feet away); Historic Belle Isle (about 600 feet away); The Power of Moving Water (about 700 feet away); Quarry Equipment (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
 
Categories. Native Americans
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 271 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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