Current River Conditions

Natural and Social History

Photo Galleries

List of Native Plants and Animals

Bronx River Stories

Histories

Gators in the Bronx!

The Old Snuff Mill

Jumpin' Jupiter!

The Mile Square

What's an Alewife, Anyway?

Water for Concrete

Paddling Back in the Day

1895 Tragedy in a Bronx River Swimming Hole

William Hart, the Bronx River Cowboy

Cowboys on the Bronx

Brittannia Rule the Bronx

The Old Drovers Inn

Look Out for the Little People!

Happy Birthday Bronx River Alliance

The Witch Canoe

Woodlawn Brook

The Mighty Kensico

The Battle of White Plains

Launching the Golden Ball

The Left Bank of the Bronx

Awaiting the Alewife

The Boltons of Bronxdale

Ann Hanson, the Bronx River Stevedore

Aunt Sarah Held the Bridge

Jerry, the Bronx River Sea Lion

How the Bronx Got Its Name

Lloyd Ultan's History of the Bronx River

The Wishing Rock

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Bronx?

Big Brown Joe Plugs the Pipe

Ungrateful Old Scrooge

Jonas the Peacemaker

Beaver Tales

Why the Beaver?

Bronx River Parkway Reservation

The Pudding Rock

The Rocking Stone

Edgar Allan Poe and the Bronx River

Shipbuilding on the Bronx

The First Canoes on the Bronx

There Were Bears in There

McAdam's Bronx River Driveway

The Mid-Bronx Ride of Paul Revere

The Many Names of Van Nest

The Frozen Water Trade

Colonel Burr Burns the Blockhouse

Beavers on the Bronx

Songs

Greenway Stories

River Restoration Stories

Video

Beaver Tales

Beaver Tales

 

Impressed with the beaver’s aquatic engineering skills, the Algonquin peoples called them “the Old Wise Ones.”  It was believed that the beaver had once been a large, intelligent, and speaking creature who was demoted to a dumb animal by a Deity nervous about their competing with humankind. (So much so that up around Lake Huron it was even said that beavers once hunted humans, not the other way around.)  Though downsized and deprived of speech, the beaver nevertheless was allowed to keep its native wisdom.

 

While they hunted and trapped the beaver, the Algonquin people accorded them special respect.  The beaver’s bones were never to be given to the village dogs to gnaw on like other animal remains: any hunter who did so was likely to have bad luck with future hunts.  Instead the bones were to be burned or thrown into the water to help make new beavers.  Likewise the beaver’s blood was never to be spilled on the ground, but returned with the bones to the waters from whence the beaver came.

 

Roasted beaver tails were considered a special treat, but to the Native Americans the beaver was especially valued as a means of obtaining the all but priceless metal, glass, and other goods the Europeans manufactured.  To this day the classic woolen Hudson Bay blankets are still made with black hash marks inked on one corner to indicate the blanket’s cost in beaver pelts (a full sized one will set you back four beavers.)  “The beaver does everything perfectly well,” a Cree once remarked. “It makes kettles, hatchets, swords, knives, bread: in short, it makes everything.”

 

  S.P. DeVillo