Making Fishnets | Gullah Net


In the video, St. Helena resident Frank Brown weaves a net while singing a song rich in the Gullah dialect. This clip was extracted from Palmetto Places - St. Helena Island.

After the Civil War and through the early 1900s, many Native Islanders farmed the land for themselves and fished in surrounding waters to make a living. Gullah fishermen knitted their own fishing nets with a needle that was often made of palmetto wood. The art of making and casting these fishing nets came from West Africa.

Before the islands were developed, Native Islanders used their casting nets to catch fish and shrimp. They also gathered oysters and caught crabs to sell at the local markets. Some islanders still use their fishing nets to provide food for their families. The catch is used to prepare traditional Gullah recipes, such as stewed shrimp, oyster dressing, boiled crabs and fried fish.

Word Bank

Civil War ( war) n. - the war in the United States between the Union and Confederacy that lasted from 1861 to 1865; also, any war within a country.

Native Islander (na.tive n.  -  one of the original inhabitants or lifelong residents of the Sea Islands.

Gullah (gul.lah) n. - one of a group of people of African ancestry that live in the Sea Islands and coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida; the creolized language of the Gullahs, based on English and several other African languages and spoken in Sea Island communities.

West Africa (west - the region of western Africa between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea.