Eastern Woodland Indians survived on what they could hunt, gather, and grow. Still, everyone likes variety and new things, so, they set up trading arrangements with other groups both near and far.
If your village was inland, you might travel to the coast to trade for shellfish. You might bring furs from animals you trapped near your rivers. In northern climates, crops have a shorter growing season. To get more variety in your food, you might trade salted fish for grains grown further south. No matter what you traded, no money was involved. Trade was done by barter. You exchanged one kind of goods for another.