Abenaki (Abnaki, Abinaki, Alnôbak) are a Native American tribe
and First Nation. They are one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples of
northeastern North America. The
Abenaki live in
Quebec and the
Canada and in the
New England region of the United
States, a region called Wabanahkik ("Dawn Land") in the Eastern
Algonquian languages. The
Abenaki are one of the five members of the
"Abenaki" is a linguistic and geographic grouping; historically there
was not a strong central authority. As listed below, there were
numerous smaller bands and tribes who shared many cultural traits.
They came together as a post-contact community after their original
tribes were decimated by colonization, disease, and warfare.
5.3 United States
22.214.171.124 Official state tribal recognition
New Hampshire and minority recognition
6.1 Hair style and other marriage traditions
6.2 Gender, food, division of labor, and other cultural traits
7 Population and epidemics
11 Notable people
14 Further reading
15 External links
The word Abenaki, and its syncope, Abnaki, are both derived from
Wabanaki, or Wôbanakiak, meaning "People of the Dawn Land" in the
Abenaki language. While the two terms are often confused, the
Abenaki are one of several tribes in the Wabanaki Confederacy.
Wôbanakiak is derived from wôban ("dawn" or "east") and aki
("land") (compare Proto-Algonquian *wa·pan and *axkyi) — the
aboriginal name of the area broadly corresponding to
New England and
the Maritimes. It is sometimes used to refer to all the
Algonquian-speaking peoples of the area—Western Abenaki, Eastern
Abenaki, Wolastoqiyik-Passamaquoddy, and Mi'kmaq—as a single
Abenaki people also call themselves Alnôbak, meaning "Real
Lenape language: Lenapek) and by the autonym Alnanbal,
Historically, ethnologists have classified the
Abenaki by geographic
Western Abenaki and Eastern Abenaki. Within these groups are
Arsigantegok (also Arrasaguntacook, Ersegontegog, Assagunticook,
Anasaguntacook), lived along the St. Francis River in Québec.
Principal village: St. Francis (Odanak). The people were referred to
as St. Francis River Abenakis, and this term gradually was applied to
all Western Abenaki.
Cowasuck (also Cohass, Cohasiac, Koasek, Koasek, Coos – "People of
the Pines"), lived in the upper
Connecticut River Valley. Principal
village: Cowass, near Newbury, Vermont.
Missiquoi (also Masipskwoik, Mazipskikskoik, Missique, Misiskuoi,
Missisco, Missiassik – "People of the Flint"), also known as the
Sokoki. They lived in the Missisquoi Valley, from
Lake Champlain to
the headwaters. Principal village around Swanton, Vermont.
Ossipee, lived along the shores of
Ossipee Lake in east-central New
Hampshire. Often classed as Eastern Abenaki.
Pennacook (also Penacook, Penikoke, Openango), lived in the Merrimack
Valley, therefore sometimes called Merrimack. Principal village
Penacook, New Hampshire. The
Pennacook were once a large confederacy
who were politically distinct and competitive with their northern
Pequawket (also Pigwacket, Pequaki), lived along the
Saco River and in
the White Mountains. Principal village Pigwacket was located on the
Saco River near present-day Fryeburg, Maine. Occupied an
intermediate location, therefore sometimes classed as Eastern Abenaki.
Sokoki (also Sokwaki, Squakheag, Socoquis, Sokoquius, Zooquagese,
Soquachjck, Onejagese – "People Who Separated"), lived in the Middle
Connecticut River Valley. Principal villages: Squakheag,
Northfield, Massachusetts, and Fort Hill.
Winnipesaukee (also Winnibisauga, Wioninebeseck, Winninebesakik –
"region of the land around lakes"), lived along the shores of Lake
Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.
Amaseconti, lived between the upper Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers
in western Maine.
Androscoggin (also Alessikantekw, Arosaguntacock, Amariscoggin), lived
in the Androscoggin Valley and along the St. Francis River, therefore
often called St. Francis River Abenaki.
Kennebec (also Kinipekw, Kennebeck, Caniba, later known as
Norridgewock), lived in the
Kennebec River Valley in northern Maine.
Norridgewock (Naridgewalk, Neridgewok,
Noronjawoke); other villages: Amaseconti (Amesokanti, Anmissoukanti),
Kennebec, and Sagadahoc.
Kwupahag (also Kwapahag)
Maliseet (also Wolastoqiyik, Walastekwyk, Malecite), lived in the
inland of upper
Maine and middle
New Brunswick along the St. John
River. Principal villages: Meductic, Aukpaque. Now a separate
federally recognized tribe.
Odanak (also known as St. Francis, St. Francois du Lac), lived
southwest of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, and included settlements along
the St. Francois River.
Ossipee, lived along the shores of
Ossipee Lake in east-central New
Hampshire. Sometimes classed as Western Abenaki.
Penobscot (also Panawahpskek, Pamnaouamske, Pentagouet), lived in the
Penobscot Valley. Principal villages:
Penobscot (Pentagouet), now
Indian Island, Old Town, Maine; other villages: Agguncia, Asnela,
Catawamtek, Kenduskeag, Mattawamkeag, Meecombe, Negas, Olamon,
Passadumkeag, Precaute, Segocket, and Wabigganus. Now a separate
federally recognized tribe.
Passamaquoddy (also Peskotomuhktati, Pestomuhkati), lived on the
Passamaquoddy Bay coast and inland, between the St. John, St. Croix
Penobscot rivers, in present-day
Maine and New Brunswick.
Principal village: Machias. Now a separate federally recognized tribe.
Rocameca, lived along the upper Androscoggin River, near Canton,
Wawinak (also Ouanwinak, Sheepscot, Wawenock, Wawnock, Wewenoc), lived
in the coastal areas of southern Maine.
Wôlinak (also Becancour), lived around Trois-Rivières, Quebec.
Abenaki wigwam with birch bark covering
The homeland of the Abenaki, which they call Ndakinna (our land),
extended across most of northern New England, southern Quebec, and the
southern Canadian Maritimes. The
Eastern Abenaki population was
concentrated in portions of
New Brunswick and
Maine east of New
Hampshire's White Mountains. The other major tribe, the Western
Abenaki, lived in the
Connecticut River valley in Vermont, New
Hampshire and Massachusetts. The
Missiquoi lived along the eastern
shore of Lake Champlain. The
Pennacook lived along the Merrimack River
in southern New Hampshire. The maritime
Abenaki lived around the St.
Croix and Wolastoq (Saint John River) valleys near the boundary line
Maine and New Brunswick.
The English settlement of
New England and frequent wars forced many
Abenaki to retreat to Quebec. The
Abenaki settled in the Sillery
Quebec between 1676 and 1680, and subsequently, for about
twenty years, lived on the banks of the
Chaudière River near the
falls, before settling in
Wôlinak in the early eighteenth
century. The name "Abenaki" was derived from the terms w8bAn (light)
and Aki (land), which mean "people in the rising sun" or "people of
the East". In those days, the
Abenaki practiced a subsistence economy
based on hunting, fishing, trapping, berry picking and on growing
corn, beans, squash, potatoes and tobacco. They also produced baskets,
made of ash and sweet grass, for picking wild berries, and boiled
maple sap to make syrup. Basket weaving remains a traditional activity
for members of both communities.
During the Anglo-French wars, the
Abenaki were allies of France,
having been displaced from Ndakinna by immigrating English people. An
anecdote from this period tells the story of a
Maliseet war chief
named Nescambuit or Assacumbuit, who killed more than 140 enemies of
King Louis XIV of
France and received the rank of knight. Not all
Abenaki natives fought on the side of the French, however; many
remained on their native lands in the northern colonies. Much of the
trapping was done by the people, and traded to the English colonists
for durable goods. These contributions by Native American Abenaki
peoples went largely unreported.
Two tribal communities formed in Canada, one once known as
Saint-Francois-du-lac near Pierreville,
Quebec (now called Odanak,
Abenaki for "coming home"), and the other near Bécancour (now known
as Wôlinak) on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River, directly
across the river from Trois-Rivières. These two
continue to grow and develop. Since the year 2000, the total Abenaki
population (on and off reserve) has doubled to 2,101 members in 2011.
Abenaki reside on these two reserves, which cover a
total area of less than 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi). The
unrecognized majority are off-reserve members, living in various
cities and towns across
Canada and the United States.
There are about 3,200
Abenaki living in
Vermont and New Hampshire,
without reservations, chiefly around Lake Champlain. The remaining
Abenaki people live in multi-racial towns and cities across
the U.S.A., mainly in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and northern New
Abenaki tribes are located in Vermont. On April 22, 2011, Vermont
officially recognized two
Abenaki tribes: the Nulhegan Band of the
Abenaki and the Elnu
Abenaki Tribe. On May 7, 2012, the Abenaki
Nation at Missisquoi and the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas
Abenaki Nation received recognition by the State of Vermont. The
Nulhegan are located in the
Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, with tribal
headquarters in Brownington, and the Elnu
Abenaki are located in
Vermont with tribal headquarters in Jamaica, Vermont. The
Abenaki tribe focuses mainly on carrying on the traditions of
their ancestors through their children and teaching about their
culture. The chief and political leader of the Nulhegan Band is Don
Stevens. The
Abenaki Nation at
Missisquoi) are located along the
Missisquoi River in northwestern
Vermont, with tribal headquarters in Swanton. Their traditional land
is along the river, extending to its outlet at Lake Champlain.
In December 2012, Vermont's Nulhegan Abanaki Tribe created a tribal
forest in the town of Barton. This forest was established with
assistance from the
Vermont Sierra Club and the
Vermont Land Trust. It
contains a hunting camp and maple sugaring facilities which are
administered cooperatively by the Nulhegan. The forest contains 70
acres (28 ha).
The St Francis Missisquoi Tribe owns forest land in the town of
Brunswick, centered around the Brunswick Springs. These springs are
believed to be a sacred traditional religious site of the Abanaki.
Vermont forests are the only Abanaki held lands outside
of the existing reservations in
Quebec and Maine.
Abenaki language is closely related to the Panawahpskek
(Penobscot) language. Other neighboring Wabanaki tribes, the
Pestomuhkati (Passamaquoddy), Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), and Mi'kmaq,
and other Eastern
Algonquian languages share many linguistic
similarities. It has come close to extinction as a spoken language.
Tribal members are working to revive the
Abenaki language at Odanak
(means "in the village"), a
Abenaki reserve near
Pierreville, Quebec, and throughout New Hampshire,
Vermont and New
The language is holophrastic, meaning that a phrase or an entire
sentence is expressed by a single word. For example, the word for
"white man" awanoch is a combination of the words awani meaning "who"
and uji meaning "from". In this way, the word for "white man"
literally translates to "Who is this man and where does he come from?"
In Reflections in Bullough's Pond, historian
Diana Muir argues that
Abenaki neighbors, pre-contact Iroquois, were an imperialist,
expansionist culture whose cultivation of the corn/beans/squash
agricultural complex enabled them to support a large population. They
made war primarily against neighboring Algonquian peoples, including
the Abenaki. Muir uses archaeological data to argue that the Iroquois
expansion onto Algonquian lands was checked by the Algonquian adoption
of agriculture. This enabled them to support their own populations
large enough to have sufficient warriors to defend against the threat
Iroquois conquest.[page needed]
In 1614, Thomas Hunt captured 24 young
Abenaki people and took them to
England. During the European colonization of North America, the
land occupied by the
Abenaki was in the area between the new colonies
of England in Massachusetts and the French in Quebec. Since no party
agreed to territorial boundaries, there was regular conflict among
Abenaki were traditionally allied with the French; during
the reign of Louis XIV, Chief Assacumbuit was designated a member of
the French nobility for his service.
Abenaki couple, 18th-century
Facing annihilation from English attacks and epidemics of new
infectious diseases, the
Abenaki started to emigrate to
1669. The governor of New
France allocated two seigneuries (large
self-administered areas similar to feudal fiefs). The first was on the
Saint Francis River and is now known as the
Odanak Indian Reservation;
the second was founded near Bécancour and is called the Wolinak
Main article: French and Indian Wars
Wampanoag people under King Philip (Metacomet) fought the
English colonists in
New England in 1675 in King Philip's War, the
Abenaki joined the Wampanoag. For three years there was fighting along
Maine frontier in the First
Abenaki War. The
Abenaki pushed back
the line of white settlement by devastating raids on scattered
farmhouses and small villages. The war was settled by a peace treaty
in 1678, with the Wampanoag more than decimated and many Native
survivors having been sold into slavery in Bermuda.
Queen Anne's War
Queen Anne's War in 1702, the
Abenaki were allied with the
French; they raided numerous small villages in Maine, Wells to Casco,
killing about 300 settlers over ten years. The raids stopped when the
war ended. Some captives were adopted into the Mohawk and Abenaki
tribes; older captives were generally ransomed, and the colonies
carried on a brisk trade.
Abenaki War (1722–25), called Father Rale's War, erupted
when the French
Sébastien Rale (or Rasles,
1657?-1724) encouraged the
Abenaki to halt the spread of Yankee
settlements. When the Massachusetts militia tried to seize Rasles, the
Abenaki raided the settlements at Brunswick, Arrowsick, and
Merry-Meeting Bay. The Massachusetts government then declared war and
bloody battles were fought at
Norridgewock (1724), where Rasles was
killed, and at a daylong battle at the Indian village near present-day
Fryeburg, Maine, on the upper
Saco River (1725). Peace conferences at
Casco Bay brought an end to the war. After Rale died the
Abenaki moved to a settlement on the St. Francis River.
Abenaki from St. Francois continued to raid British settlements in
their former homelands along the
New England frontier during Father Le
Loutre's War (see Northeast Coast Campaign (1750)) and the French and
The development of tourism projects has allowed the Canadian Abenaki
to develop a modern economy, while preserving their culture and
traditions. For example, since 1960, the
Odanak Historical Society has
managed the first and one of the largest aboriginal museums in Quebec,
a few miles from the Quebec-Montreal axis. Over 5,000 people visit the
Abenaki Museum annually. Several
Abenaki companies include: in
Wôlinak, General Fiberglass Engineering employs a dozen natives, with
annual sales of more than $3 million Canadian dollars.
Odanak is now
active in transportation and distribution. Notable
Abenaki from this
area include the documentary filmmaker
Alanis Obomsawin (National Film
Board of Canada).
Penobscot Indian Nation and the
Passamaquoddy People have been
federally recognized as tribes in the United States.
In 2006, the state of
Vermont officially recognized the
Abenaki as a
People, but not a Tribe. The state noted that many
Abenaki had been
assimilated, and only small remnants remained on reservations during
and after the French and Indian War, later eugenics projects further
Abenaki people of America through forced sterilization
and questionable 'miscarriages' at birth. As noted above, facing
Abenaki had begun emigrating to Canada, then under
French control, around 1669.
The Sokoki-St. Francis Band of the
Abenaki Nation organized a tribal
council in 1976 at Swanton, Vermont.
Vermont granted recognition of
the council the same year, but later withdrew it. In 1982, the band
applied for federal recognition, which is still pending. Four
Abenaki communities are located in Vermont. On April 22, 2011, Vermont
officially recognized two
Abenaki bands: the Nulhegan Band of the
Abenaki and the El Nu
Abenaki Tribe. On May 7, 2012, the
Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi and the Koasek of the Koas Abenaki
Traditional Band received recognition by the State of Vermont. The
Abenaki who chose to remain in the
United States did not fare as well
as their Canadian counterparts. Tribal connections were lost as those
Abenaki who were tolerated by the Anglo population were assimilated
into colonial society. What familial groups remained were often
eradicated, in the early 20th century, through forced sterilization
and pregnancy termination policies in Vermont. There were over 3,400
reported cases of sterilization of
Abenaki having been performed, many
of which involved termination of an unborn fetus. No documentation of
informed consent for these procedures was found. After this period the
Abenaki that remained in the
United States were those who could
pass for white, or avoid capture and subsequent dissolution of their
families through forced internment in "schools" after their
sterilization. At the time, many of the children who
were sterilized were not even aware of what the physicians had done to
them. This was performed under the auspices of the Brandon School of
the Feeble-Minded, and the
Vermont Reform School. It was documented in
the 1911 "Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section
of the American Breeder's Association to Study and to Report on the
Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the
Official state tribal recognition
Vermont Elnu (Jamaica) and Nulhegan (Brownington) bands'
application for official recognition was recommended and referred to
Vermont General Assembly by the
Vermont Commission on Native
American Affairs on January 19, 2011, as a result of a process
established by the
Vermont legislature in 2010. Recognition allows
applicants to seek scholarship funds reserved for American Indians and
to receive federal "native made" designation for the bands' arts and
On April 22, 2011,
Vermont officially recognized two
the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk-
Abenaki and the El Nu
On May 7, 2012, the
Abenaki Nation at Missisquoi and the Koasek
Traditional Band of the Koas
Abenaki Nation received recognition by
the State of Vermont.
New Hampshire and minority recognition
New Hampshire the Abenaki, along with other Native American groups,
have proposed legislation for recognition as a minority group. This
bill was debated in 2010 in the state legislature. The bill would
create a state commission on Native American relations, which would
act as an advisory group to the governor and the state government in
Abenaki want to gain formal state recognition as a
Some people have opposed the bill, as they fear it may lead to Abenaki
land claims for property now owned and occupied by European Americans.
Others worry that the
Abenaki may use recognition as a step toward
opening a casino. But, the bill specifically says that "this act shall
not be interpreted to provide any Native American or
with any other special rights or privileges that the state does not
confer on or grant to other state residents."
New Hampshire has
considered expanding gambling separate from the Native Americans.
The council would be under the Department of Cultural Resources,
so it would be in the same department as the State Council on the
Arts. The bill would allow for the creation and sale of goods to be
labeled as Native-made, to create a source of income for the Natives
in New Hampshire.
The numerous groups of Natives in the state have created a New
Hampshire Inter-tribal Council, which holds statewide meetings and
powwows. Dedicated to preserving the culture of the Natives in New
Hampshire, the group is one of the chief supporters of the HB 1610;
the Abenaki, the main tribe in the state, are the only people named
specifically in the bill.
Abenaki in Pan Indian (non traditional) clothing
There are a dozen variations of the name "Abenaki", such as
Abenaquiois, Abakivis, Quabenakionek, Wabenakies and others.
Abenaki were described in the
Jesuit Relations as not cannibals,
and as docile, ingenious, temperate in the use of liquor, and not
Abenaki tribes lived a lifestyle similar to the
Algonquian-speaking peoples of southern New England. They cultivated
crops for food, and located their villages on or near fertile river
floodplains. Other less major, but still important, parts of their
diet included game and fish from hunting and fishing, and wild
They lived in scattered bands of extended families for most of the
year. Each man had different hunting territories inherited through his
father. Unlike the Iroquois, the
Abenaki were patrilineal. Bands came
together during the spring and summer at temporary villages near
rivers, or somewhere along the seacoast for planting and fishing.
These villages occasionally had to be fortified, depending on the
alliances and enemies of other tribes or of Europeans near the
Abenaki villages were quite small when compared to those of
the Iroquois; the average number of people was about 100.
Abenaki crafted dome-shaped, bark-covered wigwams for housing,
though a few preferred oval-shaped long houses. During the winter, the
Abenaki lived in small groups further inland. The homes there were
bark-covered wigwams shaped in a way similar to the teepees of the
Great Plains Indians. During the winter, the
Abenaki lined the
inside of their conical wigwams with bear and deer skins for warmth.
Abenaki also built long houses similar to those of the
Abenaki hold on to their traditions and ways of life in several
Sokoki do so in the current constitution for their
government. It has a chief, a council of elders, and methods and means
for election to the council and chieftainship, as well as requirements
for citizenship in the tribe. They also list many of the different
traditions they uphold, such as the different dances they perform and
what those dances mean. During several of these dances there is no
photography allowed, out of respect for the culture. For several,
there are instructions such as "All stand while it is sung" or "All
Stand to Show Respect."
Hair style and other marriage traditions
Modernized traditional spiritual hairstyle for a married
Abenaki men kept their hair long and loose. When a man
found a girlfriend, he would tie his hair. When he married, he would
attach the hair of the scalp with a piece of leather and shave all but
the ponytail. The modernized spiritual version has the man with a
girlfriend tying his hair and braiding it. When he marries, he keeps
all his hair in a braid, shaving only the side and back of the head.
The spiritual meaning surrounding this cut is most importantly to
indicate betrothal or fidelity as a married
Abenaki man. In much the
same way as the Christian marriage tradition, there is an (optional)
exchange and blessing of wedding rings. These rings are the outward
and visible sign of the unity of this
Changes in the hair style were symbolic of a complex courtship
process. The man would give the woman a box made of a fine wood, which
was decorated with the virtues of the woman; the woman would give a
similar box to the man. Everyone in the tribe must agree to the
marriage. They erect a pole planted in the earth, and if anyone
disagrees, he strikes the pole. The disagreement must be resolved or
the marriage does not happen.
Gender, food, division of labor, and other cultural traits
Abenaki were a farming society that supplemented agriculture with
hunting and gathering. Generally the men were the hunters. The women
tended the fields and grew the crops. In their fields, they
planted the crops in groups of "sisters". The three sisters were grown
together: the stalk of corn supported the beans, and squash or
pumpkins provided ground cover and reduced weeds. The men would
hunt bears, deer, fish, & birds.
Abenaki were a patrilineal society, which was common among New
England tribes. In this they differed from the six
Iroquois tribes to
the west in New York, and from many other North American Indian tribes
who had matrilineal societies. In those systems, women controlled
property and hereditary leadership was passed through the women's
line. Children born to a married couple belonged to the mother's clan,
and her eldest brother was an important mentor, especially for boys.
The biological father had a lesser role.[clarification needed]
Group decision-making was done by a consensus method. The idea is that
every group (family, band, tribe, etc.) must have equal say, so each
group would elect a spokesperson. Each smaller group would send the
decision of the group to an impartial facilitator. If there was a
disagreement, the facilitator would tell the groups to discuss again.
In addition to the debates, there was a goal of total understanding
for all members. If there was not total understanding, the debate
would stop until there was understanding.
When the tribal members debate issues, they consider the Three Truths:
Peace: Is this preserved?
Righteousness: Is it moral?
Power: Does it preserve the integrity of the group?
These truths guide all group deliberations, and the goal is to reach a
consensus. If there is no consensus for change, they agree to keep the
Storytelling is a major part of
Abenaki culture. It is used not only
as entertainment but also as a teaching method. The
stories as having lives of their own and being aware of how they are
used. Stories were used as a means of teaching children behavior.
Children were not to be mistreated, and so instead of punishing the
child, they would be told a story.
One of the stories is of Azban the Raccoon. This is a story about a
proud raccoon that challenges a waterfall to a shouting contest. When
the waterfall does not respond, Azban dives into the waterfall to try
to outshout it; he is swept away because of his pride. This story
would be used to show a child the pitfalls of pride.
Abenaki smash the flowers and leaves of Ranunculus acris[dubious
– discuss] and sniff them for headaches. They consume the fruit
Vaccinium myrtilloides as part of their traditional diet. They
also use the fruit and the grains of
Viburnum nudum var.
cassinoides  for food.
Population and epidemics
Before the Abenaki—except the
Pennacook and Mi'kmaq—had contact
with the European world, their population may have numbered as many as
40,000. Around 20,000 would have been Eastern Abenaki, another 10,000
would have been Western Abenaki, and the last 10,000 would have been
Maritime Abenaki. Early contacts with European fishermen resulted in
two major epidemics that affected
Abenaki during the 16th century. The
first epidemic was an unknown sickness occurring sometime between 1564
and 1570, and the second one was typhus in 1586. Multiple epidemics
arrived a decade prior to the English settlement of Massachusetts in
1620, when three separate sicknesses swept across
New England and the
Maine was hit very hard during the year of 1617,
with a fatality rate of 75%, and the population of the Eastern Abenaki
fell to about 5,000. The more isolated
Western Abenaki suffered fewer
fatalities, losing about half of their original population of
The new diseases continued to strike in epidemics, starting with
smallpox in 1631, 1633, and 1639. Seven years later, an unknown
epidemic struck, with influenza passing through the following year.
Smallpox affected the
Abenaki again in 1649, and diphtheria came
through 10 years later.
Smallpox struck in 1670, and influenza in
Smallpox affected the Native Americans in 1677, 1679, 1687,
along with measles, 1691, 1729, 1733, 1755, and finally in 1758.
Abenaki population continued to decline, but in 1676, they took in
thousands of refugees from many southern
New England tribes displaced
by settlement and King Philip's War. Because of this, descendants of
nearly every southern
New England Algonquian tribe can be found among
Abenaki people. A century later, fewer than 1,000
after the American Revolution.
In the 1990 U.S. Census, 1,549 people identified themselves as
Abenaki. So did 2,544 people in the 2000 U.S census, with 6,012 people
Abenaki heritage. In 1991 Canadian
Abenaki numbered 945;
by 2006 they numbered 2,164.
Lydia Maria Child
Lydia Maria Child wrote of the
Abenaki in her short story, "The Church
in the Wilderness" (1828). Several
Abenaki characters and much about
their 18th-century culture are featured in the Kenneth Roberts novel
Arundel (1930). The film Northwest Passage (1940) is based on a novel
of the same name by Roberts.
Abenaki writers as well as historical Abenaki-written documents
are featured in the anthology Dawnland Voices, edited by Siobhan
Senier. The collection features commonly known and less known
modern writers as well as historical documents from Abenakis and their
ancestors. The collection also includes writings from several other
New England tribes.
Abenaki are featured in Charles McCarry's historical novel Bride
of the Wilderness (1988), and James Archibald Houston's novel Ghost
Fox (1977), both of which are set in the eighteenth century; and in
Jodi Picoult's Second Glance (2003) and Lone Wolf (2012) novels, set
in the contemporary world. Books for younger readers both have
historical settings: Joseph Bruchac's The Arrow Over the Door (1998)
(grades 4–6) is set in 1777; and Beth Kanell's young adult novel,
The Darkness Under the Water (2008), concerns a young Abenaki-French
Canadian girl during the time of the
Vermont Eugenics Project,
The first sentence in Norman Mailer's novel
Harlot's Ghost makes
reference to the Abenaki: "On a late-winter evening in 1983, while
driving through fog along the
Maine coast, recollections of old
campfires began to drift into the March mist, and I thought of the
Abnaki Indians of the Algonquin tribe who dwelt near Bangor a thousand
Letters and other non-fiction writing can be found in the anthology
Dawnland Voices. Selections include letters from leader of the early
praying town, Wamesit in Massachusetts Samuel Numphow, Sagamore
Kancamagus, and writings on the
Abenaki language by former chief of
the reserve at
Odanak in Quebec,
Joseph Laurent as well as many
Accounts of life with the
Abenaki can be found in the captivity
narratives written by women taken captive by the
Abenaki from the
New England settlements:
Mary Rowlandson (1682), Hannah Duston
(1702); Elizabeth Hanson (1728);
Susannah Willard Johnson
Susannah Willard Johnson (1754); and
Jemima Howe (1792).
Maps showing the approximate locations of areas occupied by members of
Wabanaki Confederacy (from north to south):
Eastern Abenaki (Penobscot, Kennebec, Arosaguntacook,
Western Abenaki (Arsigantegok, Missisquoi, Cowasuck, Sokoki,
Jesse Bruchac, author and linguist
Joseph Bruchac, author
Indian Joe, a scout around the time of the American Revolutionary
Billy Kidd, former alpine ski racer
Joseph Laurent, chief and author
Henry Lorne Masta, chief and author
Alanis Obomsawin, filmmaker and documentarian 
Donald E. Pelotte,
Roman Catholic Bishop of Gallup (New Mexico and
Cheryl Savageau, poet 
Elijah Tahamont, silent film actor Dark Cloud
Alexis Wawanoloath, member of National Assembly of Quebec
Christine Sioui-Wawanoloath, writer and artist living in Quebec
Abenaki Archived 2017-12-22 at the Wayback Machine., Encyclopædia
Britannica (last accessed October 29, 2017).
^ a b c d e f g h i j Lee Sultzman (July 21, 1997). "
Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved March 20,
^ a b c d "Abenaki." U*X*L Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes.
U*X*L. 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2012 from HighBeam Research:
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-11. Retrieved
^ Snow, Dean R. 1978. "Eastern Abenaki". In Northeast, ed. Bruce G.
Trigger. Vol. 15 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C.
Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, pg. 137. Cited
in Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical
Linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pg.
401. Campbell uses the spelling wabánahki.
^ Colin G. Calloway: The Western Abenakis of Vermont, 1600–1800:
War, Migration, and the Survival of an Indian People, University of
Oklahoma Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0806125688
^ a b c d e "Who We Are".
Abenaki Nation. Archived from the original
on 10 February 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
^ Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes: Third Edition
(New York: Checkmark Books, 2006) p. 1
Abenaki Tribe". Archived from the original on 26 May 2016.
Retrieved 11 May 2016.
^ Stephen Laurent (2014). "The
Abenaki of Vermont". In Senier,
Siobhan. Dawnland Voices. Lincoln: University of Nebraska.
pp. 293–296. ISBN 9780803246867.
^ Muir, Diana, Reflections in Bullough's Pond, University Press of New
^ Bourne, Russell (1990). The Red King's Rebellion, Racial Politics in
New England 1675–1678. p. 214. ISBN 0-689-12000-1.
^ "Worlds rejoined". Cape Cod online.
^ Kenneth Morrison, The Embattled Northeast: the Elusive Ideal of
Alliance in Abenaki-Euramerican Relations (1984)
^ Spencer C. Tucker et al. eds. (2011). The Encyclopedia of North
American Indian Wars, 1607–1890: A Political, Social, and Military
History. ABC-CLIO. p. 249. ISBN 9781851096978. Archived from
the original on 2018-02-08. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list
^ "Administration". Cbodanak.com. Archived from the original on
2012-07-20. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
^ "Tribal Directory". U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of
Indian Affairs. Archived from the original on December 23, 2012.
Retrieved December 26, 2012.
^ "Vermont: Eugenics: Compulsory Sterilization in 50 American States".
University of Vermont. Archived from the original on December 28,
2014. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
Vermont Eugenics". Uvm.edu. 1931-03-31. Archived from the original
on 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
^ Henrik Palmgren. "The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics".
Redicecreations.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15.
^ Hallenbeck, Terri.
Abenaki Turn to
Vermont Legislature for
Recognition Burlington Free Press[permanent dead link] January 20,
2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011
^ a b "HB 1610-FN – As Amended by the House". NH General Court.
Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved March 22,
^ "Gambling Bill Would Create 6 Casinos, Allow Black Jack". WMUR.com.
March 4, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010. [permanent dead link]
New Hampshire Inter-Tribal Native American Council: Mission
Statement". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved
March 22, 2010.
^ Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed. (1900). Travels and Explorations of the
Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610—1791. The Burrows Company.
Archived from the original on 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2006-11-07.
^ Waldman, Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes p. 1
^ Constitution of the Sovereign Republic of the
Abenaki Nation of
^ The Encyclopedia of Native American Costume
^ The Cowasuck Band of the
^ Verbal teachings (Oral Traditions) from the late "Berth Daigle"
^ "Marriage or Wedding Ceremony". Cowasuck Band of the
Abenaki People. Archived from the original on August 19,
2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
^ a b "What We Ate". Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-
Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved March 22,
^ "The Consensual Decision-Making Process". Cowasuck Band of the
Abenaki People. Archived from the original on August 8,
2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
^ Joe Bruchac. "The
Abenaki Perspective on Storytelling". Abenaki
Nation. Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved
March 22, 2010.
Raccoon and the Waterfall".
Abenaki Nation. Retrieved March 22,
^ Rousseau, Jacques 1947 Ethnobotanique Abenakise. Archives de
Folklore 11:145–182 (p. 166)
^ Rousseau, Jacques, 1947, Ethnobotanique Abenakise, Archives de
Folklore 11:145-182, page 152, 171
^ Rousseau, Jacques, 1947, Ethnobotanique Abenakise, Archives de
Folklore 11:145-182, page 152
^ Rousseau, Jacques, 1947, Ethnobotanique Abenakise, Archives de
Folklore 11:145-182, page 173
^ Senier, Siobhan, ed. (2014). Dawnland Voices. Lincoln: University of
Nebraska. pp. 273–370. ISBN 978-0-8032-4686-7.
^ Senier, Siobhan (ed.). Dawnland Voices. Lincoln: University of
Nebraska. ISBN 978-0-8032-4686-7.
^ Women's Indian Captivity Narratives, ed. Kathryn Zabelle
Derounian-Stodola, Penguin, London, 1998
^ "Alanis Obomsawin: the vision of a native filmmaker".
^ "Cheryl Savageau's Poetic Awikhiganak".
^ "Biography of Alexis Wawanoloath". Dictionnaire des parlementaires
du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of
^ "Christine Sioui Wawanoloath" (in French). Terres en vues/Land
InSights. Archived from the original on 2016-08-13.
Aubery, Joseph Fr. and Stephen Laurent, 1995. Father Aubery's French
Abenaki Dictionary: English translation. S. Laurent (Translator).
Chisholm Bros. Publishing
Baker, C. Alice, 1897. True Stories of
New England Captives Carried to
Canada during the Old French and Indian Wars. Press of E.A. Hall &
Company, Greenfield, Massachusetts
Charland, Thomas-M. (O.P.), 1964. Les Abenakis D'Odanak: Histoire des
Odanak (1675–1937). Les Éditions du Lévrier, Montreal,
Coleman, Emma Lewis.
New England Captives Carried to Canada: Between
1677 and 1760 During the French and Indian Wars, Heritage Books, 1989
Day, Gordon, 1981. The Identity of the Saint Francis Indians, National
Museums of Canada, Ottawa, National Museum Of Man Mercury Series ISSN
0316-1854, Canadian Ethnology Service Paper No. 71 ISSN 0316-1862.
Laurent, Joseph, 1884. New Familiar Abenakis and English Dialogues.
Joseph Laurent (Sozap Lolô Kizitôgw), Abenakis, Chief of the
Indian village of St. Francis, P.Q. Reprinted (paperback) Sept. 2006:
Vancouver: Global Language Press, ISBN 0-9738924-7-1; Dec. 2009
(hardcover): Kessinger Publishings Legacy Reprint Series; and April
2010 (paperback): Nabu Press.
Masta, Henry Lorne, 1932.
Abenaki Legends, Grammar and Place Names.
Victoriaville, PQ: La Voix Des Bois-Franes. Reprinted 2008: Toronto:
Global Language Press, ISBN 978-1-897367-18-6
Maurault, Joseph-Anselme (Abbot), 1866. Histoire des Abénakis, depuis
1605 jusqu'à nos jours. Published at L'Atelier typographique de la
"Gazette de Sorel", QC
Moondancer and Strong Woman, 2007. A Cultural History of the Native
Peoples of Southern New England: Voices from Past and Present.
Boulder, CO: Bauu Press, ISBN 0-9721349-3-X
Other grammar books and dictionaries include:
Dr. Gordon M. Day's two-volume
Western Abenaki Dictionary (August
1994), Paperback: 616 pages, Publisher: Canadian Museum Of
Chief Henry Lorne Masta's
Abenaki Legends, Grammar, and Place Names
(1932), Odanak, Quebec, reprinted in 2008 by Global Language Press
Joseph Aubery's Father Aubery's French-
Abenaki Dictionary (1700),
translated into English-
Abenaki by Stephen Laurent, and published in
hardcover (525 pp.) by Chisholm Bros. Publishing.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Abenaki.
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Gordan M. Day, "The Identity of the St