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Abnaki - (sometimes spelled Abenaki).  A group of Indians who lived in what is now the states of Maine and New Hampshire.  These Indians were among the first to come in contact with the white man and early gave the New Englanders the word "wigwam,"  which the white man thereafter applied to all Indian dome shaped dwellings.

The Abnaki are famous in history as having been the Indians who gave the Massachusetts colonists much trouble in the early eighteenth century.  They were believed to have been incited by the French Jesuit missionary, Father Rale or Rasles, who ran a mission at Norridgewock, on the upper Kennebec River.  The English sent an expedition against Norridgewock in 1722, and after much fighting the Indians were defeated and Norridgewock destroyed.  Father Rale was killed and among his papers was found an Abnaki dictionary he had prepared.

The Abnaki confederacy consisted of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Malecite tribes, and descendants of these still live in maine.  At the time the colonists met them they lived in villages, enclosed by palisades, and hunted and fished and also raised maize, or corn.  They used fish to fertilize the soil, placing one or two dead fish at the roots of each stalk of maize.  Their wigwams - "houses," in their language - were dome shaped and covered with birch bark or woven mats.  Each tribe had a war chief and also a chief to keep order in the village.

The Abnaki believed their good god, Kechi Niwaskw, created the first man and woman out of stone and, not being satisfied with them, destroyed them and made another pair out of wood.

The Abnaki claimed to be descended from these original wooden Indians.

Related Information within this Site
[ Micmac ][ Passamaquoddy ][ Pennacook ]
[ Penobscot ][ Wigwam ][ Wooden Indian ]