- (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.
within this Site
][ Passamaquoddy ][ Pennacook
][ Wigwam ][ Wooden