American History and Genealogy Project



There is no authority, so far as can be learned, for the pronunciation of Indian names. In general, there is little or no accent. The spelling of the Indian words varies greatly.

Abnaki, Abenaki, or Abenaqui, "Men of the east" or ''England." They constituted an Algonquian confederacy, centered in the State of Maine which subsequently over-flowed into the northern section of New Hampshire. They are said to have consisted, linguistically, of all the tribes occupying the East or Northeast shore of America. The term was first applied to the Indians of Nova Scotia. They occupied mainly the whole of the country between the Piscataqua and Penobscot Rivers.

Agoncy, Early aboriginal name for Penobscot River.

Algonkins or Algonquians or Algonquins were the most widely extended of all North American Indians, their territory stretching along the Atlantic coast from Labrador to Pamlico Sound and westward from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains. Their various tribes linguistically affiliated, spoke innumerable dialects. The meaning of the word is "on the other side" (of the river), or "at the place of spearing eels, and other fish," from the bow of canoe.

Armouchiquois, Vide Malecites.

Aucociscos, A branch of the Abnaki. They occupied territory between Saco and the Androscoggin River. The meaning is given as signifying "a crane" or "a heron."

Canibas, Vide Kanibas.

Cushnocs, Of Augusta, Me.; one of the Kanibas clans.

Etchemin or Etechemin, This tribe is now considered to have been a sub-group of the Abnaki confederacy, speaking the same language, but a different dialect, and to have included the Passamaquoddy and Malecite. They are said to have extended from the Penobscot to the St. Croix River as far as St. John. Later they resided in the neighborhood of Passamaquoddy River. The meaning of the term has been interpreted as "Canoe-men."

Kanibas, A branch of the Abnaki, who occupied both sides of the Kennebec River, Maine.

Malecites, A branch of the Abnaki occupying the St. John River, New Brunswick. The term is said to mean "broken-talkers." They were called "Armouchiquois" by the French Missionaries and their language was most like the Passamaquoddy dialect.

Mohawks, The most eastern of "The Five Nations," Huron-Iroquois, at one time, perhaps, the most powerful Indian confederacy that ever existed. The Mohawk villages occupied mainly the valleys of the Mohawk River, N. Y., and their name signifies "eaters of live meat" (i. e., bear).

Monseag, Means "Place of Island Waters."

Narragansett, An Algonquin tribe, formerly one of the leading tribes in New England.

Norridgewocks, A branch of the Abnaki, who dwelt along the Kennebec River.

Norumbeg, Means "A Succession of Falls and Still Waters."

Passamquoddies, This Small tribe was a branch of the Abnaki. They were situated on the Schoodic River and on the waters and inlets of Passamaquoddy Bay. The term means "pollock-plenty place."

Penobscots, A branch of the Abnaki, dwelt on an island in the Penobscot River a few miles from Bangor.

Pequawket, Tribe in Abnaki confederacy formerly living on head waters of Saco, about Lovewell's Pond. The principal village was the present site of Fryeburg.

Pequots, An Algonquin tribe of Connecticut.

Sachem, Supreme ruler of a territory inhabited by a certain number of tribes. Each governed by an inferior ruler called Sagamore. The dignity was hereditary and never elective.

Sagamore, The Abnaki name for the chief or ruler of a tribe, the dignity of which was elective.

Samoset, A native and sagamore of Pemaquid and the original proprietor of the site of Bristol.

Sokokis, A branch of the Abnaki, settled on or about the Saco River.

Tarratines or Tarrateens, A term used by Pilgrims and early settlers to denote the Abnaki. After the exodus of the main body of the Abnaki to Canada, the term Tarratines was applied to the Indians occupying the Penobscot River from source to sea and the contiguous territories.

Note. The principal authority for the above data is the Dictionary of American Indian Place and Proper Names in New England, by R. A. Douglas-Lithgow, M.D., LL.D.

Source: Maine My State, The Maine Writers Research Club, The Journal Print Shop, Lewiston, Maine, 1919

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