26 Facts About Abenaki


Abenaki are an Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands of Canada and the United States.

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The Eastern Abenaki language was predominantly spoken in Maine, while the Western Abenaki language was spoken in Quebec, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

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The Eastern Abenaki population was concentrated in portions of New Brunswick and Maine east of New Hampshire's White Mountains.

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The other major tribe, the Western Abenaki, lived in the Connecticut River valley in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

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The maritime Abenaki lived around the St Croix and Wolastoq valleys near the boundary line between Maine and New Brunswick.

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The Abenaki settled in the Sillery region of Quebec between 1676 and 1680, and subsequently, for about twenty years, lived on the banks of the Chaudiere River near the falls, before settling in Odanak and Wolinak in the early eighteenth century.

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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.

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Not all Abenaki natives fought on the side of the French, however; many remained on their native lands in the northern colonies.

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In December 2012, the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation created a tribal forest in the town of Barton, Vermont.

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The Missiquoi Abenaki Tribe owns forest land in the town of Brunswick, Vermont, centered around the Brunswick Springs.

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Abenaki language is closely related to the Panawahpskek language.

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The 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.

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Around 1669, the Abenaki started to emigrate to Quebec due to conflicts with English colonists and epidemics of new infectious diseases.

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The Abenaki pushed back the line of white settlement through devastating raids on scattered farmhouses and small villages.

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Development of tourism projects has allowed the Canadian Abenaki to develop a modern economy, while preserving their culture and traditions.

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Several Abenaki companies include: in Wolinak, General Fiberglass Engineering employs a dozen natives, with annual sales exceeding C$3 million.

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In 2002, the State of Vermont reported that the Abenaki people had migrated north to Quebec by the end of the 17th century.

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Abenaki were described in the Jesuit Relations as not cannibals, and as docile, ingenious, temperate in the use of liquor, and not profane.

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Abenaki lifeways were similar to those of Algonquian-speaking peoples of southern New England.

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Abenaki villages were quite small with an average number of 100 residents.

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Abenaki were a farming society that supplemented agriculture with hunting and gathering.

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Abenaki were a patrilineal society, which was common among New England tribes.

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The more isolated Western Abenaki suffered fewer fatalities, losing about half of their original population of 10, 000.

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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.

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Abenaki are featured in Charles McCarry's historical novel Bride of the Wilderness, 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.

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Accounts of life with the Abenaki can be found in the captivity narratives written by women taken captive by the Abenaki from the early New England settlements: Mary Rowlandson, Hannah Duston (1702); Elizabeth Hanson (1728); Susannah Willard Johnson (1754); and Jemima Howe (1792).

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