Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Sociology Dept.




The purpose in writing this ethnohistory was not to prove that the tribes in Maine, New Hampshire and New Brunswick were unified, but rather, to illustrate the extent to which they were unified. With this general end in mind, my research therefore could not follow only one line of inquiry. It had to be divided into various sub-topics to cover my various orientations to the problem. One of my first orientations was that of validating my belief in a former unity through fieldwork among the Indians involved. This orientation provided the basis for my first chapter, which was considerably augmented by the advice and opinions of various experts in the fields of Ethnology and History. Convinced of the validity of my belief, I then proceeded with an historical orientation to the problem by attempting to clarify the confusion of terms and to identify the several groups of Indians, modern and historical. As intended, this line of inquiry verified my belief and suggested the area for further research. The earliest known tribes of' Indians were identified as ancestors of certain modern tribes, the Etchemin and Armouchiquois (later the Abnaki) being the ancestors of the four surviving groups in question-the Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot , and St. Francis Abenaki. The confusing relationship between the two historic terms (Etchemin and Armouchiquois) was pr precisely the relationship sought for further clarification. Having exhausted most of the historical sources for this clarification, I turned to another line of inquiry-the bases for identification of the tribal groups . The cultural basis for identification was found to clarify to some extent the distinction between Etchemin and Armouchiquois, though on closer inspection local cultural differences were found to exist throughout this region rather than merely between the two major groups. Furthermore , these differences were minor when compared to the high degree of cultural uniformity which contributed in no small way to the feeling of unity between the two ancient groups. The linguistic basis for identification likewise clarified the distinction between Armouchiquois and Etchemin; however , once again the linguistic differences were found to grade from North to South rather than to exist in one sharp break. The final basis for identification -political- confirmed my belief in the former unity of these tribes, sporadic as it may have been. This line of inquiry illustrated that in spite of distinctions such as Armouchiquois or Etchemin, Indians of both groups united at various times for various purposes, at first under Bashaba and later under the Abnaki Confederacy.


Indians of North America. Maine, Indians of North America -- New Hampshire, Indians of North America -- New Brunswick, Malecite Indians, Micmac Indians, Passamaquoddy Indians, Penobscot Indians

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