1704 Home   Story Menu   Meet the 5 Cultures   People   Artifacts   Maps   Timeline   Voices & Songs   Explanations  



A - C | D - J |K - M | N - P | Q - S | T - Z


In the Wendat creation story, Aetaentsic is Mother Earth, who fell from the Sky-World to rest on a great turtle and, with the help of the animals, created the world on the turtle’s back. Aataentsic's daughter gave birth to the twins who completed the job of creating the world and human beings. Aataentsic is associated with the moon, and also with death; she causes humans to die.

The word Abenaki is the English adaptation of the original word Wôbanakiak, meaning "people of the dawn," or "people of the east." It generally refers to nothern New England Algonkian peoples of two groups: the Eastern Abenaki of Maine, and the Western Abenaki of New Hampshire and Vermont. Alternate spellings include Abnaki and Banakee. See Also: Wabanaki and Wôbanakiak. See also: Maps > Wôbanaki Homelands

About Dates
At the time of the raid on Deerfield, the French were using the Gregorian calendar, which we still use today. According to this calendar, the raid took place on March 11, 1704. The English, however, were still using the Julian calendar, which was 11 days behind, hence February 29. Under the Julian calendar, the dating of the New Year began on March 25. Aware of the fact that the rest of western Europe dated the beginning of the New Year on January 1, the English usually wrote the date February 29, 1703/04.

The Agawam are a Native American Indian group who speak an eastern Algonkian language. Their homeland is situated around present-day Springfield, Massachusetts, on the Connecticut River.

In the Kanienkehaka creation story, Aientsik is Mother Earth, who fell from the Sky-World to rest on a great turtle and, with the help of the animals, created the world on the turtle's back. Aientsik's daughter gave birth to the twins who completed the job of creating the world and human beings.

Algonkian or Algonquian are terms used by anthropologists and historians to refer to a large cultural and linguistic group of Native American Indian peoples. The original Algonkian homelands include present-day New England, the Great Lakes, the Hudson River valley, most of Canada, and parts of the upper Plains. On this website, we discuss the Wôbanakiak who are an Algonkian people. Traditional Algonkian lifeways include seasonal and group use of communal hunting, fishing, gathering, planting, and homesites within a broad homeland. Algonkian political and social structures include both male and female chiefs or sachems, and various inter-tribal councils, alliances and confederacies.

Algonkian (Algonquian)
Linguists use the term Algonkian (variously spelled Algonquian) to refer to the languages and culture of Indian peoples, grouped as Plains, Central, and Eastern Algonkian. Eastern Algonkian speakers include Abenaki, Mohegan, Mohican, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Pennacook, Penobscot, Pequot, Pocumtuck, Schaghticoke and Wampanoag, among others.

The tribal name Algonquin indicates a group of closely related bands living north of the St. Lawence, in the Ottawa valley of present-day Ontario and Quebec, between the Montagnais and Nipissing. Culturally and linguistically, they are Central Algonkian. These Algonquin bands include the Weskarini, Matouweskarini, Kichespirini, and Kotakoutouemi.

Algonquin/Algonquian/Algonkian - word origin
The words Algonquin, Algonquian, and Algonkian are all derived from the Wôbanaki language word elakomkwik, meaning “they are our relatives or allies.” Europeans took the word Algonquin from one of three possible sources: the Maliseet word “elakomkwik” meaning “they are our relatives or allies;” the Motagnais word “Algoumequin” meaning “those who paint themselves red,” or the Maliseet word “elagankwin” meaning “they are dancing.”

Members of the Church of England.

Anishinaabe is a word that roughly translates to mean "the people." The Native peoples called Anishinaabe are also known as the Ojibway or Chippewa, words that come from neighboring Native languages and not from the Anishinaabe. Culturally and linguistically, they are Central or Great Lakes Algonkian.

The Arendahronon or Rock Nation was one of the nations in the Wendat (Huron) Confederacy. The Wendat are an Iroquoian people in language and culture whose original homeland is Wendake, near Georgian Bay of Lake Huron.

Aroostook band of Mi'kmaq
The Aroostook band of Mi'kmaq (Micmac) people, in the northwest region of what is now the state of Maine, are one of the four tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy situated in Maine, and the only band of Mi’kmaq recognized in the United States. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian and eastern Abenaki or Wôbanaki. They are most closely related to the Mi'kmaq of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

The Wôbanaki word Arosekantegouk, also spelled Anosagunticook, literally translates to “empty cabin river.” This is the earliest recorded name for the Wôbanaki village site on the St. Francis River, near the St. Lawrence, now known as Odanak or St. Francis. It is unknown whether it is the original name of the village. Arosekantegouk may be a name that recalls the emptying of the village after an Iroquois attack in 1690 and a plague in 1700.

The Ataronchronon or "people of the marshes" were one of the nations in the Wendat (Huron) Confederacy. The Wendat are an Iroquoian people in language and culture whose original homeland is Wendake, near Georgian Bay of Lake Huron.

The Atiwendaron (Neutral) are an Iroquoian people whose language was apparently similar to that of the Wendats (Hurons), as the name means "people who speak a slightly different language." They lived at the western end of Lake Ontario, and were a confederacy of several nations. The French called them the Neutral because they did not take sides in the conflicts between the Wendat and Iroquois Confederacies.

The Attignawantan or Bear Nation was one of the founding nations of the Wendat (Huron) Confederacy. The Wendat are an Iroquoian people in language and culture whose original homeland is Wendake, near Georgian Bay of Lake Huron.

The Attigneenongnahac or Cord Nation was one of the founding nations of the Wendat (Huron) Confederacy. The Wendat are an Iroquoian people in language and culture whose original homeland is Wendake, near Georgian Bay of Lake Huron.

Awanigiak, in the Western Abenaki dialect of the Wôbanaki language, literally translates to “who are these people?” It was one of the terms used by Wôbanakiak to reference strangers, particularly European strangers.

A ceremony in which a priest pours water, in the name of the Trinity, over the head of a child or adult, cleansing the individual of sin.

The Baptist movement had its origins among 17th-century English Puritans and their Calvinist traditions. Baptists broke with Puritans in their adherence to the Anabaptist doctrine that only adult believers should be baptized.

A fabric canopy hung over the bed. Often there were bed curtains which hung down from the tester and could be drawn closed to help keep people in the bed warm.

Before Current Era
The terms B.C.E. (“Before Current Era”) and C.E. (“Current Era”) are non-denominational dating systems for historical events. The dominant Euro-American system – A.D. (“Anno Domini”- in the year of our Lord), and B.C. (“Before Christ”) – is based on the Christian faith.

Black Robes
Native peoples of the seventeenth and eighteenth century would sometimes refer to Jesuit priests as "Black Robes".

Bloody Brook
Bloody Brook is the site where a group of several hundred warriors successfully ambushed a convoy of English militia and teamsters carting grain from Deerfield to Hadley during Metacom’s War (1675-1676). Sixty English and over 100 warriors were killed in the initial attack and subsequent battle, which the English later named the Bloody Brook massacre.

Knee-length pants worn by 17th/18th-century English men. Boys were "breeched" -- allowed to wear breeches instead of the petticoats and gowns worn by toddlers -- when they were six or seven years old. Breeches had a button fly and pockets, and often buttoned at the knee as well.

Brick nogging
Loose, unfired bricks placed between the exterior wall and the interior sheathing that served as insulation and helped the house to better withstand the impact of musket fire.

In some African cultures, a groom made substantial bridewealth payments to a bride and her family as part of the bonds of marriage. This custom was reflected among slaves in the Americas, who sometimes consecrated marriages by giving the bride a gift--or procured a wife by buying her freedom.

Large ceremonial tobacco pipe made of red, black or white catalanite and a reed stem of upwards of two feet. Calumets originated in the middle of the North American continent. Their use had spread to peoples east of the Great Lakes region by the late seventeenth century.

French colonists born in New France. Although they continued to be subjects of the King of France, Canadiens were distinguished by their birth in New France. Canadiens developed several distinct colonial characters, including farmers (habitants), who were more independent than their peasant counterparts in France; fur traders, who learned Native ways of traveling, fighting, and surviving in the woods; and nobles, whose military careers were spent leading mixed troops of Natives, militia, and regular soldiers.

Captain Thomas Lathrop
Captain Thomas Lathrop was the leader of a company of 80 militia men from Essex county, in eastern Massachusetts, sent to defend the town of Hadley. On September 18, 1675, a group of warriors led by the Nipmuc leader, Muttawampa, ambushed Lathrop's company, and a group of Deerfield teamsters, carting grain from Deerfield to Hadley during Metacom’s War (1675-1676). Sixty English and over 100 Native warriors were killed in the initial attack and ensuing battle, which the English later named the "Bloody Brook massacre".

Card wool
A step in the process of preparing wool for spinning is "carding." A fleece would first be cleaned and then "carded," or brushed, to remove tangles. Cards are thin pieces of wood that have handles and are covered on one side with wire teeth or bristles. The wool would then be rolled off of the card and this roll would be ready for spinning into yarn.

Religious instruction in the form of questions and answers, often used for oral instruction. The Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony mandated that every father must instruct his children from a catechism at least once a week.

Catholicism is generally used to refer to the Roman Catholic Church, whose members believe that the bishop of Rome (the Pope) is the supreme earthly religious authority. The word catholic is derived from the Greek word katholikos, meaning "universal" and hearkens back to the days when it was the sole Christian church. The Roman Catholic Church is believed by its members to be the only true inheritor, via the unbroken line of bishops (Popes) from St. Peter on down, of the authority given by Jesus Christ to his twelve apostles. Bitter religious conflict divided the Catholic Church in the 16th century, when Protestants broke away from the church to follow their own, alternative vision of a purer church. Although there were French Protestants, the country as a whole was considered a Catholic country and alternative religious practices were forbidden in New France. England and the bulk of its people, including those living in English colonial settlements like Deerfield, were in contrast, staunchly Protestant.

The Cayuga nation is one of the five original nations of the Iroquois Confederacy or Rotinonsionni (People of the Longhouse). The Cayuga homeland lies between the Onondaga and the Seneca. The Oneidas and the Cayugas are the Younger Brothers of the Confederacy, who sit across the fire from the Elder Brothers, the Kanienkehaka (Mohawks) and the Senecas.

Central Algonkian
The term Central Algonkian or Algonquian refers to those Native peoples near the central part of the North American continent who are culturally and linguistically similar to the Algonkian peoples of New England. This large group includes the Great Lakes Algonkians, such as the Anishinaabe (also known as the Ojibway or Chippewa), Kickapoo, Nipissing, Potawatomi, and Winnebago. It also includes the Algonkians just east of the Mississippi River, such as the Fox, Peoria, Illinois and Miami.

Cession contract
A cession contract is a written and notarized agreement between the seigneur and the settler that conveys the land to settler and lays out the obligations of both parties.

An official document from the English monarch granting rights and privileges such as rights to govern, economic privileges and legal protections to a colony. Over time many colonists came to see charters as constitutions, fundamental frameworks of government that included unalterable legal protections.

Church of England
The established church of England over which the monarch was the supreme governor and of which all English men and women were considered to be members.

In Northern Iroquoian cultures, a clan is a kinship grouping made up of two or more maternal (longhouse) families that trace their descent from a common female ancestor. People consider themselves related to members of their clan, even those from different nations. All nations of the Rotinonsionni or Iroquois Confederacy have Bear, Wolf, and Turtle clans; some of these nations also share the Snipe, Beaver, Hawk, Deer, Eel, and Heron. Each nation of the Wendat Confederacy shares the Turtle, Wolf, Bear, Deer, Beaver, Hawk, Porcupine, and Snake clans.

From the Arabic for caravan; a train of slaves or animals fastened together.

Condolence Ceremony
A foundation of the Iroquois Confederacy or Rotinonsionni, the Condolence Ceremony is an important part of Confederacy Councils. If a Confederacy Chief has died, a new one is appointed and given the same name/title as the deceased, and the Condolence Ceremony is performed to console the bereaved and invest the new chief with the deceased's power. In the village context, members of the opposite moiety (clan grouping) help "wipe away the tears" of the bereaved family by conducting funeral rituals, providing feasts, and bestowing gifts. Wampum strings are an essential part of condolence rituals.

Conference at Deerfield, Mass., 1735
In August of 1735, Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher held a conference at Deerfield with Mohican, Wôbanaki and Kanienkehaka peoples to discuss diplomatic relations in Massachusetts. The group included 60 “Schaghticoke Indians” (who were actually Agawam, Nonotuck, Pocumtuck, Sokoki and Woronoco from the Connecticut River valley), 40 Housatonic (Mohican), 25 St. Francis Abenaki (including Missisquoi, Pennacook and Pequawket), and 8 Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) from Kahnawake. Belcher agreed to establish a mission village at Stockbridge for the Housatonic and set up a truck house at Fort Dummer for the Wôbanaki. In the months leading up to the conference, a number of Sokoki were convinced to sell land in northern Massachusetts and move to Odanak.

A ceremony in which a bishop anoints the forehead of a person with holy oil, signifying a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit which enables a baptized individual to grow to spiritual adulthood.

Connecticut Valley Indians
The phrase Connecticut River Valley Indians refers to the Algonkian Indian peoples living in the middle Connecticut River valley of present-day Massachusetts. The names of these groups are often associated with particular English towns, including Agawam (Holyoke and Springfield), Nonotuck or Norwottuck (Amherst, Hadley, and Hatfield), Pocumtuck (Deerfield and Greenfield), and Woronoco (Westfield).

Cooperage is the craft of making or repairing barrels and tubs.

Corn (Zea mays) or maize is an indigenous food that originated in Central America. Corn was carefully cross-bred to create larger kernels, and was then traded across the North American continent until it reached the northeast about 1200 years ago.

Cotton Mather
Cotton Mather (1663-1728) was the son of Increase Mather and an eminent Puritan minister and prolific writer, author of "Magnalia Christi Americana" and "Wonders of the Invisible World," about the witchcraft in Salem. Co-minister with and successor to his father as minister of the Second Church of Boston. He was the first cousin of Eunice Mather Williams.

Counter Reformation
The name given to the Catholic Church’s doctrinal, spiritual and political responses to the challenges of the Protestant Reformation of the early 1500s during the period from about 1550 to 1700.

Coureur de bois
Coureurs de bois, literally "runners in the woods," were unlicensed fur traders in New France. After the fur market became glutted in the 1690s, French traders were prohibited from traveling and trading in the northwestern Great Lakes area. Coureurs de bois defied this prohibition, and were also involved in illegal fur trade with the English at Albany and the Kanienkehaka.

Covenant Chain
A set of English-Native alliances, primarily between the English colonial government of New York and the Iroquois Confederacy.

A unit of land based on the division into shares of land held in common by the inhabitants of Dedham, Massachusetts. Dedham proprietors were granted the land at Pocumtuck that became Deerfield, so Deerfield land was also divided into cow-commons. The shares were based "partly on the tax list and partly on the number of cattle running on the commons," according to Deerfield historian George Sheldon, who also says that "Fractions were reckoned by 'sheep and goat commons,' five of which equalled one 'cow common.'"

Cowass, meaning "pine tree place," refers to the Wôbanaki community centered at the bend in the Connecticut River near present-day Newbury, Vermont. See Also: Maps > The Northeast

The Cowasuck are the Native peoples of Cowass, the place of the “pine tree.” The center of their traditional homeland is at present-day Newbury, Vermont, near a bend in the upper Quinneticook (Connecticut River). Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians, and are considered part of the Western Abenaki. They were closely allied with the Pennacook and Sokoki, and provided refuge for Connecticut River Valley Indians such as the Pocumtuck. After the 1704 raid on Deerfield, Wattanummon took his captive Stephen Williams to winter camp at Cowass.

Creole is the name given to the first generation of people of entirely or partly African descent born in the Atlantic colonies.

Current Era
The terms C.E. (“Current Era”) and B.C.E. (“Before Current Era”) are non-denominational dating systems for historical events. The dominant Euro-American system – A.D. (“Anno Domini”- in the year of our Lord), and B.C. (“Before Christ”) – is based on the Christian faith.

A - C | D - J |K - M | N - P | Q - S | T - Z


Dame School
In the colonial period, young children were either tutored at home or put in the care of a neighbor woman who had a "school" in her home. In these "dame schools," children learned rudimentary reading and figuring before they began formal schooling.

A territorial division of a church administered by a bishop.

Englishmen who objected to aspects of the established Church of England, the country’s official faith.

Any person born in the Netherlands, descended from people born in the Netherlands or subjects to the Dutch government.

Eastern Indian
17th and 18th century English colonists generally called coastal Wôbanakiak (Penobscot and Passamaquoddy) and their near inland neighbors (Pawtucket, Pennacook, Pequawket) "Eastern Indians." Wôbanakiak in present-day Vermont and New Hampshire were often called "Western Indians." During the 1704 attack on Deerfield, Deerfield's minister, John Williams, made a distinction between "Eastern Indians" (meaning Pennacook), and "Indians" (meaning Native peoples from the Connecticut Valley, Vermont, and the village of Odanak or St. Francis, in Canada).

An enclave is a district set apart from the larger community and inhabited by a particular people.

Any person born in England, descended from people born in England or subjects to the English crown. The English government and colonists living in New England considered anyone of English origin an English subject even if they had been born in the colonies.

Englismoniak is a Wôbanaki word that combines the word “English” with an animate plural ending, following the grammatical form of the Wobanaki language, to indicate English people.

Refers to a bishop

Also known as the Mass, this sacrament reenacts the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. During Holy Communion people receive from the priest the body and blood of Christ.

Extreme Unction
This sacrament is given to people who are dangerously ill or very old by a priest who anoints the individual with oil while praying that the person will receive the grace of the Holy Spirit and be freed from sin, comforted and restored to health.

Falls Fight
"Falls Fight" is term the the English used for the massacre at Peskeompskut during Metacom's War.

Father Gabriel Druillettes
In 1650, the Jesuit missionary, Father Gabriel Druillettes, traveled through New England, seeking support from the English colonies in making war against the Iroquois. Although the colonies refused to participate, Druillette’s diplomatic efforts encouraged an alliance among Pennacook, Sokoki, Pocumtuck and Mohican peoples, and helped to secure the friendship of those tribes with the French in Canada.

A fathom was a unit of measurement used in 17th century New England. One fathom equals six feet.

Feast of the Dead
An important Wendat (Huron) ritual that took place every 10-15 years, perhaps in conjunction with the relocation of large communities. Bodies were removed from their original graves and the bones cleaned, then mingled with great ceremony and many gifts in a large pit. Only after the Feast of the Dead was the soul freed to travel westward to a village of the dead.

Fireside Family
The Fireside family is the nuclear family consisting of father, mother, and children. In Iroquoian longhouses, this family unit occupied a compartment on one side of the longhouse, and shared a hearth with a family on the other side of the longhouse.

Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy
Five Native nations comprised the Rotinonsionni, which is the Kanienkehaka word for Haudenosaunee, and also known as the Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Metaphorically, the founders of Confederacy spoke of the people as all agreeing to live under the rafters of one great "longhouse." The members of the Confederacy are, from east to west, the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk), Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The Tuscaroras, joined the League in the 1720s to make it the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.

Fort may indicate any one of a variety of defensive constructions, including earthworks, stone walls, and/or palisaded clusters of homes. In 17th century New England and New York, short-term military earthworks, Native palisades, English fortified settlements, and French stone bastions were all called forts. Some Native and European villages included forts to which outlying homeowners could retreat in an emergency, and extra food stores and ammunition were often cached in forts.

Freedom Suit
A freedom suit is a formal action to obtain freedom in a court of law.

Any person whose origins lay in the western European country of France. This included people born of French subjects living in French colonies. French people born in New France were called Canadiens but were nevertheless considered no less French than if they had been born in France. As French subjects, such persons were expected to be loyal to France and its interests.

Louis de Baude de Frontenac (1620-1698) was governor of New France from 1672-82 and 1696-98.

Fur Trade
The fur trade era in North America began in the 17th century, when Dutch, English, and French traders competed with one another to secure beaver, deer, bear, and other valuable furs from Native hunters and trappers, in exchange for European goods and wampum. Over time, as the beaver became scarce, Native traders found themselves increasingly in debt to Europeans. The fur trade continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, spreading across the continent with Hudson’s Bay and other companies employing Native guides, hunters, and trappers.

A garrison is a fortified house, fort or community. A garrisoned house might have walls reinforced with “nogging,” loose rubble or bricks. A garrisoned fort or settlement would be surrounded by a stockade; armed militia or soldiers might also be present. As a verb, garrison is the stationing of militia within houses in a settlement.

Garrison soldiers
Garrison soldiers were men drafted from New England communities into the provincial army to help defend frontier settlements.

Also called walking stools and other names, go-carts were enclosures with wheels that fit closely around a child learning to walk. Seventeenth- and 18th-century English parents used them to protect toddlers from falls and to discourage crawling; however, they also prevented children from sitting to rest.

Governor Andros
Sir Edmund Andros (1637-1714) was the English governor of the New York colony from 1674-1681.

Governor John Winthrop
John Winthrop (1588-1649) was elected governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony twelve times between the years 1630 and 1649.

A garment roughly equivalent to a dress that was worn by 17th/18th-century English and colonial women and young children of both sexes. A gown was worn over a shift (similar to a long shirt or nightgown) and petticoats (skirts). Gowns worn by girls and young boys laced up the back. Women's gowns were laced up the front over a stomacher, a decorative piece of stiffened fabric that covered the gap under the laces.

Great Lakes Algonkian
The term Great Lakes Algonkian or Algonquian refers to those Native peoples near the central part of the North American continent who are culturally and linguistically similar to the Algonkian peoples of New England. This large group includes the Anishinaabe (also known as the Chippewa or Ojibway), Kickapoo, Nipissing, Potawatomi, and Winnebago.

Great Law of Peace
The Kaianerekowa of the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois Confederacy). It is the great message of peace, power and righteousness brought to the people by Tekanawita, "the Peacemaker," with the help of Haionwatha. It established the Confederacy and its traditions, ending a period of chronic fighting among the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois). It provided for a political, social and spiritual framework along with the rights and duties of the chiefs, clans, and nations. The longest version in written form was dictated by John A. Gibson in Onondaga, and finally translated and published in parallel Onondaga and English in 1992.

Great Peace of 1701
In August, 1701, delegates from 40 Native nations and communities met in Montreal to conclude a treaty promising to live in peace with the other signers of the treaty agreeing to set aside former enmities, share hunting territories, trade with the French, and cooperate in warfare against the English.

The French word for "inhabitant" or "resident," habitant refers to the residents of New France who were not merchants, nobles or clerics. The term is usually applied to farmers who lived along the Saint Lawrence River.

The co-creator, with Tekanawita, of the Kaianerekowa or the Great Law of Peace, which is the constitution of the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois Confederacy).

Holy Communion
A ceremony that recalls Jesus Christ’s words and actions at the Last Supper. It represents God’s forgiveness of sinners. Also called the Lord’s Supper.

Holy Orders
This is the sacrament by which men chosen by the Church become special ministers of God’s word and sacraments.

Anthropologists use this term to describe the traditional way in which the Native peoples of the Northeast identified territories. Rather than living within permanent village sites or fixed territorial boundaries, Algonkian peoples use a variety of sites within a large area. For both Algonkian and Iroquoian peoples, homelands include all of the homesites, hunting territories, fishing places, planting grounds, burial places, spritual sites regularly or seasonally used by a Native people. Different homelands may, in some areas, be shared or overlap.

Hoosic, a Mohican word apparently meaning “rock place,” is applied to both a mountain in the Berkshires and a village place east of the Hudson River. The village site is where Metacom and a large number of warriors from Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Connecticut River valley tribes wintered over during King Philip’s War in 1675-1676.

The Algonkian word Housatonic, also spelled Housatunnock or Aussatinnoag, meaning “ a place beyond the mountain” has been applied to a river running through western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut and a band of Mohican Indians. The Housatonic Mohican people of Wnahktukuk or Wahnahticook formed the core population of the 1734 mission village that came to be called Stockbridge. Culturally and linguistically, they were eastern Algonkian. Politically, they shifted alliances between their Iroquois and Algonkian neighbors.

Huguenot was the name given to Protestants of France in the mid-16th century. Between 1562 and 1598 eight wars were fought between the Huguenots and French Catholics. Peace came with the Edict of Nantes, which was instituted in 1598 and gave equal rights to Catholics and Protestants in France. In 1685, King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and French persecution drove up to one million Huguenots out of France. Many settled in England, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as the English colonies, however, Huguenots were prohibited from settling in New France.

Huron is the name the French called the Wendats, a confederacy of northern Iroquoian people whose homeland is a peninsula in Georgian Bay of Lake Huron in present-day Ontario, Canada. The Wendats, meaning "island (or peninsula) dwellers," are also known as Wyandots. The Wendats (Huron) who joined the 1704 raid on Deerfield, were a group much reduced by epidemic and war with the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois Confederacy), who had moved from their homeland of Wendake to the mission village of Lorette near Quebec City. The Wendats (Huron) continue to live in the Quebec, Canada, town of Lorette, now called Wendake, and on reservations in Oklahoma, in the United States.

In the room of
In place of. English colonial writers like Stephen and John Williams use "in the room of" or "in their room" where modern writers would use "in place of" or "in their place." For example, Stephen Williams writes: "There my master took away my English shoes and gave me Indian ones in the room of them."

Increase Mather
1639-1723. Prominent Puritan minister; pastor of the Second Church of Boston (largest in British North America); president of Harvard College; uncle of Eunice Mather Williams.

Indentured Servant
An indentured servant is a person bound by a contract to work for another for a given period of time.

Indian shoes
Moccasins, as they were called by the English. The Deerfield raiders brought extra moccasins, probably shin-high winter ones, for captives to wear, as they were better for travel through the snow than English shoes.

Indigo is a blue dye originating from a plant cultivated in the southern colonies.

In New France, the intendant was the colony’s chief judicial and financial officer, and was appointed directly by the king. Part of the intendant's job was to monitor the performance of the governor-general of New France, so there was typically some tension between the governor and the intendant.

The northern Arctic people of Canada and Greenland were called Eskimo or Esquimau, “eaters of raw flesh,” by the Algonkian. They call themselves Inuit, meaning “the people.”

The collective homelands of the Rotinonsionn or Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy (Kanienkehaka, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca), which cover most of present-day upstate New York. The Tuscaroras joined in the 1720s to make it the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.

One of two major linguistic groups of Native peoples in northeastern North America. Northern Iroquoian-speaking peoples share similar cultural patterns of intensive horticulture; large, often fortified villages; and a matrilineal kinship system. The Wendat (Huron) and the Six Nations Iroquois (Kanienkehaka/Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora) are all Iroquoian in language and culture.

Iroquoian Green Corn Festival/Ceremony
The Green Corn Festival is second only to the Midwinter Festival in its importance among Rotinonsionni (Iroquois) ceremonial celebrations. Held over several days in August when the first corn is ready to eat, the Green Corn Festival honors the Corn Mother as well as the Master of Life. It is a time for giving names: to babies born since the Midwinter Festival, to children ready for adult names, and to adults adopting new names for various reasons.

Iroquois - word origin
The words Iroquois and Iroquoian are used by anthropologists to refer to a large group of Native peoples including the Wendat (Huron) and the members of the Six Nations Confederacy. The word Iroquois is the European pronunciation of the Algonkian term irnokue or irokue, meaning “terrible man.” In 1609, explorer Samuel de Champlain asked his Algonkian allies who the Native people living in present-day New York state were. He was told they were “Irokue.” Also see Iroquois and Iroquoian.

Iroquois of the Mountain
Iroquois of the Mountain is the term given to the Native peoples living at Sault-au-Récollet and La Montagne at the time of the 1704 Deerfield raid. At the time, these communities were comprised of individuals from the nations of the Iroquois Confederacy as well as Wendat and some Algonkian peoples. These villages relocated after 1720 to the Lake of Two Mountains and eventually became the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) community of Kanesatake.

A member of the religious male order of the Society of Jesus of the Roman Catholic Church. Founded in 1534, the order’s Latin motto is Ad majorem Dei gloriam (“to the greater glory of God”.) The primary mission of the Jesuits was (and is) to spread the Roman Catholic church though preaching and education in particular. Jesuit missionaries were among the earliest Europeans seeking to convert Native Americans to Christianity. The Jesuit Relations of the 1600s record these efforts as well as individual Jesuits’ observations of the Native people among whom they lived. Their ability to speak Native languages made Jesuits valuable and influential players in diplomatic relations between the French government and Native peoples.

John A. Gibson (1849-1912)
John A. Gibson was a Condoled Seneca chief, and an accomplished Onondaga speaker. He was a member of the Committee of Chiefs in Ohsweken on the Grand River (west of Toronto) that drafted an English version of the Great Law in 1900, and published it in Canada a few years later. It was published again in the U.S., along with that of Seth Newhouse (Mohawk), by Arthur C. Parker (Seneca) in 1912. Gibson was not satisfied with either version and worked on a much longer one in Onondaga which finally got translated and published, eighty years after his death, in 1992. A gifted Rotinonsionni (Iroquois) ritualist and intellectual, Gibson also dictated the longest written version of the Rotinonsionni creation story which also was published in both Onondaga and English in 1928 by J. N. B. Hewitt (Tuscarora).

John Calvin
1509-64. French Protestant theologian of the Reformation.

John Eliot
John Eliot (1604-90) was an English Puritan who emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631. Eliot studied the Boston-area Natives' Algonkian language in order to preach to them. He translated the Bible into Algonkian and established villages for Christianized Natives.

A woodworker who builds timber-framed houses, interior paneling, and furniture using the mortise-and-tenon method of joining boards together (as different from a “cabinetmaker” who uses thinner boards and dovetailed construction.)

Justification By Faith Alone
The doctrine that God as a demonstration of love and mercy grants salvation to certain individuals by unconditionally offering them His saving grace. No one is saved by his or her own merit, because all lack merit, and no one can earn salvation; only God can grant it.

A - C | D - J |K - M | N - P | Q - S | T - Z


A number of Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) and other Iroquois and their adopted kin left their villages in the heart of Iroquoia during the 1660s to reassert the northern boundary of their homeland on the south banks of the St. Lawrence River. The possibility of better trade opportunities with the French in Montreal and the influence of Jesuits, who persuaded a number of their converts to live in territory claimed by New France, also encouraged these Iroquois to relocate along the St. Lawrence. Although Kahnawake had a nationally diverse population in its early years, the community eventually took on a wholly Kanienkehaka character. Kahnawake means "by the rapids;" the rapids are presently a short distance down river. See Also: Maps > The Northeast

The Kanienkeha term for people from Kahnawake, a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) community on the St. Lawrence River.

Kahswentha (also known as the "Two Row Wampum") represents an agreement with the Europeans, originally made between the Kanienkehaka (Mohawks) and the Dutch in the first half of the 1600s to establish friendship, peace and respect for one another's way of life. Kahswentha is a white wampum bead background, which represents a river. Two parallel rows of purple wampum beads spans the length of the belt and represents two vessels traveling on the river. In one vessel is the Kanienkehaka and the other the Dutch. In each vessel are the laws, traditions, languages and spiritual beliefs of each nation. It is the responsibility of the people in each vessel to steer a straight course so as not to interfere with the other.

The Great Law of the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois Confederacy). It is the great message of peace, power and righteousness brought to the people by Tekanawita, "the Peacemaker," with the help of Haionwatha. It established the Confederacy and its traditions, ending a period of chronic fighting among the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois). It provided for a political, social and spiritual framework along with the rights and duties of the chiefs, clans, and nations. The longest version in written form was dictated in Onondaga by John A. Gibson, and finally translated and published in parallel Onondaga and English in 1992.

Eunice Williams's Kanienkehaka name, which means "she brings in corn."

Kanesatake is a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) community at the juncture of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers. Settled by 1721, it originally drew its mixed population of Iroquois, Wendat (Huron) and Algonkian origin, from the former communities of Sault au Récollet and La Montagne (1671-1705) on the island of Montreal, with a Catholic mission maintained by the Sulpicians. By the early nineteenth century it became predominantly Kanienkehaka. Kanesatake means, "on the sandy dunes."

Kanienkeh is the traditional homeland of the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk). It is Kanienkeha (Mohawk language) for "Land of the Flint." Kanienkeh encompasses nine million acres. On the north, the territory is bound by the St. Lawrence River Valley. The eastern border is the Richilieu River, Lake Champlain, Hudson River waterway. To the south, the natural border is the Mohawk River Valley. To the west, Kanienkeh borders the territory of the Oneida. See: Maps > Kanienkehaka Homeland

Kanienkeha is the name of the language of the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) people.

The Kanienkehaka, which means "People of the Flint," are culturally an Iroquoian people who are commonly known as Mohawk. The Kanienkehaka are the "Keepers of the Eastern Door" of the Rotinonsionni (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) which includes the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. The Kanienkehaka who participated in the 1704 raid on Deerfield were from Kahnawake, La Montagne, and Sault-au-Récollet (present-day Kanesatake), villages on the St. Lawrence River at the northern edge of their homeland that were founded by people who moved from the Mohawk Valley beginning in the 1670s. Today, eight communities including Kahnawake and Kanesatake make up the Kanienkehaka nation.

King Philip
Metacom, or "King Philip" as he was known to the English, was a son of Massasoit. King Philip's War (1675-1676) was a tragic event in Native American/Colonial relations. It killed an estimated eight hundred English and dozens of towns were destroyed and abandoned. The Indians of Southern New England fared even worse; over three thousand died out of an estimated population of twenty thousand. Hundreds more who did not flee to the north and west were captured and sold into slavery, including Philip's own wife and son.

La Montagne
Founded in 1671, La Montagne was a Sulpician mission on Montreal Island serving a community of roughly 200 Iroquois (Kanienkehaka, Huron and others) as well as a small number of Wôbanaki peoples including Pocumtucks. By 1705, the Sulpicians had persuaded the last of the residents of La Montagne to relocate to the mission at Sault-au-Récollet. See Also: Maps > The Northeast

Lacrosse or Tewaarathon is an Iroquois game with religious significance, given to the Iroquois by the Creator, in which teams vie to throw a hard wound, deer hair ball that is covered by deerskin and sewn with sinew through a goal. The ball is carried, caught, and thrown in a triangular net pouch at the end of a long-handled stick. Traditionally, players fasted, bathed, and purged themselves before games. It was played during seasonal celebrations and also to augment medicinal power in times of sickness.

Iroquois multi-family dwellings: 20 to 25 feet wide, 15 to 20 feet high, and 50 to 200 feet long. They were framed with upright logs set into the ground and tied with cross-poles, with a roof of saplings bent across the center and shingled with elm-bark. Inside, there was a central hall with three to five firepits down the middle and compartments on either side. The compartments were platforms raised about a foot off the ground, open to the central fire but walled off from the next compartment by bark partition walls or closets, with a storage shelf above.

Longhouse family
The most important family unit in Iroquoian societies, the longhouse family is an extended family headed by a matron that includes everyone born in her longhouse. Iroquois society is matrilocal, so boys born in one longhouse move to their wife's longhouse when they marry, but remain part of their mother's longhouse family all their lives. Daughters continue to live in their mother's longhouse when they marry, and their children belong to her longhouse family and inherit her clan.

Lord's Supper
A ceremony that recalls Christ’s words and actions at the Last Supper. It represents God’s forgiveness of sinners. Also called Holy Communion.

Following the destruction of the Wendat Confederacy in 1649, about 300 Wendats, with close ties to Jesuit priests, took refuge near their French allies outside Quebec City. After relocating several times, in 1697 they settled the village of Lorette eight miles outside of Quebec near the Kabir Kouba falls of the Akiawenrak River. In 1986, the people of Lorette changed their community’s name to Wendake to commemorate their homeland on the Georgian Bay. See Also: Maps > The Northeast; and Maps > Wendat Homeland

During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the French in Canada used the term Loups, meaning “wolves,” for several different Native Nations. It was sometimes used to describe the Mohegan people, since their tribal name translated to mean “wolf people.” More confusingly, the name Loup was also applied to Native people who had relocated from the Connecticut River Valley to Canada, since, from the French perspective, they were roaming like wolves. Father Mathevet recorded the language of Pocumtuck people living in a French mission in the 1740s and called it “Mots Loups” meaning “wolf words.”

Lying In
A 17th/18th-century expression for labor, childbirth, and recovery from childbirth.

Macqua is a variant of "Mohawk." English settlers erroneously called Kanienkehaka (Mohawk), Wendat (Huron), and other Iroquoian peoples living in the St. Lawrence River Valley, "Maquas."

The Algonkian word Maguak translates to “man-eater.” Like Iroquois, it is a term taught to Europeans by the Algonkian people to describe their enemies in present-day New York state. In English hearing, Maguak shifted to Mohawk. The people we call Mohawk prefer to call themselves by their own name, Kahnienkehaka, meaning “people of the flint.”

Maidenhair Fern
Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedantum) or "capillaire" was used as a remedy by 18th-century doctors and pharmacists. Natives in New France gathered and sold it for export to France.

Major Richard Waldron
In July of 1676, Major Richard Waldron negotiated a peace treaty at Cocheco with Pennacook, Pawtucket, Pequawket peoples. Although he had agreed to grant amnesty to Natives who had fought in King Philip’s War, Waldron seized 200 of the Native people at the meeting and sold them into slavery in Barbados. In 1689, a Pennacook war party killed Waldron and sacked his house at Dover. Waldron’s treachery inspired the Pennacook’s distrust of the English that led to their participation in the 1704 raid on Deerfield.

Maliseet (Malecite)
The Maliseet (also spelled Malecite) people live in the northern region of present-day Maine, southern New Brunswick and parts of Quebec. They are one of the four tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy situated in Maine. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian and eastern Abenaki or Wôbanaki. They had early contact with Basque, Breton and Portuguese fishermen, and began trading with the French at Tadoussac in 1603. Samuel de Champlain identified them as Etchemin.

Manumit means to emancipate or free from slavery or bondage.

In this ceremony a man and women promise themselves to each other for life and in return receive God’s help to be faithful to the duties of marriage and family life.

The Algonkian word Mashantucket refers to a “place of many trees,” in present-day New London County, Connecticut, and is also the name of one of the sub-tribes of the Pequot. The Mashantucket Pequot had a fortified village on the Mystic River that was attacked by a combined force of English and Mohegan in 1637.

Massasoit, a Wampanoag word meaning “great chief,” was one of the leading sachems of the Wampanoag people during the early 1600s. His given name was Osemaquin, meaning “yellow feather.” He negotiated a peace treaty in 1621 with the English colonists at Plymouth, but was unable to stop English encroachments on Native lands. His first son, Wamsutta (Alexander) was poisoned by the English. His second son Metacom (Philip) organized the Native uprising called “Metacom’s Rebellion” or “King Philip’s War.”

In matrilineal societies, descent and inheritance are determined by the woman's line. Many Native peoples also inherit their clan identity through their mother. Among Iroquoian peoples, a couple's children are born into their mother's clan and belong to their mother's family longhouse. Among Algonkian peoples, descent and clan identity may be traced matrilineally and/or patrilineally, or may be changed by adoption.

In matrilocal societies, residence is determined by the woman's line. In traditional Iroquoian societies, husbands lived in their wife's family longhouse. Algonkian societies may be matrilocal during planting times, shift to patrilocal during hunting times, or shift back and forth between several places of residence.

An elder woman. In Iroquois societies, such women head their longhouses and choose chiefs and/or council representatives from their clan segments.

Metacom was the son of Massasoit, the Wampanoag sachem who aided the English settlers at Plimoth in the 1620s. Metacom, known as “King Philip” to the English, succeeded his father as sachem following Massasoit’s death. By the second half of the seventeenth century, English expansion and related injustices severely strained English/Native relations in the region. In response, Metacom organized allied Native nations in a bloody and desperate attempt to reclaim Native peoples’ land and way of life.

Metacom’s War [King Philip's War]
After decades of English expansion into Native homelands in present day southern New England, a coalition of Native groups including Wampanoag, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Massachusett, Pocumtuck, Nonotuck, and Sokoki banded together in an effort to drive the English out of the northeast and back to England. An estimated 5,000 Native people and 2,500 English lost their lives during Metacom’s War, also known as King Philip’s War (June 1675 - August 1676).

Mi'kmaq (Micmac)
The Mi'kmaq (Micmac) are Wôbanaki peoples whose traditional homelands are spread across present-day Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and parts of northern Maine. Most of these bands have been members of the Wabanaki Confederacy at different points in time. Today, many Canadian bands are united under the Atlantic Council of Chiefs. The Aroostook Mi'kmaq of Maine are the only band of Mi’kmaq recognized in the United States. Culturally and linguistically, they are all eastern Algonkian.

Middle Passage
The Middle Passage was the second leg of the infamous triangle trade that brought enslaved Africans to the Americas. Most of the slave trade journeys originated in Europe. Ships brought European goods -- cloth, brandy, guns, iron -- to West Africa, where the goods were exchanged for Africans. Enslaved Africans were brought to the Americas in the most inhumane conditions imaginable, hundreds of them chained and crammed together in the filthy holds of the ships. In North and South America and the Caribbean, the human cargo was exchanged for sugar, tobacco, and the like, which was then brought to Europe on the third leg of the triangle.

Midwinter Festival/Ceremony
A week-long New Year festival, the most important of the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois) year, held just after the midwinter new moon. A significant part of the festival is the Dream Ritual, in which people in opposite moieties (clan groupings) guess each other's dreams. The festival centers around the renewal of life and thanksgiving, with dances, song, feasts, and games.

A military body composed of civilians rather than soldiers. In both New France and New England, all adult males between the ages of 16 and 60 were expected to be part of the militia. Militia were called up periodically during time of war, both in response to threatened attacks and to launch attacks. Militiamen from surrounding communities were garrisoned in Deerfield at the time of the attack in 1704, and French militiamen were among the French attackers.

A missionary is one who is sent on a mission, especially to do religious or charitable work in a territory or foreign country.

Missisquoi or Mazipskoik translates to “place of the flint.” It refers to the Wôbanakiak or Abenaki living on the eastern side of Lake Champlain, at some of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in present-day Vermont. The Missisquoi absorbed some Pocumtuck, Sokoki and Woronoco refugees during the 1700s, and often traveled back and forth to Odanak. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians.

The word mocassin, referring to a soft shoe made of leather that wraps about the foot, comes from the Algonkian word m’kassin, which literally translates to mean “somebody's shoe covering.”

The Iroquoian people commonly known as Mohawk are called "Kanienkehaka" in their language, which means "People of the Flint." The latter has become a preferred term since the appellation Mohawk, adopted by the Europeans, comes with pejorative meanings from historic Algonkian enemies. The Kanienkehaka are the "Keepers of the Eastern Door" of the Rotinonsionni (Iroquois Confederacy) which includes the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. The Kanienkehaka who participated in the 1704 raid on Deerfield were from Kahnawake, La Montagne, and Sault-au-Récollet (present-day Kanesatake), villages on the St. Lawrence River at the northern edge of their homeland that were founded by people who moved from the Mohawk Valley beginning in the 1670s. Today, eight communities including Kahnawake and Kanesatake make up the Kanienkehaka nation.

Mohawk-Mohican War
The Mohawk-Mohican war was a long series of struggles and shifting alliances over access to the Dutch trade in the Hudson River valley. Between 1609 and 1624, the Mohican controlled access to the Dutch traders and forced their Kanienkehaka Mohawk neighbors to pay tribute. The power dynamic changed after the Mohawk, with the aid of Dutch guns and French allies, attacked the Mohican in 1624. The Mohican were forced to vacate the lands west of the Hudson River, and pay tribute to the Mohawk. In 1662, the Mohican were again attacked by the Mohawk, and in 1663, the Mahican joined with the Sokoki in striking back. Despite peace treaties brokered by the English in 1666, Mohican and Mohawk battles continued. After 1669, Mohawk threats drove many Mohican to relocate from the Hudson to the Housatonic River.

The name Mohegan, meaning “wolf people,” refers to the Native people who, in the 1630s, left the Pequot tribe to follow the sachem Uncas. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians. Throughout the 17th century, they were enemies of the Connecticut River valley Indians and allies of the English. Present-day Mohegan homelands are on the west side of the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut.

The name Mohican (also known as Mahican) comes from the word “Muhheakunneuw” and plural “Muhhekunneyuk.” The Native people known as the Mohican originally inhabited the Hudson River valley in New York and the region west of the Berkshire Mountains. They later became known as Stockbridge Mohican, an English place name for the Indian mission village established in 1734 at a place the Mohican people called Wnahktukuk, in present-day Stockbridge in western Massachusetts. In the 19th century many of the Stockbridge Mohican tribe moved west to Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians.

Literally, moiety means half, or one of two equal parts. In Iroquois societies, clans stand in a moiety (opposite) relationship to other clans or groups of clans for purposes of councils, ceremonies, and games. For example, among the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk), who have three clans, the Turtle and Wolf clans sometimes group together as "brothers" for certain games and ceremonies, forming one moiety, and face the Bear clan as their "cousins" or opposite moiety.

The name Montagnais was the name coined by the French for the Innu people whose homeland lies around the Labrador peninsula. Culturally and linguistically, they are Central Algonkian.

The term Montauk refers to a fort or high place, and is used to identify the Native peoples of present-day eastern Long Island. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians. In the 17th century, they produced vast quantities of wampum or shell beads to supply both trade and tribute to their Native neighbors.

Founded in 1642 as the settlement of Ville Marie on the St. Lawrence River in New France, Montreal had grown by 1700 into a small colonial town of just over 1,000 inhabitants. Montreal was a hub of the French fur trade during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Mourning War
A mourning war was a cultural practice of many Iroquoian peoples by which raids were undertaken to seize captives. These captives were often adopted into the captor's community to console grieving families by replacing family members who perished in war or from disease.

The original homelands of the Native people known as the Munsee are in present-day northern New Jersey and southeastern New York state, around the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian. Along with the Unami, they are part of the larger group known as Delaware or Lenape. In the 19th century, the Munsee moved west and folded into the population of Stockbridge Mohican people in Wisconsin.

A - C | D - J |K - M | N - P | Q - S | T - Z


Naming ceremony
In Iroquoian societies, babies are given names in a ceremony that is part of the Midwinter and Green Corn Festivals, as are children ready for adult names and captives being adopted. A pool of names belongs to each clan; when someone dies or gives up a name, it goes back into the pool to be given to another.

The word Narragansett comes from an Algonkian word meaning “at the small or narrow point.” Traditional Narragansett homelands include present-day Rhode Island and parts of southern Massachusetts. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians. Through most of the 17th century, they were allied with the Pocumtuck against the Mohegan. In 1675-76, they joined with the Wampanoag and Nipmuc in Metacom’s Rebellion or King Philip’s War.

Natick was one of several praying villages established in the 1660s by the English missionary John Eliot in Nipmuc homelands. It was originally called Nonantum “the place of rejoicing,” and lies in the present-day town of Newton, Massachusetts. English settlers in nearby Dedham, who had a title to the same land, demanded that the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony give them land elsewhere. In 1665, the Dedham settlers were given a grant of Pocumtuck land in present-day Deerfield, in exchanged for the land they lost to the Christian Nipmuc village of Natick.

Native homelands
The distinctive territory within which a particular group of Native people sets up homes and gathering places, lives, plants, hunts and moves about seasonally. Also see "Homelands Model."

Natural Rights Argument
The natural rights argument is the assertion that all human beings are endowed at birth with certain fundamental rights including personal liberty.

Naval Stores
Naval stores are products such as tar, pitch, and turpentine obtained from the resin of pine trees.

The Wôbanaki word Ndakinna translates to “the place where I live” and is used by Western Abenaki peoples such as the Missiquoi and Cowass and Sokoki to refer to their homeland. A related word is Gdakinna, meaning “the place where we live.”

Negro Election
An African-American tradition in colonial New England comprising a festival of music and dancing in which slaves dressed in finery borrowed from their owners and elected one of their number to be the "Negro Governor."

New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam was a major port for the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. When the Dutch colony fell to the English, New Amsterdam was renamed New York (City).

New England
The land in North America claimed by England that consists of the present day states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

New France
The French colony in North America that in 1700 consisted of the present day province of Quebec and Nova Scotia.

New Netherland
New Netherland was the Dutch colony in North America from 1613-1664, occupying lands bordering the Hudson River and later also on the lower Delaware River. Its primary trading posts were Fort Orange (Albany) and New Amsterdam (New York City). The colony fell to the English in 1665 and was renamed New York.

The term Niantic or Nehantic, meaning “at the point” refers to the Native peoples whose original homeland was in eastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians. In the 17th century, the Niantic split into two groups, with some joining the Mohegan and others joining the Narragansett.

Nine Years War (1689-1697)
The Nine Years War is also known as King William's War in the North American English colonies, and elsewhere as the War of the League of Augsburg, the War of the Grand Alliance, the Orleans War, the War of the Palatinian Succession, or the War of the English Succession. The war between the Grand Alliance and France began in 1689 and was fought (as the many names suggest) on fronts in several countries. The Grand Alliance's central players were England, the Netherlands and Spain. These countries, along with their respective colonies and Native allies, fought the French, their colonies and Native allies to halt French expansionism throughout Europe and abroad. The Treaty of Rijswijk ended the war in 1697. In North America, this war marked the first of four so-called "French and Indian Wars."

The word Nipissing, roughly translating to " at the lake," refers to the Native people whose homeland encompasses Lake Nippising, Ontario. Culturally and linguistically, they are closely related to the Great Lakes Algonkians. During the 17th century, they traded furs to the Wendat for corn, and became allies of the French.

The word Nipmuc, meaning,“fresh water,” identifies the Native peoples also known as Chaubunagungamaug, Hassanamisco and Wabbaquasset. Their homelands are in present-day central and eastern Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians.The Nipmuc around Natick joined villages of “Praying Indians” in the 1660s. In 1675-76, they joined with the Narragansett and Wampanoag in Metacom’s Rebellion or King Philip’s War.

In societies ruled by a king/queen, the noble class or nobility is a group endowed by the ruler with high status and, often, accompanying property; once granted, noble titles are hereditary. In New France, the nobility served as military officers, clergy, and officials. Most of the officers on the Deerfield raid were from families that were either noble at the time or were granted that status later.

The word Nonotuck or Norwottuck roughly translates to mean “the midpoint of the river.” Nonotuck homelands include the present-day towns of Amherst, Hadley, Hatfield and Northampton, Massachusetts. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians. The Nonotuck were closely allied with the Pocumtuck, and moved with them to Schaghticoke and points north after 1676.

A person admitted to probationary membership in a religious community; among the Jesuits, those who are being trained in the spirit and discipline of the order prior to making the religious vows.

The word Odanak, in the Wôbanaki language, indicates a village site where people are living. The Wôbanaki village most commonly called Odanak today is located on the St. Francis River, in the St. Lawrence River Valley of Quebec, Canada. In the 1660s, the Wôbanaki village at this site was called Arosikantegouk or Anosagunticook. Culturally and linguistically, the inhabitants of Odanak were eastern Algonkian Indians. In 1701, the St. Francis mission was established there. See Also: Maps > The Northeast

In Wendat belief, all things, both animate and inanimate, possess a soul or spirit. Oki are especially powerful spirits that have influence over people's lives. The sky is the most powerful oki; other examples of oki are powerful men such as shamans or exceptional warriors, and certain charms.

In the Kanienkehaka creation story, Okwiraseh (Sapling) is one of the twin grandsons of Aientsik (Mother Earth); he created human beings from clay in his image and animated them with part of his own life and powers. He charged humans to continue his work of creation by cultivating the earth and to remain thankful for his gifts.

The Oneida nation is one of the five original nations of the Iroquois Confederacy or Rotinonsionni (People of the Longhouse). The Oneida homeland lies between the Kanienkehaka and the Onondaga. The Oneidas and the Cayugas are the Younger Brothers of the Confederacy, who sit across the fire from the Elder Brothers, the Kanienkehaka (Mohawks) and the Senecas. The name Oneida is derived from Oneyoteaka, "People of the Erected Stone," a reference to a large boulder standing next to their principal town.

The Onondagas, whose homeland is in the geographical center of the Iroquois Confederacy or Rotinonsionni (People of the Longhouse), are the "Keepers of the Central Fire" of the great longhouse that symbolizes the confederacy. As such, they call meetings of the Grand Council, set agendas, and moderate the meetings.

Literally, "Big Mountain," a translation of Montmagny, the name of an early governor of New France; this became the name by which the Iroquois called all French governors. The Iroquois were following their tradition in which the name of a chief is like a title; it is inherited by each generation in a requickening ceremony when a new chief is appointed.

Oral Tradition
Oral tradition refers to a wide variety of methods by which societies preserve history and culture through verbal transmission of genealogical, geographical, historical, narrative, spiritual and other traditions and lifeways. Oral tradition is also used to transmit folklore, stories, craft traditions and other cultural lessons and beliefs, with or without writing or symbols. Among Native American Indian peoples, certain oral traditions are often the responsibility of the oldest members of the group, who pass them on to the very young.

Original Sin
According to the book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible, God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and gave them a beautiful garden in which to live forever. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of life, God expelled them from the Garden of Eden. Along with many other Protestant sects and the Roman Catholic Church, English Calvinists (sometimes referred to by their critics as “Puritans,”) believed that all people bore the sins of Adam and Eve. Unlike Roman Catholics and the established Church of England, however, Puritans believed that only a small, predestined number of people would receive God’s salvation through Jesus Christ.

The Ottawa are an Algonkian people who lived near the Wendat (Huron), on the shores of Georgian Bay in Lake Huron, at the time of first European contact; during historic times, their homeland has been the Michigan Lower Peninsula. They were great traders who traveled widely, exchanging fish, dried berries, furs, etc., with the Wendat and other Great Lakes nations.

A palisade indicates some kind of defensive fortification around a group of homes, and was used by English and Native peoples in 17th century New England. It most often refers to a 10-12 foot high wall made of closely spaced logs or wooden stakes surrounding a closely-spaced cluster of houses. Iroquoian villages started constructing palisades around traditional longhouses during a period of prolonged inter-tribal warfare. After European colonization, some Algonkian villages in New England also started constructing forts or palisades.

A parish is a local church community ministered to by a single priest.

The word "partisan" is from the French for "part" or "parties"; partisan warfare is the war of small parties, similar to guerilla war. The French explored this strategy in the late 1600s, using small independent companies on their northern borders. In New France, Natives fought in similar ways, conducting surprise raids and quick skirmishes rather than having large armies face off against one another.

The Passamaquoddy people, in the north coastal region of present-day Maine, are one of the four tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy situated in Maine. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian and eastern Abenaki or Wôbanaki. Their territory encompasses the Machias, St. Croix, and Magaguadavic Rivers, with long-occupied villages at Indian Township, Peter Dana Point and Pleasant Point.

In patrilineal societies, descent and inheritance are determined by the man's line. Most Western European and American societies followed religious traditions that originated in the middle east, such as Christianity, in tracing inheritance and descent through the father's line. Judaism, however, determines cultural identity through the mother's line

In patrilocal societies, residence is determined by the man's line. Many Algonkian societies use both patrilocal and matrilocal residence. In colonial European and American societies, land and property were owned or controlled almost exclusively by men.

Paugusset is an Algonkian word which roughly translates to indicate a “place where forks in a river join.” The Native people known as Paugusset are situated in southwestern Connecticut where the Housatonic River empties into present-day Long Island Sound. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian.

A gambling game played with cowrie shells, which probably derives from an African divination tradition such as that practiced by the Igbo people. Cowrie shells were shaken and thrown down, landing with their openings up or down; evens won the throw. The game was popular among blacks and whites alike in New England port cities through the 18th and mid-19th centuries.

The Algonkian word Pawtucket means the “little falls,” describing a place at the bend in the river Merrimack, between the White mountains and ocean. Pawtucket homelands are along the Merrimack, in present-day northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian and eastern Abenaki or Wôbanaki. They were close neighbors and diplomatic allies of the Pennacook.

The word Pemawatchuwatunck means “long twisting mountain,” and describes the mountain range known today as the Pocumtuck Range, which lies alongside the Connecticut River to the east of present day Deerfield, and South Deerfield, Massachusetts.

The Wôbanaki word Pemigewasset, meaning “extensive rapids,” is the name of a river in present-day Grafton County, New Hampshire. Wattanummon was camped at this river when he was killed by Englishmen in 1712.

During this sacrament, also known as confession, a person confesses his or her sins to the priest, expresses sorrow for having sinned, promises not to sin again, and in return is forgiven by the priest in God’s name.

The term "Pennacook" or "Penôkoiak" from "Bagunticook," means "butter-nut tree place." The homelands of the Native people known as Pennacook are in present-day central and southern New Hampshire. They are closely tied to the Western Wôbanakiak (Abenaki) peoples. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians.

The Penobscot people, in south, central and coastal regions of present-day Maine, are one of the four tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy situated in Maine. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian and eastern Wôbanaki or Abenaki. Their territory encompasses the Penobscot, Picataquis and Union Rivers, with a long-standing village at Old Town. They were among the earliest tribes to encounter European traders and French missionaries in the early 1600s.

The Pequawket homelands are situated in eastern New Hampshire and western Maine, along the Saco River and south of Kennebec and Androscoggin territory. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian and eastern Wôbanaki or Abenaki. During the late 1600s, they were close diplomatic partners and allies of the Pennacook, and among the founding populations of Odanak. A 1703 English attack on Pequawket inspired Wattanummon to ask the French for aid in attacking the English settlements.

The term Pequot is sometimes translated as “destroyer.” In the 1630s, the Native people known as Pequot split into two tribes, the “fox people” (Pequot) and the “wolf people” (Mohegan). Present-day Pequot homelands are on the east side of the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians.

The place name Peskeompskut indicates the "split rock at the falls," a traditional fishing encampment on the Connecticut River where Pocumtuck and Sokoki homelands overlapped. Native peoples from several nations traditionally gathered to trade and fish at the annual salmon and shad runs. For Native people, Peskeompskut, like other communal fishing places, was considered a safe zone that people could retreat to in emergencies.

Ankle-length skirts worn by 17th- and 18th-century English women and young children of both sexes. Usually made of wool or linen. In colder weather, people often wore wear several layers of petticoats at a time.

Pine Hill
Pine Hill is a small hill formed from glacial till left after the Wisconsin glaciation drained from the middle Connecticut River valley. It sits as a prominent landmark just to the north of Deerfield. In 1704, it was a gathering place for the French and their allies just before and after the raid on Deerfield.

Plains Algonkians
The term Plains Algonkian or Algonquian refers to those Native peoples in the north-central Plains, such as the Blackfoot or Blackfeet, who are linguistically similar to the Algonkian peoples of New England and Canada.

In the early 18th century, pockets were not integrated into women's clothes. Pockets were separate items attached to strings that tied around the waist. They were worn under gowns and petticoats, which had slits that allowed for access to them. Pockets carried and concealed personal or valuable items.

The word Pocumtuck or Pocumpetook, meaning “swift, shallow, sandy river,” is the original name for the river now known as the Deerfield. The homelands of the Native people known as Pocumtuck include present-day Deerfield and Greenfield, Massachusetts. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians. During the late 17th and early 18th century, many of them relocated to Schaghticoke and northern Wôbanaki communities.

The Algonkian word Podunk indicates a boggy place where one “sinks in.” As a tribal name, it refers to the Native homelands just north of present-day Hartford, Connecticut and south of Agawam homelands in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Podunk were sometimes allies of the Pocumtuck. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian.

A derogatory term used by early Protestants to describe the religious practices of Roman Catholics. Protestants, including those living in Deerfield considered sinful the Roman Catholic belief in the infallibility of the Pope and other rituals of the church, including the mass. Protestants believed they were ‘purifying’ their own church by purging these elements from their religious practices and beliefs. The people living in Deerfield in 1704 were strongly Protestant and thus were especially hostile to the Roman Catholic faith.

Post Nati
Post nati is a Latin term meaning "after birth."

Praying Indians
During the 1660s, central and southern New England Algonkian peoples who adopted Christianity were called, by their English neighbors, Praying Indians. The term was also used for Wôbankiak in northern New England and Canada who converted to the Catholic faith. During the late 18th and 19th century, the Christian Brothertown Indians were also sometimes called Praying Indians.

Praying Villages
Some Christian Indians in New England relocated to praying villages, which were organized like English villages. The English minister John Eliot set up a number of praying villages for Nipmuc, Massachusetts, Pawtucket and Pennacook peoples in the 1660s. Other praying Indian villages were founded among the Wampanoag on Martha’s Vineyard. Praying Indians built private homes, set aside town commons for grazing, and, for the most part, gave up seasonal travel. During King Philip’s War, many Christian Native peoples were forcibly removed by the English to an internment camp on Deer Island, where many died, and their land was claimed by English settlers.

The doctrine that God, because of his knowledge of all events that will happen, infallibly chooses those who are destined for salvation.

Priesthood of All Believers
The belief that each individual stood in a direct relationship with God in the matter of salvation and needed no mediator such as a priest. The belief empowered the laity, while undercutting the sacerdotal claims of the clergy and justifications for clerical hierarchies.

From the word ‘protest’, Protestants are Christians who initially sought to reform, but who by the 1500s began to deny the ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants rejected the doctrine that the Pope was the divinely-appointed and infallible earthly head of the Christian church. They also rejected the authority of priests to forgive sins, believing God alone held this power. Protestants in general elevated the authority of the Bible above that of individual priests and other clerics. Members of the Protestant sects who settled in New England were in general a ‘hotter sort of Protestant,’ devoted to purging their faith practices and rituals they believed inappropriate or sinful. Such people earned the derisive term Puritans from less fervent contemporaries.

The practices and beliefs of English Protestants dedicated to ‘purifying’ the Protestant Church of England. Puritanism was the English manifestation of the stern and unyielding theology of John Calvin, including the belief that all humans were totally depraved from birth. Several other tenets of Puritanism flowed from this fundamentally pessimistic view of human nature. Puritanism taught that spiritual salvation was not universal. Those chosen by God were powerless to choose or reject salvation that was permanent as well as irresistible. Together, these Calvinist assumptions fostered "predestination," the belief that God has already determined who will be saved and everything that happens in this world. Critics of this form of Protestantism labeled its English followers “Puritans.”

A - C | D - J |K - M | N - P | Q - S | T - Z


The Wôbanakiak term for the Native village that is now Brookfield, Massachusetts.

The Algonkian word Quinneticook translates to “long tidal river.” English speakers changed the word to its present day spelling of Connecticut.

The Algonkian word Quinnipiac, from quinnupinuhk, meaning “where we change our path,” describes both the region around the mouth of the Quinneticook (Connecticut River) and the Native people whose homeland includes present-day New Haven, Connecticut. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian.

A 16th-century movement in western Europe that aimed at reforming some doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the establishment of Protestant churches.

River Indians
The term "River Indians," during the 17th century, could mean any one of several different Native Nations. In New York, it meant the Mohican and Wappinger living on the Hudson River. In Massachusetts, it referred to the Connecticut River valley peoples, particularly the Pocumtuck. In Connecticut, it referred to the Mohegan and Pequot loving on either side of the Thames River. It was also sometimes used to describe former New England Indians living near the French in villages on the St. Lawrence.

Five Native nations comprised the Rotinonsionni, which is the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) word for Haudenosaunee, and also known as the Five Nation Iroquois Confederacy. The nations of the Confederacy are, from east to west, the Kanienkehaka, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth nation, the Tuscarora, joined the League in the early eighteenth century, making it the Six Nations Confederacy.

The Algonkian words sachem and sagamore refer to a person who is a leader, family head, captain, or chief. Sagamore, sachem, sachim, and sangman are all variants that come from the verb sonkhau, meaning “to rise above” or “to lead.”

Saint Lawrence Iroquois
There is still some debate among archeologists and historians about the identity of the Native people who inhabited the St. Lawrence valley before Europeans arrived. The term St. Lawrence Iroquois is now used to describe the Iroquoian people who inhabited villages such as Hochelaga (present-day Montreal) during the 1500s.

The Sault-au-Récollet was a mission village on the north side of Montreal Island, where the Sulpicians procured land to move the diverse Iroquois community of La Montagne away from the corrupting influences of canadien society. The first Iroquois arrived in the Sault-au-Récollet in 1696, and all had left the mission at La Montagne by 1705. See Also: Maps > The Northeast

In 1676, Governor Edmond Andros of New York set aside the village called Schaghticoke, east of the Hudson River, near the mouth of the Hoosic River, for Native refugees from the Connecticut River valley. The village was in Mohican territory, under the protection of the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) of New York state. During the late 17th century, many Agawam, Nonotuck, Pocumtuck, Sokoki and Woronoco people circulated between Schaghticoke and northern Wôbanaki villages. By 1763, most Native families had left Schaghticoke and it became an English town.

Schaghticoke Indians
During the 17th century, the term Schaghticoke Indians could mean any of several different groups of Native peoples. It could mean the Schaghticoke tribe of northwestern Connecticut. It could also mean the village of Schaghticoke on the Hoosic River at two different time periods: the Mohican village before 1676, or the refugee village after 1676. Between 1676 and 1763, many Connecticut River valley Indians living temporarily at Schaghticoke were called “Schaghticoke Indians” in colonial records. This website primarily refers to this latter group of Schaghticoke people.

Schaghticoke Tribe
The name Schaghticoke comes from the Algonkian word Pishgoch-ti-goch, meaning “where the waters meet.” The homelands of the tribe originally known as Schaghticoke are in the northwest corner of Connecticut, around the Housatonic River. A number of Potatuck, Podunk, and Tunxis people are included among the Schaghticoke. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians.

A seigneur is a landlord, an owner of land (a seigneury) granted by the king. In New France, seigneurs were members of the nobility, prominent men who were not nobles, and church institutions. Seigneurs in New France rented their lands to settlers, but unlike their counterparts in medieval Europe, did not have political power over the people who worked their land.

Grants of land given by the French crown to individuals or corporations that as landlords of the grant could collect rents and fees from those who settled on the land.

The Senecas are the westernmost nation of the Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy or Rotinonsionni (People of the Longhouse). The Confederacy is envisioned as a great longhouse, and the Seneca are "Keepers of the Western Door."

Seven Fires Confederacy
This confederacy was a loose political organization of Algonkian and Iroquoian groups living along the St. Lawrence River who had diplomatic relationships with each other and who were allied to the French. These Nations were also allies of the Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy in New York state, but were not politically part of the Iroquois. The Seven Fires Confederacy included the Wendat (Huron) at Wendake, the Nipissing, and the St. Francis Wôbanakiak (Abenaki), along with the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) at Kanesetake, Kahnawake, and Akwesasne, and the Onondaga of Oswegatchie. It became more formalized following the English conquest of New France in 1760. This confederacy is also known as the "Seven Nations."

An undergarment, similar to a long shirt or nightgown, that was first layer of clothing worn by 17th/18th-century English women, girls, and very young boys. Shifts were below-knee length, usually made of white linen and gathered with a drawstring at the neck and sleeves. For day wear, shifts were covered by petticoats and gowns; at night, they functioned as nightgowns.

In 17th/18th-century English and colonial wear, shirts were the first layer of clothing for men and boys. Worn both as night shirts and daily garments, they were usually made of white linen, extended to below the knees, and had a slit opening with one button at the neck.

In the Iroquoian tradition, Shonkwaiatison is the one who created all the positve natural things in/on/around this place Onkwehonweh (humans) live.

An Iroquois game in which participants try to shoot an arrow through a rolling hoop.

The town of Sillery, on the St. Lawrence river, was named for Noël Brûlart de Sillery, of the Company of New France. Brûlart de Sillery set up one of the earliest Jesuit missions that attracted Wôbanaki converts, including Montagnais, Algonkin, and Kennebec. By 1676, 150 Wôbanaki people were living at Sillery, and the mission also started attracting Connecticut River valley refugees. In 1701, after Jesuit missionaries moved the mission church of Saint François de Sales from the Chaudière River, many of the Wôbanakiak at Sillery moved to Odanak or St. Francis.

Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy
Six Native nations comprise the Rotinonsionni, which is the Kanienkehaka word for Haudenosaunee, and also known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Metaphorically, the founders of the original Five Nations spoke of the people as all agreeing to live under the rafters of one great "longhouse." The members of the Confederacy are, from east to west, the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk), Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, joined by the Tuscarora nation in the 1720s.

Skamon, meaning corn, in the western Abenaki or Wôbanaki language, is one of several different words used by Algonkian peoples for this indigenous food. In the eastern Algonkian languages, weatchiminneash describes growing corn as “fruits in the field;” sohquttahhash or succotash means “broken mixed grains” of corn; yokeg is “parched and ground” corn; and nausamp is “boiled meal” of corn.

A contagious disease caused by a virus and characterized by skin eruptions. Smallpox came to North America with English and French colonists, who had developed immunities to the disease through repeated epidemic episodes in Europe. Native Americans did not have such resistance to the virus, and resulting epidemics decimated the populations of many Native nations.

An Iroquois winter game in which players throw a polished wooden rod along an icy trough, with the greatest distance winning.

The term Sokwakiak is plural for Sokoki, and refers to the southern Wôbanakiak (Abenaki) whose original homelands stretch across northern Massachusetts, southeastern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire. They formed a large part of the population of Odanak in the 1700s. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian Indians.

Spermaceti is the white crystalline waxy substance obtained from the head cavity of the sperm whale, used to make candles.

The word squash is a shortened version of the Algonkian word askutasquash. This term, indicating vegetables that can be eaten raw, was applied to cucumbers, soft melons, and summer squashes, plants that are indigenous to North America.

St. Francis
The village of St. Francis, also known as Odanak, is located on the St. Francis River, in the St. Lawrence River Valley of Quebec, Canada. In the 1660s, the Wôbanaki village at this site was called Arosikantegouk or Anosagunticook. During the late 17th century, a number of Sokoki, followed by Pocumtuck, Pennacook, Woronoco and other New England Natives, moved to Odanak. It became a Catholic village in 1701, when Jesuit missionaries moved their mission church, Saint François de Sales, from its location on the Chaudière River to Odanak. By 1704, Odanak was a sizeable Wôbanaki village, with about 400 residents representing Native communities from across northern and central New England, who still maintained ties with their homelands. Due to the large proportion of Missisquoi and Sokoki people, the Wôbanaki dialect known as Western Abenaki became the dominant language of the village. See Also: Maps > The Northeast

Standing stool
A wooden cage-like support, either square or round, for young children. Standing stools held children upright with their feet on the floor and the upper part of the stool under the arms. The standing stool served two purposes: to keep children from crawling, which was viewed in the 17th and early 18th centuries to be "animalistic," and to keep them from harming themselves by crawling into the fire or other dangers.

A stiffened piece of underclothing that wraps snugly around a girl's or woman's (and sometimes small boy's) midriff for support and fashion. They would later be called corsets.

A 10-12 foot high wall erected for the purposes of defense. The wall was usually built using closely spaced logs or wooden stakes. The close spacing of the logs in the stockade at Deerfield diminished its effectiveness as a barrier when deep snows drifted up against the wall made it easier for attackers to scale. The Englishmen who built the stockade in 1743 around the fortified village of Fort Number Four in what is today Charlestown, New Hampshire, were careful not to repeat this mistake. They made a point of spacing the individual logs farther apart.

Sulpicians are the Society of Priests of St. Sulpice founded by Jean Jacques Olier in Paris, France, in 1642 and dedicated to the teaching of seminarians.

Sumptuary laws
Sumptuary laws were designed to regulate extravagant expenditures and to prevent people of lower social status from wearing clothing made of expensive materials considered appropriate only for persons of high social status. Sumptuary laws in Massachusetts were primarily concerned with preserving social status. Certain people were entitled to wear silk; other people weren't.

The Algonkian word sunksqua combines the words sunk or sonk, meaning “elevated” and squa, meaning “woman,” to refer to a Native woman who serves as a sachem or chief. It can also indicate the wife of a chief. Traditionally, among eastern Algonkian peoples, it was common for women as well as men to serve as chiefs. Female leaders were also called, by the English, “squaw sachems.”

Sunsick, meaning “at the stony place,” is the Algonkian name for West Mountain, to the west of present-day Deerfield.

The practice of binding infants' arms and legs to their torsos with long, narrow strips of linen. English parents in the 17th and 18th centuries believed that swaddling would help ensure that their children's limbs would grow straight and strong.

A - C | D - J |K - M | N - P | Q - S | T - Z


The Tahontaenrat or Deer Nation was one of the nations in the Wendat (Huron) Confederacy. The Wendat are an Iroquoian people in language and culture whose original homeland is Wendake, near Georgian Bay of Lake Huron.

In the Wendat creation story, Tawiskaron ("Man of Flint") is one of the twin grandsons of Aataentsic (Mother Earth). The more malevolent of the twins, Tawiskaron altered Iouskeha's creations to make the world more difficult for human beings. In a fight between the two, Tawiskaron was wounded and drops of his blood turned to flint, which the Wendat used to make tools.

One of the founders of the original Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy or Rotinonsionni. Tekanawita brought the Good News of Peace and Power to the nations that joined together to form the Confederacy. Tekanawita is also known as the "Peacemaker."

Thanksgiving Address
This speech is given at the beginning and end of all Rotinonsionni (Iroquois) ceremonies. It expresses gratitude for things received, including the earth itself, rivers and lakes, plants, animals, birds, the winds, thunderers, the sun, moon, and stars, and the Creator.

In the Kanienkehaka creation story, Thawiskaron (Flint) is one of the twin grandsons of Aientsik (Mother Earth); he created features of this world that make life more difficult for humans. Thawiskaron rules the night and the lower world.

The Three Sisters
Corn, beans, and squash, the three crops that formed the basis of Iroquoian agriculture and the mainstay of their diet. Also called the "life supporters."

The Tionontati or Mountain People, called Petun by the French, are a people whose language and culture are very similar to that of the Wendats (Hurons). They lived southwest of Wendake (Huronia) near what are today Nottawasaga and Collingwood townships, Ontario, Canada. They were noted for their production of tobacco, which they traded with the Wendat. Their name is alternately spelled Khionontati.

A tithe is the tenth of one's annual income which was contributed either voluntarily or through tax for the support of the church.

The word tobacco comes from a Carib or Arawak Indian word, tabaco, the name for the smoking tube or pipe used to smoke the dried, cured leaves of this plant. The traditional variety grown by northeastern Native peoples is Nicotiana rustica, in the nightshade family. Native peoples also grew Lobelia inflata, which is commonly called Indian tobacco. The dried leaves of both plants have a stimulant effect, and are used for medical and ceremonial purposes.

Tobacco Indians
The Tionantati or Petun, an Iroquoian people in southern Canada, were called the Tobacco Indians by the French and their neighbors for the quantities of tobacco they grew and traded. After the fall of the Wendat Confederacy in 1649, many Wendat took refuge and joined the Tionantati.

Labor and childbirth. In the 17th/18th centuries, travail, which means work of a painful and laborious nature, was commonly used for the labor of childbirth. A typical usage is the following, from John Williams's Redeemed Captive: "another of my neighbors, who, being near the time of travail, was wearied with her journey."

Treaty of Ryswick
The Treaty of Ryswick (1697) ended the War of the Grand Alliance (known in the American colonies as King William's War) between England and France and acknowledged William of Orange as William III of England.

Troupes de la marine
The troupes de la marine (also known simply as the "troupes") were the regular army of the colony of New France, so named because they were under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Marine (the sea) rather than the Ministry of War. The troupes were created in the 1680s and organized into independent companies made up primarily of young enlisted men from the working classes in French cities.

A club, such as a policeman's billy club.

In the Wendat creation story, Tsetah or Iouskeha ("Man of Fire") is one of the twin grandsons of Aataentsic (Mother Earth). The more benevolent of the two, Iouskeha created an ideal world for human habitation, but his work was altered by the malevolent twin to make life more challenging. Iouskeha is identified with the sun and warfare.

The Algonkian word Tunxis, an abbreviation of tunxis sipos, meaning "fast-flowing little stream," identifies the Native people of present-day Hartford County, Connecticut, close neighbors of the Podunk and Schaghticoke. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian. They were allies of the Pocumtuck in the wars against Uncas and the Mohegans in the 1640s-50s.

In the 1620s, Uncas, a Pequot sachem, quarrelled with the sachem Sassacus over European diplomacy. Uncas favored an alliance with the English, and in 1635 his followers left the Pequot tribe, took the tribal clan name of Mohegan, meaning “wolf people,” and settled at Shantock, on the west side of the Thames River. During the 1640s-60s, Uncas was at war with the Pocumtuck, and made several raids into the Connecticut River Valley.

United Colonies
The United Colonies was a union for "mutual safety and welfare" formed in 1643 by representatives of the colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. The chief purpose of the league was coordination of defense and the settlement of boundary disputes; the internal affairs of each colony were to be left to its own management. With the revocation of the Massachusetts charter in 1684, the confederation was dissolved. This union was also known as the “New England Confederation.”

Vacuum domicilium
English theory that Native lands were vacant because they lacked fixed habitations and fenced fields. Used to justify acquisition of Native lands.

Ceremonial clothing worn by priests while conducting religious services.

Vision experience
Traditionally, many different groups of Native peoples involved adolescents in ceremonial transitions into adulthood. A vision experience or vision quest usually involved a period of solitary fasting and prayer during which a young person might encounter and receive guidance from animal spirits.

A religious act involving a vow.

Today, this term usually refers to the four federally recognized Native tribes of Maine – the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and Aroostook Mi'kmaq. Historically, the term also included other members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, such as the many bands of Mi'kmaq in eastern Canada, the Native peoples of Vermont and New Hampshire, and several bands on the St. Lawrence. Wabanaki is an adaptation of the original word Wôbanakiak, meaning "people of the dawn," or "people of the east." The original Wabanaki homelands include present-day Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, northern Massachusetts, parts of southern Canada and the Maritimes. See also: Maps > Wôbanaki Homelands

Wabanaki Confederacy
The original members of the Wabanaki Confederacy included the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and Mi'kmaq of present-day Maine, the many bands of Mi'kmaq in eastern Canada, the Missisquoi, Cowass, and Sokoki of present-day Vermont, the Pennacook and Pequawket of New Hampshire, and the St. Francis and Wolinak Abenaki on the St. Lawrence in Canada, among others. One Iroquoian band – the Kanienkehaka of Kahnawake – were also members of the Wabanaki Confederacy. See also: Maps > Wôbanaki Homelands

Wamesit, meaning "meeting place," was an eastern Abenaki or Wôbanaki village in Pawtucket territory, set aside as a praying village in the 1660s, under the guidance of the English missionary John Eliot. In 1675, soldiers from Massachusetts Bay Colony burned the village, and the Wamesit Indians relocated to Pennacook, Odanak or St. Francis, and other points north.

The term Wampanoag translates to "people of the dawn" in a coastal Algonkian dialect. The Wampanoag speak an eastern Algonkian language. Their homeland lies in present-day southeastern Massachusetts.

Wampum is a shortened version of the Algonkian word wampumpeage, meaning “white shell bead.” Traditionally, shell beads were two colors – white and dark purple, carved from periwinkles (Pyrula carica), and clams or quahaugs (Venus mercenaria). Dark purple wampum beads were called suckauhock, “black shell.” Wampum beads were used for personal adornment, trade, tribute, and ceremony. Shell beads were strung together or woven into belts that were used symbolically to mark treaties, send messages, and serve as mnemonics and marks of authority for speakers during councils and ceremonies. Wampum was also used, during the fur trade, by both Native peoples and Europeans, as a substitute for money.

The Wappinger are a group of Native peoples whose traditional homelands are in the Hudson River valley south of the Mohican. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian. They were closely allied with the Mohican, and joined with them in a military regiment during the American Revolution. After 1779, many Wappinger moved westward with the Stockbridge Mohicans.

War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713)
England and France spent much of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries struggling for control of Europe's economy and political landscape. At various points, this ongoing rivalry escalated into full-scale war. In 1700, Carlos II, the King of Spain died. Carlos named the grandson of King Louis XIV of France his heir. This action brought Spain firmly under the control of France and radically increased French power. England and its allies found Carlos II's will unacceptable and declared war on France in 1701, known as the War of Spanish Succession. The conflict quickly spread to the North American colonies, where it became known to English colonists as Queen Anne's War, after the newly crowned Queen of England. Both the French and English colonial governments called on Native American allies to join them in attacking enemy settlements. By 1713 England had gained the upper hand over France, winning both new territory and trade concessions in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713).

Wassebastecook is the Wôbanaki word for the White River, which runs west from the Connecticut River through present-day Vermont.

A fence or enclosure set in a waterway for trapping fish, which might then be speared, shot with an arrow, or caught in nets.

Wendake is the name of the Wendat Confederacy's traditional homeland on the Georgian Bay. Today, it is also the name of a Wendat community outside Quebec City, Canada, which was historically called Lorette and changed its name to Wendake in 1986. See Also: Maps > Wendat Homeland

Wendat is the name of a northern Iroquoian people whose homeland is a peninsula in Georgian Bay of Lake Huron in present-day Ontario, Canada. Also known as Wyandot or Huron, Wendat means "island (or peninsula) dwellers." The Wendat who joined the 1704 raid on Deerfield were a group much reduced by epidemic and war with the Iroquois Confederacy who had moved from their homeland of Wendake to the village of Lorette near Quebec City. The Wendat continue to live in Lorette, now called Wendake, in Quebec, Canada, and on reservations in Oklahoma in the United States.

Wendat Confederacy
The Wendat (Huron) Confederacy was made up of five nations, Iroquoian in language and culture, that lived close to one another in their homeland of Wendake, near Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. According to what the Wendats told Jesuit missionaries in 1640, the confederacy was founded in the early 1400s by the Attignawantan and Attigneenongnahac nations. The Arendahronon nation joined in 1590 and the Tahontaenrat in 1610. The Ataronchronon joined the confederacy at a later date before the dispersal of the Wendats from Wendake in 1650.

Wequamps is an Algonkian word that refers to a place where a mountain drops off suddenly. Wequamps, today known as Mt. Sugarloaf, is the southernmost elevation of the Pemawatchuwatunck or Pocumtuck Range, in present-day Deerfield. A traditional Pocumtuck story describes the mountain as the body of a giant beaver turned to stone, of which Wequamps forms the head.

Western Algonkian
Native groups in the Great Lakes area, such as Ojibway Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Winnebago, and in the Prairie east of the Mississippi River, such as the Fox, Peoria, Illinois and Miami, all of whom share a similar Algonkian-based language and culture.

Widow's Thirds
In the absence of a will drawn by the head of household to apportion his estate, the widow of the deceased was entitled, by law, to a third of the estate.

The word wigwam comes from the eastern Algonkian terms wiguomek or wetuomuck, meaning, “he is in his house or dwelling place.” As a shortened form, it means “house” and might describe any style of dwelling, whether a domed lodge, conical camp, or wood frame house.

Winter Mocassins
Winter mocassins are an Algonkian Indian shoe that might today be called a pack boot. Traditionally, they consisted of two layers that reached halfway to the knee: a thick, well-greased outer shoe of leather with an inner layer of fur. These were often made from the leg hocks of moose or caribou. During the fur trade era, the fur was sometimes replaced with blanket wool.

The word Wôbanaki is an adjective form of the word Wôbanakiak, which comes from a northern coastal dialect of Algonkian and means "place of the dawn." It refers to people or things related to that place.

Wôbanakiak translates to "people of the dawn," or "people of the east." The adjective form of this word is Wôbanaki. Culturally and linguistically, this concept applies to the eastern Algonkian Indians of northern New England and southern Canada. Although this covers a very large area, for the purposes of this website, we are using the term Wôbanakiak to refer only to the western Abenaki and Connecticut River valley Indians in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and southern Quebec (Canada). The Wôbanakiak who were impacted by the settlement of Deerfield or participated in the 1704 raid include: the Agawam, Nonotuck, Pocumtuck, Quaboag, and Woronoco of western MA; the Sokoki of MA, NH, and VT; the Cowass, and Missisquoi of VT; the Pennacook, Pequawket, and Pawtucket of NH; and the St. Francis Abenaki of Quebec. See also: Maps > Wôbanaki Homelands

The Algonkian word Woronoco or Worrinoke is a place name that indicates a river or lands that are “turning about.” The tribe called Woronoco was situated in present-day Westfield, Massachusetts, and was closely allied with the Agawam, Nonotuck and Pocumtuck. Culturally and linguistically, they are eastern Algonkian. During the 1730s, a Woronoco chief, Graylock, moved to Missisquoi, and became notorious for leading successful raids on English towns in the Connecticut River valley. His descendants, the Wawanolet and Nolet families at Odanak, take their name from his Native name, Wawanolewat, “he who turns in his track.”


top of page


About This Site   Resources   Glossary   Teachers' Guide   Site Map   How To  
© 2020 PVMA / Memorial Hall Museum