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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Native American Tribal Nation Mini- Lesson: The Wampanoag
by Corinne Rice -

For the month of November on my Instagram page, I did daily mini-lessons on some of our Tribal Nations!

Thought the month of November is over, I am continuing to post a few of those mini-lessons here, as well as some new lessons that never appeared on my Instagram. Please enjoy, I had a lot of fun researching all of these nations.

Today we get to learn about the Wampanoag Nation!

Wampanoag Nation

The Wampanoag people's traditional lands are on the North Eastern coast of the United States. The map above shows their lands in green. There are 10 nations within the Wampanoag culture. Aquinnah, Chappaquiddick, Nantucket, Nauset, Mashpee, Patuxet, Pokanoket, Pocasset, Herring Pond, and Assonet.

The Wampanoag people are fishing people!

The men often traveled north and south along the eastern coast to fish and whale hunt. Similar to the Haudenosaunee culture, the Wampanoag also incorporate the "Three Sisters" in their diets. Corn, Beans, and squash. They are also Matrilineal society, which means that the children take on the clan of their mothers, and after marriage, the men would move with his wife into her family home.

Though the communities were governed by a Sachem or "king" it was the Elder women who had final say over who would be selected to govern. If the elder women didn't approve, you didn't get the position. They also maintained the power to remove a Sachem if need be. Sachems were also not only men. Sometimes a female Sachem would be chosen over a close male relative.

One well known Sachem is Massassoit ('great chief'; proper name, Woosamequin [Wasainegin, Osamekin, etc.], 'Yellow Feather'). He was the Sachet introduced to the Pilgrims when they first sought to colonize in the "New World." He would also be the one to introduce them to Samoset, who would teach the pilgrims how to grow corn, beans, and squash.

Wampanoag people traditionally lived in homes called Wetus. A Wetu was made of tree branches and bark and had large cutouts in the roof for smoke to escape from the fires inside. Furs would typically be laid on the bench-like areas and used as warm beds to sleep on.

The Wampanoag people have been in the news a lot lately with the recent attempts by the US Government to stripe the tribe of their sovereignty.

That's it for today's mini-lesson!

To learn more about the Mashpee Wampanoag and other Wampanoag tribes please click below…

Mashpee Wampanoag

Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah

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Corinne Rice (Mohawk/Lakota) has been a writer with since 2014. She lives in the state of CA, and enjoys attending and photographing many of the Northern CA powwows and events. She owns her own photography business and is also a Fellow with Changemaker Initiative in partnership with Ashoka.

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