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INDIAN TRIBES OF NORTH AMERICA.
(The brief notice, here given, of the Indian tribes of North America, is confined principally b those formerly and at present found within the United States and their Territories. For a more extended account the reader is referred to the numerous works on Indian History and Biograpby, found in the public libraries of our cities ; and especially to the able work of the Hon. Albert Gallatin, published in volume second of the “Transactions of the American Antiquarian Society," and to Drake's " Biography and History of the Indian Tribes of North America," Edition of 1841. The History of the more civilized tribes of early Mexico will be found under the head of Mexican History, see p. 559.]
"The northern tribes of North America, embracing the analysis. great divisions known as the Esquimaux and the Atha- 1. The Northpascas, and some small tribes bordering on the Pacific erne Tribe Ocean, are found north of the fifty-second parallel of latitude. The Esquimaux* Indians encircle the whole north- 2. Locality of ern portion of the continent, from the southern point of Alaska on the west, to the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the east. The only Indians found in Greenland are Esqui. 3. Indians of maux. A tribe of the same family is likewise found on Esquimaux the western shore of Behring Straits ; and it is believed to be the only Asiatic tribe belonging to the race of any North American Indians. "The Esquimaux are not found 5. Esquimaus far in the interior, but are confined mostly to the shores the coast. of the ocean, and of large gulfs and bays.
•There are two divisions of these people, the eastern 6. Divisions and the western Esquimaux. The dividing line is a little west of Mackenzie's River. The western Esquimaux 7. Dialects. speak a dialect so different from the eastern, that it is, at first, difficult for them to understand each other. The two divisions have for some years past carried on consid. erable trade with each other; the western Indians dealing in iron tools and other articles of Russian manufacture, and the eastern in seal skins, oil, and furs.
'In the interior, extending from Churchill River and .. Tribet in Hudson's Bay to within about one hundred miles of the Pacific, is a large number of tribes speaking kindred lan. guages. They have been grouped in one division, and
groupod. are called Athapascas, from the original name of the lake
of the Esquimaus.
• From “ Eskimantick," Eaters of raw Ash.
Lors. 2. Trides on
3. Jurisdiction over the
ANALYSIS. since called “ Lake of the Hills.” They are the hered. 1. Their itary enemies of the Esquimaux, and are in a state of per.
petual warfare with them. West of the Athapascas, on the coast. the sea-coast and islands, are several tribes which speak
dialects different both from the Esquimaux and the Atha. pascas.
3The extensive territory occupied by the Esquimaux territory do and the Athapascas is claimed by the English, and the mauz and the whole is under the jurisdiction of the Hudson's Bay ComAthapascas.
pany, whose trading posts extend from James Bay, west,
to the Pacific Ocean, and north, nearly to the Polar Sea. 4. Character “The Esquimaux are a dwarfish race, and obtain a preca. tion of the rious livelihood mostly by fishing. The Athapascas, and
some of their southern neighbors, are almost entirely employed in obtaining furs, for the purpose of selling them to the Company, or in conveying the provisions and stores of the Company to the different posts, and bringing back the furs there collected.
nar. a. Mon-tung
"At the first settlement of Canada, the St. Lawrence Indians were generally designated by the name of Montagnars, or Mountain Indians, from a range of hills or mountains west of Quebec. The tribes found on the
Ottawa River, however, speaking a different dialect, were 7. Distinction called Algonquins. "The distinction between the Mon. names, and tagnars and the Algonquins was kept up for some time, taller lerme until the latter term finally prevailed, and was applied,
by the French, to that great family of tribes extending
throughout the eastern portions of North America, and 8. Originan speaking dialects of a common language. 'It is difficult of the term. to ascertain whether the term Algonquin belonged, origi.
nally, to any particular tribe, or was used as a generic appellation.
•The Knistenauxb Indians, the most northerly division dians, and the of the Algonquin family, are a numerous tribe, and are 6. PP.CREAS. still found throughout a large tract of country, extending
from Labrador to the Rocky Mountains. The Chippewas, likewise a numerous Algonquin tribe, are now found on the western shores of Lake Superior.
10 The Ottawas, found on the river of that name, were an
Algonquin tribe, formerly residing on the western shores 14, Chetr ju of Lake Huron. "Their claims to the right of sovereignty
over the Ottawa River were generally recognized, and they exacted a tribute from all the Indians going to or
9. The Knis. tenaux In
10. The Otta
1. Their al.
coming from the country of the Hurons. "The Algon. ANALYSIS. quin tribes of the Ottawa River were allied with the Hurons in their wars with the Five Nations; and after license to the almost total destruction of the Hurons in 1650, a part dispersion: of the Ottawas, accompanied by a few Hurons, after some English, and wanderings, joined their kindred tribes at the south of wanderings. Lake Superior.
The Ottawas subsequently, in 1671, removed to the vicinity of Michilimackinac, and finally returned to their original seats on the west side of Lake Huron, and until recently have continued to occupy a great portion of the Michigan peninsula. Under Pontiac, their chief, they were at the head of the great Indian confederacy of 1763, which in a short time captured nearly all the British posts on the western frontier. At the time of their dispersion, - in 1650, portions of the Ottawas sought refuge among the
French, and their descendants still reside in several vil. lages of Lower Canada.
PONTIAC, a chief of the Ottawa nation, was one of the most famous Indian warriors ever known to the English, not excepting even King Philip or Tecumseh.
He is first brought to the notice of the English after the fall of Quebec in 1760, when Major Rogers was sent into the western country to take possession of the posts stipulated to be sure rendered by the French. Pontiac had previously been warmly attached to the French, and had assisted them in their Indian wars. On his way Major Rogers was met by ambassadors from Pontiac, desiring him to halt until their chief could see him with his own eyes, and likewise informing him that Pontiac was the king and lord of that country.
Pontiac soon met the English officer and demanded his business, and haughtily asked him how he dared enter the country of the Indians without permission from their chief. Finally, however, he smoked the pipe of peace with the officer, and gave him permission to pass through the country unmolested, with the assurance that he should be protected from the fury of those Indians who were hostile towards him and wished to cut him off. Major Rogers observes, that, during several conferences which he had with him, " Pontiac discovered great strength of judgment, and a thirst after knowledge."
Soon after this Pontiac became hostile to the English, probably because he observed in them a desiga to extend their sovereignty over his country. He was willing to allow the English to settle in his dominions if they would acknowledge him as their sovereign ; but he declared, that if they did not conduct themselves according to his wishes," he would shut up the way" and keep them out. He continued, however, with Indian craft and cunning, to express his friendship for the English until he bad united the strength of many tribes to his own. The Miamis, Ottawas, Chippewas, Wyandots, Pottowattomies, Mississaguies Shawnees, Outagamies or Foxes, and Winnebagoes, constituted his power, as they did, in after times, that of Tocumseh.
With such secrecy and adroitness were the plans of Pontiac developed, that he dissipated the fears of the commandants of all the Western posts until the very moment that the blow wa? struck; and within fifteen days, in the summer of 1763, all the English garrisons and posts in the West, but three, fell into his bands. At Michilimackinac, the Ottawas, to whom the assault was intrusted, got into the fort by stratagem, while engaged in a great game of ball, to which the officers were invited. Only Niagara, Pittsburg, and Detroit escaped. Pittsburg was saved by the expedition of Colonel Boquet, who dispersed the besiegers at the point of the bayonet.
Detroit was saved by information conveyod to the commandant by an Indian woman, the night before the premeditated attack, which was to be made while Pontiac and his Warriors should be holding a friendly council with the garrison. The Indians continued the siege of the place until the spring of 1764, when General Bradstreet arriving with reenforcements, the different tribes came in, and peace was established. Pontiae, however, took no pari in the negociations, but abandoned the country and repaired to Illinois, where he was not long after assassinated by a Peoria Indian-but for what cause has not been satisfactorily shown.
It is said that in the war of 1763, usually called “Pontiac's War," this chief appointed a commissary, and began to make and issue bills of credit, which were received by the French inhabitants, and punctually redeemed by Pontiac. lis bills, or notes, were made of bark, on which was drawn the figure of the commodity which he wished to obtain in exchange, with the shape of an otter, the insignia or arms of his nation, drawn under it.
4. Abenakes, -Their prin.
*The Mississaguies, a tribe found south of the River 1. The Missis. Ottawa, and adjoining the Hurons, appear to have sepa
rated their cause from that of their kindred tribes, and to have been either in alliance with the Five Nations, or permitted to remain neutral. Remnants of this tribe are still found in Canada.
*The Micmacs, first called by the French Souriquois, held possesssion of Nova Scotia and the adjacent isles, and were early known as the active allies of the French.
3 The Etchemins, or.“Canoemen,” embraced the tribes of the St. John's River, and extended westwardly along the sea-shore as far as Mount Desert Isle.
4A BENAKES. Next to the Etchemins were found the cipal problemAbenakes, extending to the Saco River, and consisting of
several tribes, the principal of which were the Penobscots, 5. Converted the Norridgewocks, and the Androscoggins. The Mic Petrached to macs, the Etchemins, and the Abenakes, were early con. the French. verted by the French Jesuits. They remained firmly
attached to the French until the conquest of Canada in
1760, and were almost constantly in a state of hostilities 6. Withdraro. with the British Colonies. "In the year 1754, all the al to Canada. Abenakes, with the exception of the Penobscots, who still
reside on the river to which they have given their name, 7. Neutrality.
withdrew to Canada. "The Penobscot, the Passamaquoddy, and the St. John Indians, remained neutral during the war of the Revolution.
*New ENGLAND INDIANS. The New England Indians, land Indians, as they have generally been called, embraced the tribes
from the Saco River to the eastern boundary of Connec9. Principal ticut. “ 'Their principal tribes were, Ist, The Massachu
setts, adjoining the Bay of that name: 2d, The Pawtuckels, north east of the Massachusetts, and embracing the Penacooks of New Hampshire : 3d, The Nipmucks, north of the Mohegans, and occupying the central parts of Massachusetts : 4th, The Pokanokets, to whom the Wampanoags belonged, extending from the shores of Massachusetts Bay to Bristol in Rhode Island : and 5th, The Narragansetts, in the remaining portion of Rhode Island.
These divisions, however, were subdivided into a number of petty cantons, or small tribes, each having its
9. Nero Eng.
tribes, and localities.
own sachem, or chief, who was in a great degree indepen- ANALYSIS. dent of the others. Thus, the Pokanokets were divided
1. Example. into nine separate cantons or tribes, each having its petty sagamore or chief, but all subject to one grand sachem, who was also chief of the Wampanoags.
"The population of the New England Indians had 2 Population. been greatly diminished by a fatal epidemic which prevailed a short time before the arrival of the Puritans; but their number is supposed to have been much greater, in proportion to the extent of territory occupied by them, than was found elsewhere on the shores of the Atlantic. For this, two causes have been assigned.
*First; The New England Indians were supported .. Causes of mostly by fishing ; and the supply of food thus obtained is increased greater, and more uniform than that afforded by hunting. It theneur Ernest was found, accordingly, that the Narragansetts were, in proportion to their territory, the most populous of the New England tribes. In the second place ;-it appears probable that the New England Indians had been obliged to concentrate themselves along the sea-coast, in order to be able to resist the attacks of the Five Nations, with whom they were almost constantly at war. *The Maquas, or Mo- 1. The Mohawks, were the most formidable of their adversaries, and so great was the terror which they excited in the less warlike tribes of New England, that the appearance of four or five Mohawks in the woods, would often frighten them from their habitations, and drive them to seek shelter in their forts, for safety.
The Indians east of the Connecticut River never were, however, actually subjugated by the Five Nations; and cast of the in 1671 a permanent peace was established between them, through the interference of the English, and the Dutch at Albany. *After the termination of King Philip's 6. The survi. war,. in 1676, which resulted in the defeat of the hostile portion King Indians, most of the survivors either joined the eastern a. See p. 196. tribes, or sought refuge in Canada, whence they continued to harass the frontiers of New England, until the final overthrow of the French, in 1763. Since that b. See p. 283. period, the eastern Indians have remained friendly, but 7. Eastern Intheir numbers are said to amount now to only a few hundred, and their languages, with the exception of the Nar. ragansett, are 'nearly extinct.
For the purpose of giving some farther information about the New Englan tribes, wo sub. join a brief notice of several of their principal chiefs.
The first chief with whom the people of Plymouth became acquainted, was MASSASOIT, grand Sachem of the Wampanoags, whose principal residence was at Pokanoket, now Bristol, Rhode Island. It appears that, at one time, before he was known to the whites, Massasoit carried on successful wars “ against many nations of Indians" whom he made tributary to bim; and yet, with such kind paternal authority did he rule over them, that all appeary 1.