TME Co., Inc. makes no representation as to the
accuracy of statements and/or claims contained in the material that
follows. It is reprinted here entirely as provided by, and solely as a
courtesy to, the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Federation/
Wampanoag Nation/Pokanoket Tribe/And Bands,
who must be the only contact regarding questions about information
We the Members
and Tribal Council of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag
Federation/ Wampanoag Nation/Pokanoket Tribe/ And Bands do
resolve to reorganize and unite all the people of Pokanoket/Wampanoag
blood in the spirit of brotherhood.
And to preserve our common Pokanoket/Wampanoag Culture and Heritage in
the spirit of self-determination as a sovereign people.
do declare in the
name of our Pokanoket/Wampanoag People,
who are the surviving remnants of a once great nation, that We were
given life by the Great Creator.
declare that the Great Creator has given to Us for all time dominion
over the lands of our Forefathers, and over the lakes, rivers, and
streams that lie and flow upon these lands, and over all plant and
animal life that live upon these lands, and all the gifts of Mother
Earth that exit on these lands.
declare our belief that the Great Creator has given Us all of this to be
held by Us in Sacred Trust to Him to protect and preserve for all time.
do declare in the name of our Pokanoket/Wampanoag People, who
are the surviving remnants of a once prosperous people, that the
language, culture, customs, traditions, and ways of life of our
forebears should always be held as precious gifts of the Great Creator,
for they grew out of living in harmony with Mother Earth on the lands of
our Forefathers, the Creator’s first precious gift.
During the course of history it has become evident that governing
bodies who govern best are those who listen to the wishes of their
members. This is true to a surprising extent regardless of the
structure of the governing body ( democracy, republic, monarchy, or even
totalitarian ). So soon as the governing body turns a deaf
ear to its members and begins to pursue its own interests rather
than the interests of the whole organization,
growth and prosperity are replaced by stagnation and decay. History
has shown that the highest duties of a governing body are to bring needed
order and structure to the organization thereby preventing
the organization and its members from falling into ineffective
confusion and disarray; to offer guidance to its members while allowing
the valuable free expression of ideas
within the organization. It is to be hoped that the governing body
of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Federation/Wampanoag
Nation/Pokanoket Tribe/ and Bands in the proper exercise of its powers
will always keep close the wisdom of the adage that God most often
speaks loudest and best through the unbridled voice of the people.
We the descendants of a great people nearly exterminated by war and its
dark gifts, starvation and disease remember the value of peace and strive
for it among all people.
we seek only to prosper by our own efforts and means and grow within the
harmony of all life.
we the descendants of a great people who were undone by deceitful
treachery have the strength to live our lives with an honest heart and the
courage to deal with others in the spirit of truth and respect.
We the descendants of a great people who did suffer the agony of
enslavement in the aftermath of a devastating conflict, which had no
formal end, seek at all times
freedom and self determinate for all people.
We the descendants of a great people who do now with courage and hope
endeavor to reorganize ourselves be blessed by the Great Spirit with the
wisdom and the strength of great purpose needed to quiet the as yet
unanswered cries of our forebears through peace and love without question
as to why so few have heard them.
and Socioeconomic Background of
The Pokanoket Tribe and Federation of the Wampanoag Nation is rooted in
an Ancient American civilization of indigenous people, now known to have
existed in Southern New England for upwards to 10,000 years. The following
is a summary of the history of this people from Colonial times. (1)
Accepted historical evidence makes clear that the fairly extensive area known today as Southern New England was inhabited and protected by the indigenous peoples of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Nation. Together, numerous tribes and bands formed the Wampanoag Nation, which occupied the present states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island , Connecticut, New York (east of the Hudson River and as far north as Schaghticoke Falls), and Southern parts of
both Vermont and New Hampshire. All of these indigenous people spoke the
Algonquin language and shared similar social, political and religious
practices. The leading tribe of the Wampanoag Nation was The Pokanoket
The Pokanoket Tribe and Federation, believed at one time to have
comprised some 8,000 people, traditionally occupied the land mass now
known as Cape Cod, Southern Massachusetts and Eastern Rhode Island,
including most of the islands in Narragansett Bay. In Bristol, Rhode
Island, at the head of Narragansett Bay, was “ Potumtuk” (today
called “Mount Hope”), which was celebrated as the seat of the
Massasoit (Great Leader) of all the Wampanoag People.
Contacts between Pokanoket/Wampanoags and Europeans are known to have
occurred early in the 16th
century. In 1620 a group of about 40 English men, women and
children, who had traveled from England aboard the ship Mayflower,
landed in what today is called Plymouth, Massachusetts. These Europeans
came to owe their very survival to the kindness and generosity showed
them by the Pokanokets in 1620 and 1621. From these early encounters
between the English colonists and the indigenous people of the Pokanoket
Tribe and Federation grew the stories of the first Thanksgiving. At that
time, during the reign of Massasoit Ousa Mequin (Yellow Feather), relations between the
Pokanokets and the Europeans were peaceful as they would remain for some
forty (40) years.
With the European colonists, however, had come the contagious diseases
of that continent, diseases against which the indigenous populations of
New England had little natural defense. It is estimated that the
indigenous population of this region was reduced by as much as 90 to 95
percent within the short span of some five years. Moreover, increased
European immigrations, brought heightened insensitivity to the Native
culture, land rights, and way of life. Increasing tensions between the
colonists and the indigenous peoples of the region, eventually led to
King Philips War of 1675-1676. Philip was the English name taken by Ousa
Mequin’s second son, Metacomet, who had become the Massasoit of the
Wampanoag after his older brother Massasoit Wamsutta was poisoned.
Metacomet had come to be referred to as “King Philip” by the English
in recognition of his position as equal to that of their King Charles.
The war, fought between two peoples who had lived in proximity for more
than forty years, was fought with horrific intensity and, though short
in duration, proved to be a desperate and ugly struggle for survival for
either side. Proportionately more Europeans died in King Philip’s War
than in any other conflict between Native Americans and Europeans.
King Philip’s War came to have no formal end. Hostilities died out
only after the Europeans had captured and executed all the Algonquin
leaders who opposed them and had inflicted untold death and suffering on
a people not quite prepared for war fought with European finality.Philip
was killed in battle near Mount Hope, in what is now the Township of
Bristol, R.I., on August 12, 1676.
His son, Metom, and wife, Wootonekanuske,
had been captured by the English. Philip was ambushed at the edge of the
swamp near Mount Hope and was shot by the Indian named Alderman, who
fought with the English captain Benjamin Church. Philip’s body was
desecrated, beheaded, and quartered. Philips head was sent to Plymouth
and displayed on a pole. One of Philip’s hands, which was disfigured
as a child, was given to Indian Alderman as a reward.
All organized resistance to the English ended with the capture of
Annawon. Annawon was the Great Massasoit’s bother-in-law and
Missinnege of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Indian Federation. Missinnege was
the title given to the leader of all the warriors of the Pokanokets, the
Head Paniese warrior.
On August 28, 1676, Philip’s Great Captain, Annawan, who had in like
capacity served his father, the Great Massasoit, was captured by Captain
Benjamin Church at a place still known as Annawan’s Rock, in the
easterly part of the town of Rehoboth. At the death of Philip, Annawon
became Chief Sachem or King
of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Nation.
Annawan was 85 years old when he died and left a son and three
daughters. His son was also called Annowon and was 11 years old. Despite
promises to the contrary by Benjamin Church,
Annawon was executed by the English and his head displayed on a
pole in lake fashion to Philip’s. In the aftermath of the war, the
Plymouth Colonial government passed a law making it illegal for any one
over 14 years of age to call themselves Pokanokets, lest they be
executed. Thus, from that time, all Pokanoket could identify themselves
only as Wampanoags.
Many Pokanokets were dispersed throughout the Northeast, as far west as
the great Lakes and Canada. Families were separated, with members sold
into slavery and shipped to Bermuda, the Azores, and Europe, among other
places. Some continued to live in Southern New England.
In fact, many Indian communities survived the war, and Indian groups
have continued to exist in certain parts of Southern New England until the
present .... However, the war terminated the Indians military and
political power, and afterwards dealings with Indians were no longer
important matters of public policy. The Indians found themselves relegated
to lower levels of colonial society at large, sometimes in the status of
indentured servants.... They were sometimes treated as charity cases or,
at the other extreme, actively discriminated against or cheated, but
generally they were simply ignored. (2)
Evidence exists to demonstrate that the Pokanoket/Wampanoag
continued to survive in the regions of their ancestral homeland. The
Handbook is helpful on this point as it lists numerous southern New
England locations known to be places where many Pakanoket/Wampanoags,
among other Native Americans, took up residence. Many of these settlements
were referred to as “praying towns”.
If the remnants of a once great people were simply ignored, it was
so long as they were content to live their lives as a lost and nearly
invisible people. Without any political representation, their lands were
simply taken. With their very right to exist as a people denied, they
lived their lives with constant discrimination, under the constant
pressure to deny their indigenous identity, culture, and heritage.
Yet as life and the Creator would have it, such conditions led many
of the people of Pokanoket to hold their great heritage, language, and
customs, closer to hart, hidden and secret from the English world around
them, These “way showers” passed their history and beliefs on from
generation to generation through example and the oral tradition.
Despite losing military and political power to the English
colonists in their attempts to destroy Pokanoket, its heritage and
culture.. Despite the loss of their land and the means of self
determination and self sufficiency. Despite all that has been endured, the
people of Pokanoket
continue to practice and hold dear the ways of their ancestors before the
Pokanoket strives to uphold the dignity and self-respect of its
people in a spirit of brotherhood with all mankind. It is our goal to
create jobs for our people through businesses that are restorative,
sustainable, and in tune with the environment. It is our goal to preserve
our language, culture, and heritage for all time, for all people to share.
Through Federal recognition, the Pokanoket Tribe and Federation can attain
the sovereign power necessary to protect and enhance the heritage and
lands of its people.
(1) What is know to constitute historical evidence concerning the Pokanoket Tribe and Federation is generally found in the academic repositories of Yale and Brown University and in such standard reference works as the Smithsonian Institution’s Handbook of North American, Vol. .15. In addition, The oral tradition of the Pokanoket People, as passed down from generation to generation, has provided much detailed tribal information.
(2) Handbook, p.177
AND MISSION STATEMENT
Tribe is organized for the following purposes:
To bring together and unite all descendants of Pokanoket/Wampanoag
To work closely with the Federal Government as well as State and Local
Governments for the welfare of all Pokanoket/Wampanoag people.
To protect the people and preserve the lands of Pokanoket/Wampanoag from
To work closely with other Native American groups and tribes in a spirit
of mutual support and friendship for the betterment of all Native
To protect and preserve the rich culture and heritage of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag
people for all to share.
Realm of the Pokanoket\Wampanoag Federation and Tribe:
The historical realm of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag people encompassed what
is now Southeastern Massachusetts, East Bay Rhode Island, and the area
East and North of the Pawtucket (Blackstone) River. This would include
Realm of the Pokanoket\Wampanoag Federation and Tribe
Tribe, Band or Village
Tribes of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Nation. Indians which occupied
Plymouth Colony areas:
POKANOKET /Wampanoag: East Shore of the Providence River , Rehoboth, Mass. And Warren RI, to Gardners neck. POKANOKET was the ruling tribe of the Pokanoket\Wampanoag Federation as lead by Sachem Massasoit Ousa Mequin ( Yellow Feather), Wamsutter ( Alexander), Metacomet ( King Philip). Includes that portion of Pokanoket between Taunton River on the East , Sowams or Narragansett Bay on Pawtucket or Providence River West. Included the three necks of land know by the Indians as Chachacust, Popanomscut and Wannnamoisett neck. And to the north the Indian territory know as Seekonk. The water bounds
of Sowams the eastern
branch Sowam River (now
Warren) on the East, Sowams
or Narragansett Bay on the South and Sowams Bay and Providence River on
Gardner’s Neck and
East to now Westport line and to Berkley and Tiverton and Freetown.
Succonet, main camp
at Wilber Woods.
Mddleboro and Bridgewater areas.
Sandwich a group of Islands.
Areas of Eastham which included the island tribes of Nantucket and Nope
(Martha’s Vineyards) and Nipmucks were also Aquidneck Island and
Area of Hog Island.
The star in the center of the flag is the symbol of the people of
Pokanoket, the people of the early light. The first star is the sun.
This is the same symbol that King Philip wore as depicted in his
portrait, which hangs in the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at
Brown University in Bristol Rhode Island. The five-pointed star was
traditionally made from the deepest purple wampum made from the shell of
the Quahog. The outer circle, in gold, represents the circle of life.
The color gold represents the Creator. The inner circle of lighter
purple stands for unity. The color purple stands for the hereafter. The
motto Iootash, which means “Stand firm!”, was the battle cry of
Anawon in rallying his warriors during the battle of August 12, 1676
when the Pokanokets were surprised by an English force led by Captain
Benjamin Church. King Philip was killed during the engagement. The eagle
feathers hanging from the sides represents the strengths of the Eagle
which has great sight, wisdom, pride, and strong flight. The eagle
feathers accent the two names of the people of Pokanoket, our original
name, and Wampanoag, the name we came to have after King Philip’s war.
The Pokanoket star in gold between the two names expresses our hope that
the Creator will unite and strengthen our people and make us whole
again. The flag is set on a field of white, which stands for purity.
COUNCIL OF ELDERS
The Council of Elders shall have final say over all things concerning
the Pokanoket/Wampanoag way of life such as proper ceremonial dress and
custom, art and culture. The members of the Council of Elders shall be
selected from the body of Regular members of the Tribe who are fifty five
(55) years of age or older. The Council of Elders does not have authority
over the Tribal Council.
The Steering Committee of Council of Elders will be composed of not less
than five (5) seats.
on the Council of Elders will currently be apportioned as follows:
Powwas one seat. The remaining seats will be apportioned according to
bands. Currently, divided in half with the first
portion to be
filled by members of the Tuspaquin band of Pokanoket/Wampanoag, the
direct descendants of Amie, daughter of the Massasoit (Yellow Feather)
sister of Metacomet
(King Philip ) of Pokanoket and Chief Tuspaquin of the Assawamsett.
And the second portion to be filled by members of the Annawon band of
Pokanoket/Wampanoag, descendants of Annawon, husband to the Massasoit
Yellow Feather’s sister and War Chief to the Massasoits
Yellow Feather, Wamsutta ( Alexander, oldest son of Yellow Feather
Metacomet ( King Philip, second son of Yellow Feather)
and the Chief
Pineese Warrior of Pokanoket.
The Ancient Lodge of Sachems are subject to Tribal Council rulings.
Their honoring headdress are
is a Title given to the leader of all of the Wampanoags Nation. Massasoit
or (Grand Sachem). Two eagle feathers with red tips.
– Chief Sachem which means Leader.
One eagle feather with red tip.
– Holy Man or Spritual
Leader Two deer spikes with male and female feather centered. A red
and yellow feather below each spike.
One red and one green feather on each side.
Chief ( Misinnege) of
the Wampanoag Indian Federation. Missinnege –
Title given to the Leader of all the Warriors of Wampanoags. The
Head Panseis. Four
white feather with red bar across the center of each feather.
One red, one yellow, one white and one dark brown feather.
One rattle snake centered and four copperhead skins hanging down.
Mother - One
white, one yellow, one red and one blue feather.
The Five Clans
Bird) The Builders
& Knowledge of The People
3. The Society of Pineese Warriors
is the spiritual guardian of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag Federation/ Wampanoag Nation/Pokanoket Tribe/ And Bands and
Is subject to all Tribal Council
4. The Ancient Lodge of Sachems
and Society of Pineese Warriors are positions for life, unless they become
incapable of performing their duties properly. Their replacement will be
appointment by the Tribal Council.
members performing outstanding service will be given the Golden Eagle
Award of Merit.
which means Great Leader, is
a Title given to the leader of all of
the Wampanoags Nation.
alias Asamequin or Osamequin(Yellow Feather), Chief of the
Wampanoag Tribe of Indians at the time of the Landing of the English at
Plymouth, born 1580, died 1661. He had children as follows:
married Namumpum, alias Tatapanum, alias Weetamoo
and sometimes called the Squaw Sachem of Pocasset. Wamsutta appears
to have first received the name of Moonnam , which was changed in
or about 1641 to the English the name Alexander. He died in 1662. His
widowed wife contracted a third husband named Quequequanchett. Her
fourth marriage, with an Indian named Petonowowett, ended when he
sided with the English in King Philip’s War. She left him and became the
wife of a Narraganset Sachem named Quinapin, whom the English put
to death at Newport, R.I. , Aug. 25, 1676. Weetamoo was drowned in
the Taunton River, Aug. 6, 1676. His remains drifted on shore in the town
of Swansea . The English cut his head off and set it on a pole
alias Pometacom, who accepted from the English , the name of
Philip, but is now better Known in history as King Philip.
Philip married Woonekanuske, a sister of Weetamoo
or Sunconewhew , who was perhaps identical-looking to his brother
King Philip. He was said to have been slain at the fight in a swamp
in Pocasset ( afterwards Tiverton) , July 18, 1675.
A daughter of Massasoit Osamequin, whose name is unknown. She is said to
have been captured by the English, July 31,1676.
Daughter of Massasoit Osamequin . She became the wife of the
Black Sachem , Tuspaquin, Chief of the Assawompsett Wampanoag and
Nemaket, and a Sagamore of the Federation . His name appears in history as
Tuspaquin, and also as Watuspaquin. Tuspaquin
was Captured by the English and put to death by
beheading him at Plymouth in
alias Asamequin or Osamequin, Chief of the Wampanoag, had
two brothers, one of whom, Quadequina, accompanied him to Plymouth
in March 1621. He is generally credited with being one of the two Kings of
Pokanoket. He died within a few years of the Landing of Pilgrims.
The Second Brother of the Great Sachem whose name is variously written
as Akkompoin, Uncompawen, Woonkaponehunt, and Vucumpowet, was
one of the Great Sachem’s chief counselor and War Captain. He was
shot by the English attempting to
cross Bridgwater on July 31,1676 . The Daughter
of Massasoit who’s name was unknown was with her Uncle
Akkompoin when he was
killed, she was captured on July 31,1676.
or Corbitant, Sachem of Pocasset or Mettapoiset Wampanoag, whose
territory was Swansea , Somerset and Fall River in Massachusetts and
Tiverton in Rhode Island. He was the father of Wootonekanuske and
Anawon Massasoit’s bother-in-law and Misinnege of the Wampanoag Indian
Federation, Missinnege, the Title given to the Leader of all the
Warriors of Wampanoags – the Head Panseis. On
Aug. 28,1676 Philip’s Great Captain, Anawan, who had
served his father, Massasoit in like capacity, and who at the death of
Philip became Chief Sachem or King of the Wampanoag Nation, was captured
by Capt. Benjamin Church at a place still known as Anawan’s Rock , in
the easterly part of the town of Rehoboth . Anawan was 85 years old when
he died. He left a son and 3 daughters. The son, called Annowon,
was eleven years old
were the Indian Nations in Rhode Island?
They were Narragansett Nation, Pokanoket/Wampanoag Nation,
Nipmuc Nation, and Niantic Nation.
were the points of contact?
The first visit was an Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazzano in 1524. He
was in service of the Francis I of France to find all water routes through North America to China. He
dropped anchor at (Point Judith) were he meant a group of Wampanoag
In the 16th and 17th centuries the French, Dutch,
and English explorers and traders came to the northeast.
In 1607 additional
Europeans came to Northern New England, making brief visits to the
coastline. In 1620 the Puritans and other English people established a
did the Native American People look like?
Contrary to stereotypical notions of Indians as “Red Men”, Native
American skin tone was actually a light tawny or bronzed color. They were
tall, lean, muscular and well proportioned. They had high cheekbones,
black eyes, smooth skin and black hair.
Hairstyles varied. Boys were not allowed to wear their hair long until
they were of warrior age (about 16 years old). The older males wore their
hair in a Mohawk or cockscomb style, a single strip of hair in the center
of the head. It was kept
short and stiff. Sometimes they dyed their hair red, or they wore it long
to the shoulder in two braids decorated with shells or stones. They also
wore their hair long on one side and completely shaved on the other-side
of the head.
Women generally wore their hair in long braid, down the full length of
their back. Decorating their hair with gleaming porcupine quills. The Hair
of both men and women was often daily dressed with oil or fat to give
sheen. This added to the black coloring of the hair.
Both men and women wore embroided headbands made from skins of Hawks or
other birds. Warriors placed Eagle or Hawk feathers in their headbands.
One feather for each enemy’s life they had taken in battle.
In warm weather they dressed light, especially for the children.
Just a breechclout often made of doe or men and women wore
sealskin. The woman wore deer skin skirts and upper mantle. Men wore a
mantle like shoulder cape made form woven hemp or deer or moose skins.
They wore a breechclout and leather leggings to protect the legs from
briars and brambles. The women also wore leggings to. In the winter the
clothing became heavier and often consisted of furs, (beaver, otter,
squirrel, lynx, bear, deer or moose), to line there regalia. Regalia
are the name for the clothing the Indian wore.
They eat a diet of fish, shellfish, deer, moose berries and nuts. In
summer they grew crops corn, squash, beans, green bean cranberry, they
also used maple syrup from the maple trees.
They used wooden canoes called dugouts or birch bark canoes. They walked
on land using trails. Route 44 in Massachusetts was one of he trails
running from Middleboro through Taunton and Rehoboth into Providence.
Recreation and Games
Popular native games were wresting, weight lifting and marksmanship. A
favored sporting torment was a type of ball game like (Lacrosse). They had
two teams and they used a deerskin ball. All players had a wooden frame
scoop meshed with leather lacing to toss about the ball. To score, they
would have to get it in a net wooden frame just like hockey net. Other
popular tournaments included tug of wars and contests with gaming stones.
This contest uses (rounded, dish like stone) that were rolled into a large
area. The object was for each player to hurl an eight foot pole as close
as possible to the spot were the stone was rolled. Fishing, swimming, dice
games were quit popular. The prizes were furs, wampum and feathers.
Researched and written by Linda A Elderkin-Degnan, President/Sachem
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