DISCLAIMER: 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
presented herein.

 Corporation’s Name:

 Wampanoag Federation/and Bands
 
Descendants of Ousa Mequin Tribe

 Tribal Name:

The Pokanoket/Wampanoag  Federation/
Wampanoag Nation/Pokanoket Tribe/
And Bands

 

CONSTITUTION

Preamble:  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.

We 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.

We 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.

We 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.

We 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. 

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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.

 

May 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.

May we seek only to prosper by our own efforts and means and grow within the harmony of all life.

May 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.

May 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.

May 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. 

  

Historical and Socioeconomic Background of
the POKANOKET\ Wampanoag Federation\Wampanoag Nation\Pokanoket Tribe and Bands

 

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 

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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 Tribe.

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.

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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 Great Creator.

                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.

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  (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

PURPOSE AND MISSION STATEMENT

 

This Tribe is organized for the following purposes:

A. To bring together and unite all descendants of Pokanoket/Wampanoag blood.

B. To work closely with the Federal Government as well as State and Local Governments for the welfare of all Pokanoket/Wampanoag people.

C. To protect the people and preserve the lands of Pokanoket/Wampanoag from exploitation.

D. To work closely with other Native American groups and tribes in a spirit of mutual support and friendship for the betterment of all Native Americans.

E. To protect and preserve the rich culture and heritage of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag people for all to share.

 

 TERRITORY AND REALM

Historical 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 all lands

Historical Realm of the Pokanoket\Wampanoag Federation and Tribe

by 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

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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 the West.

Pocassets: Gardner’s Neck and East to now Westport line and to Berkley and Tiverton and Freetown. Sachem Corbitant.

Sakonets: Succonet, main camp at Wilber Woods.

Patuxets:  Plymouth area.

Nemaskets: Mddleboro and Bridgewater areas.

Agawams: Wareham area.

Manomets: Sandwich a group of Islands.

Satuckets: Mashpee area.

Mattakees: Barnstable area.

Nobacots: Yarmouth area.

Monamoys: Chatham area.

Nausets: Areas of Eastham which included the island tribes of Nantucket and Nope (Martha’s Vineyards) and Nipmucks were also Aquidneck Island and Warwick.

Subtribe Antinomains:  Area of  Hog Island.

 

THE  FLAG

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.    

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THE 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.

Seats on the Council of Elders will currently be apportioned as follows:

The 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)  and  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 )  and Metacomet ( King Philip, second son of Yellow Feather)  and the Chief  Pineese Warrior of Pokanoket.

 

Ancient Lodge

The Ancient Lodge of Sachems are subject to Tribal Council rulings. Their honoring headdress  are as follows:

Massasoit is a Title given to the leader of all of the Wampanoags Nation. Massasoit or (Grand Sachem). Two eagle feathers with red tips.

Sachem – Chief Sachem  which means  Leader.  One eagle feather with red tip.

Powwas   Holy Man or Spritual Leader Two deer spikes with male and female feather centered. A red and yellow feather below each spike.

Clan Grandmother   One red and one green feather on each side.

War 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.

Pineese Warrior  One red, one yellow, one white and one dark brown feather. One rattle snake centered and four copperhead skins hanging down.

Clan Mother - One white, one yellow, one red and one blue feather.

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2. The Five Clans

The Bear Clan................Medicine

The Wolf Clan.................Leadership And Education

The Deer Clan.................Providers

The Snipe Clan...............(a Bird) The Builders

The Turtle Clan...............Wisdom & 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 rulings.

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.

5.    Tribal members performing outstanding service will be given the Golden Eagle Award of Merit.

 

Who Was Who

Massasoit,  which means Great Leader,  is a Title given to the leader of all  of  the Wampanoags Nation.

Massasoit 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:

Wamsutta 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  in Taunton.

Metacom 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  Wootonekanuske’s and Weetamoo ‘s father was Corbitant . Philip was killed August 12, 1676, in battle near Mount Hope, in what is now the Township of Bristol, R.I. He had a son Metom , this child along with Wootonekanuske was captured by the English . Philip was ambushed at the edge of the swamp near Mount Hope was shot by the Indian Alderman.  Philip  was beheaded , his hands cut off and his body quartered. His head was sent to Plymouth and set on a pole. One hand, which was disfigured as a child was given to Indian Alderman as a reward.

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Sonkanuhoo 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.

Amie 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 September 1676.

Massasoit, 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.  

Caunbitant 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 Weetamoo .

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 Wampanoagsthe 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

 

Did You Know?

 What were the Indian Nations in Rhode Island?

They were Narragansett Nation, Pokanoket/Wampanoag Nation, Nipmuc Nation, and Niantic Nation.

When 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 people.

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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 colony.

What 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.

Hair Styles

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.

Headdresses

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.

Clothing

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.

Diet

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.

Transportation

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.

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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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