Passamaquoddy

Introduction

The Passamaquoddy (Peskotomuhkati or Pestomuhkati in the Passamaquoddy language) are the First Nations (Native American) people who live in northeastern North America, primarily in Maine and New Brunswick. The Passamaquoddy had a purely oral history before the arrival of Europeans, occupied coastal regions along the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine and along the St. Croix River and its tributaries. They dispersed and hunted inland in the winter; in the summer, they gathered more closely together on the coast and islands, and primarily harvested seafood, including porpoise. The name “Passamaquoddy” is an Anglicization of the Passamaquoddy word peskotomuhkati, the prenoun form (prenouns being a linguistic feature of Algonquian languages) of Peskotomuhkat (pestəmohkat), the name they applied to themselves. Peskotomuhkat literally means “pollock-spearer” or “those of the place where pollock are plentiful”, reflecting the importance of this fish. Their method of fishing was spear-fishing rather than angling.

The Passamaquoddy were moved off their original lands repeatedly by European settlers since the 16th century and were eventually limited in the United States to the current Indian Township Reservation in eastern Washington County, Maine.

The Passamaquoddy also live in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, and maintain active land claims but have no legal status in Canada as a First Nation. Some Passamaquoddy continue to seek the return of territory now comprised in St. Andrews, New Brunswick which they claim as Qonasqamkuk, a Passamaquoddy ancestral capital and burial ground.

Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Passamaquoddy people/a>

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