Wampanoag

Introduction

The Wampanoag (Wôpanâak in the Wampanoag language) are a federally recognized Native American nation which currently consists of five tribes, located in present-day Massachusetts. Two have gained official federal recognition.

In the 1600s when encountered by the English, the Wampanoag lived in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as within a territory that encompassed current day Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Their population numbered in the thousands due to the richness of the environment and their cultivation of corn, beans and squash; it was 3,000 on Martha’s Vineyard alone.

While the tribe largely disappeared from historical records from the late 18th century, its people persisted. Survivors remained in their traditional areas and continued many aspects of their culture, while absorbing other people by marriage and adapting to changing economic and cultural needs in the larger society. Although the last native speakers of Wôpanâak died more than 100 years ago, since 1993 the tribe has been working on a language revival project that is producing new native speakers, the first time this has been achieved in the United States. The project is working on curriculum and teacher development.

Adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Wampanoag Peoples

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