The Passamaquoddy (Peskotomuhkati or Pestomuhkati in the Passamaquoddy language) are a (American Indian)/First Nations people who live in northeastern North America, primarily in Maine, United States of America, and New Brunswick, Canada. They live along the waters of Passamaquoddy Bay and the rivers that flow to it.
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), their autonym or 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 in their culture. Their method of fishing was spear-fishing rather than angling or using nets.Passamaquoddy Bay is shared by both New Brunswick and Maine; its name was derived by English settlers from the Passamaquoddy people.
The Passamaquoddy had a purely oral history before the arrival of Europeans. Among the Algonquian-speaking tribes of the loose Wabanaki Confederacy, they occupied coastal regions along the Bay of Fundy, Passamaquoddy Bay and Gulf of Maine, and along the St. Croix River and its tributaries. They had seasonal patterns of settlement. In the winter, they dispersed and hunted inland. In the summer, they gathered more closely together on the coast and islands, and primarily harvested seafood, including marine mammals, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish.
The Passamaquoddy were pushed off their original lands repeatedly by European settlers from the 17th century. After the United States achieved independence from Great Britain, this people were eventually officially limited to the current Indian Township Reservation, at , in eastern Washington County, Maine. It has a land area of 96.994 km² (37.450 sq mi) and a 2000 census resident population of 676 persons. Passamaquoddy have also lived on off-reservation trust lands in five Maine counties; these lands total almost four times the size of the reservation proper. They are located in northern and western Somerset County, northern Franklin County, northeastern Hancock County, western Washington County, and several locations in eastern and western Penobscot County. The total land area of these areas is 373.888 km² (144.359 sq mi). As of the 2000 census, there were no residents on these trust lands.
The Passamaquoddy also live in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada. They maintain active land claims in Canada but do not have legal status there 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.
Populations and languages
The Passamaquoddy population in Maine is about 2,500 people. About 500 people, most if not all over the age of 50, speak the Malecite-Passamaquoddy language, shared (other than minor differences in dialect) with the neighboring and related Maliseet people. It belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algic language family. The University of Maine published a comprehensive Passamaquoddy Dictionary in 2008. Another resource for the language is the online Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Portal, which includes many videos, subtitled in English and Passamaquoddy, of native speakers conversing in the language. Most of the people speak English as their first language.
While the Passamaquoddy population in Canada is much smaller than that in Maine, it has a formal structure and a chief, Hugh Akagi. Most of its people speak French and English. It is not recognized by the Canadian government as constituting a First Nation. Chief Akagi was authorized to represent the Passamaquoddy at events marking the 400th anniversary of French settlement of St Croix Island (the first French effort at permanent settlement in the new world). This indicates that the government had acknowledged the tribe to some extent, and progress is being made in formal recognition.
Special political status in Maine
The Passamaquoddy, along with the neighboring Penobscot Nation, are given special political status in the U.S. state of Maine. Both groups are allowed to send a nonvoting representative to the Maine House of Representatives. Although these representatives cannot vote, they may sponsor any legislation regarding American Indian affairs, and may co-sponsor any other legislation.
- Francis Joseph Neptune, Former Sakom
- Clayton Cleaves, Former Sakom
- Frederick Moore III, Sakom
- Vera Francis, Leptanet Sakom
- Marla Dana, Tribal Council Member
- Darren Paul, Tribal Council Member
- Newell Lewey, Tribal Council Member
- Philip Farrell II, Tribal Council Member
- Madonna Soctomah, Tribal Council Member
- John Dana, Tribal Council Member
- Simon Dumont, freestyle skier
- Mary Mitchell Gabriel, basketmaker, winner of a 1994 National Heritage Fellowship
- Clara Neptune Keezer, master basketmaker, awarded a 2002 National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts
- David Moses Bridges, master birch-bark canoe builder. Winner, 2005 First Peoples Fund, Community Spirit Award. 2007, Maine Arts Commission Traditional Arts Fellowship.
- Donald Soctomah, former tribal state representative, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
- Jeremy Frey, basketmaker, winner of the Best of Show award at the 53rd Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair
- Eric "Otter" Bacon, birch bark and ash basket maker, 2nd place at 53rd Heard Museum Guild Indian Market; Traditional baskets and SWAIA Indian Market- 2nd place in basket category.
- Molly Neptune Parker (Jeanette Katherine Parker), basketmaker, winner of 2012 National Heritage Fellowship
- George Neptune, basketmaker, grandson of Molly Neptune Parker.
Maps showing the approximate locations of areas occupied by members of the Wabanaki Confederacy (from north to south):
- Joint Tribal Council of the Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton (1st Cir. 1975)
- Sockabasin, Allen J. 2007. An Upriver Passamaquoddy. Thomaston, Maine: Tilbury House.
- Erickson, Vincent O. 1978. "Maliseet-Passamaquoddy". In Northeast, ed. Bruce G. Trigger. Vol. 15 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, pg. 135. Cited in Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pg. 401.
- Maliseet - Passamaquoddy Dictionary
- Rudin, Ronald. Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historian's Journey through Public Memory (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2009).
- "Native heritage source of strength for world-class athlete". Indian Country Today Media Network. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "NEA National Heritage Fellowships". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- Indian Township Reservation and Passamaquoddy Trust Land, Maine United States Census Bureau
- Passamaquoddy Tribal Government Web Site (Pleasant Point)
- Passamaquoddy Tribal Government Web Site (Indian Township)
- Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Portal (includes dictionary and videos)
- The Boston Globe Magazine, October 27, 1985 issue, article by Peter Anderson
- Contribution to Passamaquoddy Folk-Lore, by J. Walter Fewkes, reprinted from the Journal of American Folk-Lore, October–December, 1890, from Project Gutenberg
- Passamaquoddy Origins
- Acadian Commemorative Website
- , "An Unlikely Handshake Alters the Course of Maine's History," Portland Press Herald, July 5, 2014.