A sachem or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American First Nation tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms (c.1622) from different Eastern Algonquian languages. Some sources contend the sagamore was a lesser chief than the sachem.
One source explains:
According to Captain John Smith, who explored New England in 1614, the Massachusett tribes called their kings "sachems" while the Penobscots (of present-day Maine) used the term "sagamos" (anglicized as "sagamore"). Conversely, Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley of Roxbury wrote in 1631 that the kings in the bay area were called sagamores, but were called sachems southward (in Plymouth). The two terms apparently came from the same root. Although "sagamore" has sometimes been defined by colonists and historians as a subordinate lord (or subordinate chief), modern opinion is that "sachem" and "sagamore" are dialectical variations of the same word.
|Eastern Algonquian||Proto-Eastern Algonquian||*sākimāw||Reconstructed original|
|Lenape||sakima||derived from earlier form sakimaw|
|Narragansett||sâchim||anglicized as sachem|
|Eastern Abnaki||sakəma||anglicized as sagamore|
|Central Algonquian||Proto-Central Algonquian||*hākimāw||Reconstructed original|
|Potawatomi||wgema||anglicised as Ogema|
|Northern East Cree||uchimaa|||
|Southern East Cree||uchimaa|||
Another sachem, Mahomet Weyonomon of the Mohegan tribe, travelled to London in 1735, to petition King George II for fairer treatment of his people. He complained that their lands were becoming overrun by English settlers. Other sachem included Uncas, Wonalancet, Madockawando, and Samoset.
In popular culture
Government and politics
- Theodore Roosevelt named his home near Oyster Bay, New York on Long Island, Sagamore Hill.
- "Sachem" was a title adopted by leaders of the Tammany societies, notably in Tammany Hall in New York City. The eponymous Tammany was a sachem of the Lenape. A fraternal society arose out of the Tammany societies which was named the Improved Order of Red Men, and to this day two of their national officers are known as the "Great Senior Sagamore" and the "Great Junior Sagamore."
- In the 1940s, the legislature of Indiana created the honorary title of "Sagamore of the Wabash", analogous to Kentucky Colonel. In 1996, the government designated "Sachem of the Wabash" as a higher honor.
- One of the oldest weekly newspapers in Canada is called The Grand River Sachem. It has been publishing since 1856 and is located in Caledonia, Ontario.
- James Fenimore Cooper featured a character called "The Sagamore" in his novel The Last of the Mohicans.
- Rick, the protagonist of Simon Spurrier's novel, The Culled (2006, book 1 of The Afterblight Chronicles), belongs to the Haudenosaunee people and is guided through crises by the sachem. Another character, named Hiawatha, saves Rick's life and advises him the Tadodaho have said Rick and Hiawatha's courses are "aligned".
- The 1838 poem "Sachem's-Wood" by James Abraham Hillhouse (son of United States Senator James Hillhouse) describes the demise of the free sachem and his people.
- Algonquin Regional High School, in Northborough, MA, named its art and poetry magazine Sachem after this Algonquin word.
- Laconia High School, in Laconia, NH, refers to all of its athletic teams as the "Sachems".
- Middleborough High School, in Middleboro, MA, refers to all of its athletic teams as the "Sachems".
- Pentucket Regional High School, in West Newbury, MA, refers to all of its athletic teams as the "Sachems".
- Saugus High School, in Saugus, MA, refers to all of its athletic teams as the "Sachems".
- Winchester High School, Massachusetts, refers to all of its athletic teams as the "Sachems".
- RHAM High School, in Hebron, CT, refers to all of its athletic teams as the "Sachems".
- "sachem". American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed.). Houghton Mifflin. 2000.
- "sagamore". American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed.). Houghton Mifflin. 2000.
- "sachem". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- "sagamore". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Co. 1973. p. 1018. ISBN 0-87779-308-5.
- Life & Times: Squaw Sachem", Hawthorne in Salem, The Daily Times Chronicle, Winchester Edition (MA), December 1999, accessed 27 Jan 2010
- "sakima". Lenape Talking Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- Goddard, Ives (1978). "Eastern Algonquian languages", in "Northeast", ed. Bruce G. Trigger. Vol. 15 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, pg. 75
- Francis, David A., Sr. et al. Maliseet - Passamaquoddy Dictionary. Mi'kmaq - Maliseet Institute
- Laurent, Joseph (1884) New familiar Abenakis and English dialogues the first ever published on the grammatical system
- Nichols, John, and Earl Nyholm. (1995). A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
- Mcgregor, Ernest. (1994). Algonquin Lexicon. Maniwaki, QC: Kitigan Zibi Education Council.
- Rhodes, Richard A. (1985). Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Bobbish-Salt, Luci et al. (2004–06). Northern EastCree Dictionary. Cree School Board.
- Neeposh, Ella et al. (2004–07). Southern EastCree Dictionary. Cree School Board.
- MacKenzie, Marguerite and Bill Jancewicz. (1994). Naskapi lexicon. Kawawachikamach, Quebec: Naskapi Development Corp.
- Note that this massa- element meaning "great" in the Massachusett language also appears in the name of the Massachusett (i.e. "Great Hills people") and subsequently in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- Governor's press release announcing creation of the Sachem
- Spurrier, Simon (2006). The Culled. Abaddon Books. p. 198. ISBN 9781849970136.
- https://www.alumniclass.com/pentucket. Missing or empty
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