The Massachusett are a Native American people and ethnic group in the United States Commonwealth of Massachusetts, mostly inhabiting their traditional homeland which covers much of present-day Greater Boston.
There are two federally recognized Indian tribes in Massachusetts today.
Among them were the Abenaki (a-be-NAWK-e), Micmac (MIK-mak), Pennacook (PEN-uh-cook), Pequot (PEE-kot), Mohegan (mo-HEE-gun), Nauset (NAW-set), Narragansett (nair-uh-GAN-set), Nipmuc (NIP-muk), Woronoco (wor-oh-NOH-koh), and Wampanoag (wahm-puh-NOH-uhg).
The name ” Massachusetts ” originates with native Americans in the Massachusetts Bay area (from the language of the Algonquian nation). The name translates roughly as “at or about the great hill.” All State Name Origins.
From 1615 to 1619, the Wampanoag suffered an epidemic, long suspected to be smallpox. Modern research, however, has suggested that it may have been leptospirosis, a bacterial infection which can develop into Weil’s syndrome. It caused a high fatality rate and decimated the Wampanoag population.
The Nipmuc Indians are the tribal group occupying the central part of Massachusetts, northeastern Connecticut and northwestern Rhode Island. The Nipmuc Nation is a state-recognized band with approximately 500 enrolled members today based at the Hassanamisco Reservation (in Grafton, MA ).
The Wampanoag are one of many Nations of people all over North America who were here long before any Europeans arrived, and have survived until today. Many people use the word “Indian” to describe us, but we prefer to be called Native People. Today, about 4,000-5,000 Wampanoag live in New England.
The word Massachusetts is an Algonquin Indian word which roughly translates to “large hill place” or “at the great hill.” In the native language the word is spelled massa-adchu-es-et, where “massa” means “large,” “adchu” means “hill,” “es” is a diminutive suffix and “et” is a locative suffix that identifies a place.
This land is the territory of the Massachusett and their neighbors the Wampanoag, and Nipmuc Peoples, who have stewarded this land for hundreds of generations. Today, Boston is home to thousands of Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work here.
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Eastern Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming. Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria, California. Elk Valley Rancheria, California. Ely Shoshone Tribe of Nevada. Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California.
The many Algonquian tribes include the Abenakis, Algonquins, Arapahos, Attikameks, Blackfeet, Cheyennes, Crees, Gros Ventre, Illinois, Kickapoo, Lenni Lenape / Delawares, Lumbees ( Croatan Indians), Mahicans (including Mohicans, Stockbridge Indians, and Wappingers), Maliseets, Menominees, Sac and Fox, Miamis, Métis/Michif
Like many other Native American tribes, the Algonquin Indians were deeply spiritual and had a religion founded on animism, the belief that a spiritual world animated and interacted with the physical world.
Originally called Tremontaine for the three hills in the area, the Puritans later changed the settlement’s name to Boston, after the town in Lincolnshire, England, from which many Puritans originated.
Massachusetts is the plural form of the word Massachusett, the native people who lived there. Massachusett means “at the large hill” in reference to the Great Blue Hill.