The Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Indians were among the first Native Americans to have contact with Europeans. The wide bays along the Maine coast attracted the attention of fishermen and explorers searching for a sea route through the continent as early as the sixteenth century.
Passamaquoddy, Algonquian-speaking North American Indians who lived on Passamaquoddy Bay, the St. Croix River, and Schoodic Lake on the boundary between what are now Maine, U.S., and New Brunswick, Can.
Usually the Passamaquoddy tribe would travel to the coast in summertime to fish, hunt porpoise, and plant corn, and then back inland during the winter to hunt game. Fish is still important to their diet today. The Passamaquoddy also gathered berries and wild plants to eat, and made maple syrup from tree sap.
Penobscot, Algonquian-speaking North American Indians who lived on both sides of the Penobscot Bay and throughout the Penobscot River basin in what is now the state of Maine, U.S. They were members of the Abenaki confederacy.
The Passamaquoddy (Peskotomuhkati or Pestomuhkati in the Passamaquoddy language) are an American Indian/First Nations people who live in northeastern North America, primarily in Maine, United States, and New Brunswick, Canada.
Wabanaki or Wa·ba·na·kis. A member of a Native American confederacy composed of the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot peoples, formed in the mid-1700s in opposition to the Iroquois confederacy and the English colonists.
Today, the four Maine Indian tribes are the Maliseet, Micmac, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy, known collectively as the Wabanaki, “People of the Dawnland.” Each community maintains its own tribal government, community schools, cultural center and each manages its respective lands and natural resources.
At some point, French missionary priests settled among the Penobscot and the tribe adopted Christian teachings. But, the Europeans introduced two more things to the tribe – alcohol and infectious diseases, both of which would take their toll on the tribe.
Penobscot is a musical language with complicated verbs. If you ‘d like to know a few easy Penobscot words, kwai kwai is a friendly greeting and woliwoni means ” thank you.” You can listen to a Penobscot elder talk in her language here and see a Penobscot picture glossary here.
In the 1700’s, the Micmac, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, and Penobscot people joined together into an alliance known as the Wabanaki Confederacy, and after that, some Micmac people settled in Maine as well. Their descendants still live in Maine today.