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Native American Nations of the Northeast States

Updated on July 5, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

A descendant of Mohawk Nation and trained in anthropology, Patty has researched and reported on indigenous peoples for over four decades.

Wah-Ta-Waso, Iroquois Nation. Photographed by Frank A. Rinehart, 1898.
Wah-Ta-Waso, Iroquois Nation. Photographed by Frank A. Rinehart, 1898. | Source

People of the Northeast

The American northeastern states have been home to a large number of Native North American Nations over the course of at least 10,000 years. Other groups were just passing through on their ways south or west.

A listing of approximately 50 groups that lived or still like in the Northeast is provided below, then organized by the original area of their homelands.

Tracked by DNA evidence, linguistic similarities, and archeological trails of artifacts, America's indigenous ancestors migrated from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest of Canada to criss-cross the eastern half of what is now the United States. Many were driven back to the West after the American Civil War, notably by the inhumane Indian Removal movement under President Andrew Jackson.

Northeast states.
Northeast states.

Changing Tribes and Native Migrations

Some of the following nations or tribes joined other groups to become larger organizations. At the same time, some other tribes split apart and formed new organizations and new names for themselves.

European explorers and settlers that entered North America actually muddied the waters further by giving some of the groups they encountered odd nicknames.Tribal groups gave each other nicknames as well, and Europeans mispronounced names to create still another layer of confusion.

Some of these names of tribes that have lived in the Northeast are:

Abenaki, Algonquin, Beothuk, Delaware, Erie, Fox, Fox & Sauk, The Fox People, Half Breeds/Metis, Huron, Illinois, Iroquois, Kickapoo, Long Tail and/or Cat People, Mahican, Mohican, Mascouten, Massachuset, Mattabesic, Menominee, Metis, Metoac, Miami, Micmaq, Mohawk, Mohegan/Mohican, Montagnais, Narragansett, Naked People, Nauset, Neutrals, Niantic, Nipissing, Nipmuc, Ojibwe, Oneida, Ottawa, Pennacook, Pequot, Pocumtuck, Potawatomi, Sauk, Shawnee, Susquehannock, Tionontati, Tuscarora, Wampanoag, Wappinger, Wenro, Winnebago. Many others likely exist.

It is difficult to know the correct names that the people themselves had or took on anywhere in North America, but federal and state recognition documents indicate the names such recognized groups accept.

Long cold winters with lessening resources helped to drive the indigenous peoples westward and southward as settlers helped to deplete food sources. However, natives learned to extract maple syrup and even make maple syrup candy in the winter and shared their recipe: Maple Sugar Camp.

The northeastern peoples also learned to use tree barks and animal hides to cover their camp lodges and storage areas in the cold climate. Overall, they were good survivors.

Native Groups by US State

Lester Skeesuk, a Narraganset-Mohegan
Lester Skeesuk, a Narraganset-Mohegan

Massachusetts

Wampanoag or Aquinnah Band of Gay Head, MA

US FEDERALLY NON-RECOGNIZED:

  • Nipmuc Tribal Council of Massachusetts (Hassanamisco Band)
  • Nipmuc Tribal Council of Massachusetts (Chaubunagungamang Band)
  • Mashpee Tribe
  • Narragansett Tribe of Indians

A
Gay Head MA:
Gay Head, Aquinnah, MA 02535, USA

get directions

B
Plymouth MA:
Plymouth, MA, USA

get directions

New York. Many have lived in Pennsylvania.
New York. Many have lived in Pennsylvania. | Source

New York

  • Cayuga Indian Nation, Iroquois.
  • Mohawk Reserve, along the northern border with Ontario.
  • Oneida Indian Nation of New York, Iroquois.
  • Onondaga Nation, Iroquois.
  • Seneca Nation, Iroquois.
  • Poospatuck
  • St. Regis Mohawk Council Chiefs, Iroquois.
  • Shinnecock
  • Tonawanda Band of Senecas, Iroquois.
  • Tuscarora Nation, Iroquois.

Marriage In the Longhouse: A Mohawk Valentine - Sacred Marriage

  • "Smiles the earth, and smile the waters, Smile the cloudless skies above us, But I lose the way of smiling, When thou art no longer near me!"

Iroquois Longhouse
Iroquois Longhouse
Poet Pauline E. Johnson (1862-1913). "Tekahionwake" was from Brantford, Ont., daughter of an English-woman and a Mohawk chief.
Poet Pauline E. Johnson (1862-1913). "Tekahionwake" was from Brantford, Ont., daughter of an English-woman and a Mohawk chief. | Source

New Hampsire

  • Abenaki Nation

Vermont

  • Abenaki Nation, including the separate St. Francis/Skokoki Band of Abenakis of Vermont

Rhode Island

  • Narragansett

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
Mashantucket Pequot Tribe at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center | Source

Connecticut

  • Mashantucket Pequot Tribe
  • Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut

US FEDERALLY NON-RECOGNIZED in Connecticut:

  • Eastern Pequots of Connecticut. See: Pequot resort hotel complex and history of wealth. One group of Pequots, has been the richest tribal organization in the US. These Eastern Pequot people have become not only the tribe or nation in America, but they also have become the most racially diverse. However, all members trace their lineage to a common nuclear family.
  • Nipmuc Indian Bands
  • Paucatuck Eastern Pequots
  • Scaticook Bands

Maine

  • Aroostook Band of Micmaq
  • Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
  • Penobscot Nation of Old Town
  • Passamaquoddy Indian Township Reservation

Pennsylvania Land Purchases from Natives

Source

Pennsylvania

  • Conoy: No longer living in the state.
  • Delaware Nation: Moved through to Ohio.
  • Erie Indian Moundbuilders Tribal Nation: Not recognized by federal or state governments.
  • Iroquois Confederation: Some of these nations lived in portions of what is now Pennsylvania and were active in the French and Indian War. Some married into British families and became landowners and business people.
  • Lenape: Part of the Sioux Nation. Not recognized by either federal or state.
  • Mahican/Mohican/Mohegan: Moved to other lands.
  • Munsee: Moved out of the state.
  • Saponi: Absorbed by the Cayuga Nation; spoke a Siouan language.
  • Susquehannock: Very active around the Endless Mountains, Back Mountain, Scranton and its Steamtown before other settlers arrived.
  • Nanticoke: Spoke/speak a language similar to the Conoy tongue.
  • Shawnee: Many moved west to become Plains Indians. The United Remnant Band remains in western Ohio around Yellow Springs.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      So are the Native Americans. :)

    • profile image

      gconyhiben 

      6 years ago

      you guys are aaaaaawwwwwwsssssssooooooooommmmmmmmd awsome

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That's a good idea! I think I will look for stamps first and see if there are any.

    • gconeyhiden profile image

      gconeyhiden 

      6 years ago from Brooklyn, N.Y.C. U.S.A

      I have studied the people of the americas and used to read every book and visit every site i knew of if i could. i even found a broken spearhead on a beach in brooklyn's NYC marine park possibly a rockaways tribe relic? or other related tribe and it was a joyful and sad moment all in one. I lost all my books when i moved to the other side of the world but im thrilled to see all these great hubs on the peoples of the americas. it would be nice if the US govt issued a commemorative coin or stamp set featuring our heroic and beautiful native peoples. the profits could be used to help out the more needy tribes. thanks for the great hub.

    • profile image

      SAM  

      7 years ago

      IT LOOK GOOD THERE ALSOME AT THE NORTHEAST

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I'm adding new information and photos. There is so much to track and learn.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Oh Patty. That was beautiful, especially the music. The book "Bury my heart at wounded knee" brings tears to my eyes. I can't thank you enough for all these hubs on Native Americans. Bless you.

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