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A Wabanaki Genealogist's Reading List

Last Updated 9/16/2008

A major handicap faced by most family historians is a lack of understanding of the culture and lifestyle of the people they are tracing. The following list has been compiled specifically to assist genealogists working on New England Native Families. This material will help you understand the particular problems you face and provide insight concerning new paths to follow. Some are included because they contain family histories, biographies, or important general background. Some excellent sources have been left out because they are not readily available to the general public.

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AUNT SARAH: Woman of the Dawnland - The 108 Winters of an Abenaki Healing Woman. Trudy Ann Parker, Dawnland Publications, P.O. Box 223, Lancaster NH 03584.

You will laugh, cry, and learn a great deal from this book. You will follow Sarah and her family through the nineteenth century as they struggle to fit in a foreign world. Although it is written as a novel, a tremendous amount of research has gone into making this an accurate story of the life of Sarah Jackson (a very real person) and of Abenaki survival. [We need more like this! -NL]

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The Life of John W. Johnson - Maine Historical Society has a copy and it is NOW ON-LINE at this web site.

An important resource if you are researching Wabanaki families in the nineteenth century. John's story covers the period 1829 to 1860 and takes us from life in the forest to life among the Whites. This document contains valuable information and insight into the Wabanaki family unit and it's survival techniques. Learn about basket makers, entertainers, and Indian Doctors, their lifestyles, opinions, travel methods, earnings, treatment by others, and many other things too numerous to list. We have provided three indexes to assist you; People, Places, & Things.

Life of John W. Johnson provided to you by the volunteers of Ne-Do-Ba

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A KEY INTO THE LANGUAGE OF WOODSPLINT BASKETS. Edited by Ann McMullen & Russell Handsman, American Indian Archaeological Institute, 1987, 0-936322-04-7.

An excellent source of information for anyone interested in splint baskets. But, more important, some excellent essays on the basket making traditions and families of the mid 1800s and early 1900s. Lots of pictures of people and baskets. Recommended for any researcher working with basket making families in New England.

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MOLLY SPOTTED ELK: A Penobscot in Paris. Bunny McBride, Unv. of Oklahoma Press, 1995, 0-8061-2989-1

A very well written biography, set in the early to mid twentieth century.

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NORTHEAST INDIAN LIVES 1632-1816. Robert Grumet, Unv. of Mass., 1996, 1-55849-001-9

A compilation of 15 academic papers with documented sources. The biographies cover a wide range of Native people throughout all of the Northeast and are written by some of the most talented and dedicated researches of our day.

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AFTER KING PHILIP'S WAR Presence and Persistence in Indian New England. ed. Colin Calloway, Unv. Press of New England, 1997, 0-87451-819-9.

A compilation of 10 academic papers with documented sources covering the subject of Native survival techniques in New England.

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OLD JOHN NEPTUNE And Other Maine Indian Shamans. Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, The Southworth-Anthoensen Press, 1945. Reprinted 1980, Marsh Island Reprint, Orono ME.

This is a classic and a must for anyone working on Penobscot families in the mid to late 1800s. Eckstorm is often cited and often criticized by others. Find out for yourself what it's all about. This has been reprinted but may be out of print, once again!

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THE WABANAKIS OF MAINE AND THE MARITIMES: A resource book about Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Micmac and Abenaki Indians. Maine Indian Program of American Friends Service Committee, 1989 (includes language CD).

This is one of the best all around resources on the Wabanaki groups of Northern North America and covers from ancient times to modern day. It includes many useful maps, as well as time lines, history, culture, stories, crafts, and language.

If your local library or bookstore will not get it for you, visit the AFSC web site for ordering information;

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DAWNLAND ENCOUNTERS: Indians and Europeans in Northern New England. Colin G. Calloway, University Press of New England, 1991, 0-87451-594-7.

A very worthwhile publication to have on your bookshelf. There is a little bit of everything here. Very good general background as well as names, places, and dates.

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BLACK ROBE ON THE KENNEBEC. Mary R. Calvert, Monmouth Press, 1991.

DAWN OVER THE KENNEBEC. Mary R. Calvert, Monmouth Press, 1983, 0-9609914-3-3

A nice pair of books on the Abenaki of the Kennebec River. One of the few available sources of information on the relationship of the Abenaki People and the Jesuit Priests that served them. Inclusion of the personal correspondence of Father Raile makes these important sources of early Abenaki lifestyle.

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THE WESTERN ABENAKIS OF VERMONT, 1600-1800: War, Migration, and the Survival of an Indian People. Colin G. Calloway, University of Oklahoma Press, 1990, 0-8061-2274-9.

THE ORIGINAL VERMONTERS: Native Inhabitants, Past and Present. William A. Haviland & Marjory W. Power, University Press of New England, 1994, 0-87451-667-6.

These two are MUST reading for anyone with Western Abenaki heritage. Although both use the word Vermont in the title, you will find they actually cover a much broader focus.

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ELITEKEY - MicMac Material Culture From 1600ad to the Present. Ruth Holmes Whitehead, Nova Scotia Museum, 1980.

THE MI'KMAQ Resistance, Accommodation, and Cultural Survival. Harold Prins, Harcourt Brace, 1996, 0-03-053427-5

L'SITKUK; The Story of the Bear River Mi'kmaw Community. Darlene A. Ricker, Roseway Publ., 1997, 1-896496-05-9

MUST reads for those working on Mi'kmaq ancestry. You will find a great deal of valuable information and research sources in Prins THE MI'KMAQ. L'SITKUK contains some early vital records, family histories, and lots of wonderful family pictures.

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THE INDIANS OF MAINE: A Bibliographic Guide. Compiled by Roger B. Ray, Maine Historical Society, 1972 (4th edition).

I believe our edition is very out dated. If you are doing serious research on Native People in Maine, especially previous to 1850, you will want a current copy of this. It includes all important documents contained in the archives of the Maine Historical Society as well as other locations.

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NEW ENGLAND CAPTIVES CARRIED TO CANADA; Between 1677 and 1760 During the French and Indian Wars - 2 volumes. Emma Lewis Coleman, reprint of original 1925, Heritage Books, 1989. 1-55613-250-6, 1-55613-257-3.

A truly extensive work on the subject of Captives. It is included here for it's many first hand accounts of captivity and it's meticulous attention to names, dates, and places.

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Written by: Canyon Wolf for Ne-Do-Ba

Genealogist's will also want to visit our resource page Published Native Vital Records for a list of transcribed records in print.