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Abenaki(both: ăbnä`kē), Native North Americans of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The name Abnaki was given to them by the French; properly it should be Wabanaki, a word that refers to morning and the east and may be interpreted as those "living at the sunrise." The Abnaki lived mostly in what is now Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Abnaki legend has it that they came from the Southwest, but the exact time is unsure. The Abnaki resided in settled villages, often surrounded by palisades, and lived by growing corn, fishing, and hunting. They were early involved in the French fur trade. Their own name for their conical huts covered with bark or mats, wigwamwigwam
, dwelling found among the Algonquian of the Eastern woodlands area of the United States. The wigwam was usually conical, arborlike, or domed. Some were small, accommodating a single family; others were large communal dwellings.
..... Click the link for more information. , came to be generally used in English. After a series of bloody conflicts with British colonists in the late 17th and 18th cent. (see French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ), the Abnaki and related tribes (the Malecite, the Mi'kmaq, the Passamaquoddy, the Pennacook, the Penobscot, and others) withdrew into Canada, where they received protection from the French. In 1990 there were some 1,500 Abnaki in the United States, mostly in N Vermont. About 1,000 live in Quebec and another group lives in Maine. There are also around 2,500 Passamaquoddy, mostly in Maine (see separate entries for other related tribes).