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(məhē`kən), confederacy of 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.
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). The Mahican were of the Eastern Woodlands culture area. In the early 17th cent. they occupied both banks of the upper Hudson River extending north almost to Lake Champlain. Living to the northeast were the Pennacook, and to the southwest the Wappinger; both were closely related to the Mahican. The MoheganMohegan
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Also called the Mohican, they were the eastern branch of the Mahican. In the early 17th cent.
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 were a tribe of the Mahican Confederacy and are to be distinguished from the larger group. However, both groups have on occasion been referred to as Mohicans. When the Dutch arrived in what is now New York the Mohawk had been at war with the Mahican for some time and had steadily driven the Mahican east of the Hudson River. The Mahican council fire, or capital, had been moved (1664) from Schodac, near Albany, eastward to what is now Stockbridge, Mass. The complete subjection and dispersal of the Mahican were hastened by the firearms provided to their enemies by the Dutch. Some of the Mahican moved west to join the Delaware, with whom they afterward moved to the Ohio region (where the Mahican refugees lost their identity). Others placed themselves under the protection of the Iroquois Confederacy in S central New York. Those remaining in Massachusetts joined the Massachusetts Stockbridge; other Mahican descendants live in Connecticut and Wisconsin.


See A. Skinner, Notes on Mahikan Ethnology (1925).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The diplomats addressed the Fort Orange court, which had jurisdiction over the Dutch Esopus settlers, and spoke not only for the Mohawk villages but also for the Mahicans and Catskills over whom the Mohawks had already extended their authority.
The Esopus began to make overtures for peace through the Mohawks and the Mahicans. The war was also costing the colony revenues from the beaver trade.
(31.) Stuyvesant to the Magistrates of Fort Orange, July 12, 1663, NYCD, 13:277-78; La Montagne and Jeremias van Rensselaer to Stuyvesant, July 28, 1663, NYCD, 13:28; Meeting with Mohawks and Mahicans, November 1663, NYCD, 13:310.
(16.) For Jacques in diplomacy, see La Montagne to Stuyvesant, June 29, 1663, NYCD, 13:264-65; Meeting with Mohawk chiefs, July 18-19, 1666, LIR, 29-31; Meeting between envoys from Canada and the Mohawks, August 3-5,1666, LIR, 31-32; Negotiations with the Mohawks for the handing over of Mahican prisoners, June 4-6, 1677, LIR, 40-42; Negotiations between the agents of Maryland and Virginia and the Five Nations, July 21-August 22, 1677, LIR, 42-48; The Magistrates of Albany to Barent Janse, Commissary at Schenectady, June 26, 1682, ARSCM, 3:264.
Given that Edwards had to rely on a translator to convey his message, he no doubt attempted to simplify his delivery and avoid complex constructions that he believed would be difficult to render in Mahican, for Edwards believed that "there are not many good philosophers" among the American Indians.
Pap-scan-ee--Looking east towards Massachusetts (circa 1600), a lone Mahican tribesman makes his way back towards his summer camp on the Papscanee Creek, a tributary to the Hudson River.