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(wäm'pənō`ăg), confederation of Native North Americans whose language belongs to 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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). In the early 17th cent. they occupied the region extending E from Narragansett Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. The Wampanoag were sometimes referred to as the Pokanoket, from the name of their principal village. When the Pilgrims settled (1620) at Plymouth, the Wampanoag, although reduced by the pestilence of 1617, were powerful, living in some 30 villages. Their chief, MassasoitMassasoit
, c.1580–1661, chief of the Wampanoag. His name was Ousamequin (spelled in various ways); Massasoit is a title of leadership. One of the most powerful native rulers of New England, he went to Plymouth in 1621 and signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, which he
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, was very friendly to the settlers. His son, Metacom (Philip), however, was the central figure of the deadliest war with the colonists, King Philip's WarKing Philip's War,
1675–76, the most devastating war between the colonists and the Native Americans in New England. The war is named for King Philip, the son of Massasoit and chief of the Wampanoag. His Wampanoag name was Pumetacom, Metacom, or Metacomet.
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 (1675). The victory of the English brought ruin to the tribe. The Wampanoag were harried almost out of existence, the remnant consolidating with the Saconnet. However, in 1990 there were over 2,000 Wampanoag living in the United States, most of them in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag were of the Eastern Woodlands culture area (see under Natives, North AmericanNatives, North American,
peoples who occupied North America before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th cent. They have long been known as Indians because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were the outer reaches of the Indies (i.e.
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See M. A. Travers, The Wampanoag Indian Federation of the Algonquian Nation (rev. ed. 1961).

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References in periodicals archive ?
A nation lives in its culture, language and stories, Sayet, who wrote her master's degree thesis on sovereignty and literature in the Aquinnah Wampanoag Nation, spoke to about 30 people recently at the Woolworth Library & Research Center in Stonington.
Moses, a Gayhead Wampanoag. At sixteen, Paul shipped out as an ordinary
MASHPEE -- American Indians attending a Tuesday hearing at the Mashpee Wampanoag community center on Cape Cod said they support the federal government's plan to make it easier for tribes to gain federal recognition.
Should Wampanoags be able to take all they want for a tribal party of 500?
(16) Massachusetts provided the Indians with some security by creating the autonomous district of Mashpee in 1763, which gave Wampanoags some internal control over their affairs.
Flynn is concerned that some potential customers at his truck stop on Route 20 will travel to Taunton to buy gas, alcohol and cigarettes if the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is not required to charge taxes on those products once their casino and other businesses open.
Unlike the Wampanoags, who roasted their venison to charred black over a wood fire, I'll be grilling kebobs of tenderloin and backstrap wrapped in maple-flavored bacon, very concerned that they're not cooked beyond medium rare.
The Wampanoags cannot prove their ancestors rest beneath the waves, and religious objections can be lodged against most any project.
On Thursday, the executive director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Brona Simon, decided the Wampanoags' arguments merited further study - meaning yet another delay for the project.
The Mashpee Wampanoags already have warned that, without the state's cooperation, they might go ahead with a Class 2 gaming facility, consisting mainly of slot machines, rather than a Class 3 facility such as those that have brought riches to tribes and outside gaming interests in Connecticut.
Polito, R-Shrewsbury, said if the state can tap revenues from the casino planned by the Wampanoags, "one resort casino may be all we need." And, she said, "before any money would go back to cities and towns for tax relief, you have to pay for mitigation on host communities and funding to address the social ills associated with gaming.
An outbreak of disease - possibly smallpox, possibly bubonic plague - had decimated the Wampanoags and Nausets.