Massachusetts Indian Tribes
FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES
(Federal List Last Updated 5/16)
- Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribal Council (Letter of Intent to Petition 07/07/1975. Federal recognition February 15, 2007, but was omitted from the March 22, 2007 issue of the Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs found in the Federal Register.)
- Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) of Massachusetts
STATE RECOGNIZED TRIBES
(Not recognized by the Federal Governemnt)
Massachusetts considers the listed entities to be state-recognized tribes but has not established a formal recognition process, according to an official we spoke with from the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs. These entities are acknowledged by Massachusetts as historic tribes.
- Chappaquiddick Wampanoag
- Chaubunnagungamaug Nipmucks
- Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe
- Nipmuc Nation (Hassanamisco Band) Letter of Intent to Petition 04/22/1980; formerly part of Nipmuc Nation (separated May 22, 1996); Proposed finding in progress. Declined to acknowledge on 6/25/2004, 69 FR 35667; Reconsideration request before IBIA (not yet effective)
- Nipmuc Tribal Council of Massachusetts (Chaubunagungamang Band)In addition Wampanoags unaffiliated with the Mashpee or Aquinnah and tribal members from Maine tribes [formerly under Massachusetts jurisidction till statehood in 1820] are represented by the State Commission on Indian Affairs.
- Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe
- Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe
UNRECOGNIZED / PETITIONING TRIBES
- Chaubunagungamaug Band of the Nipmuck Nation, Webster/Dudley. Letter of Intent to Petition 04/22/1980 as part of Nipmuc Nation; separate letter of intent 5/31/1996; proposed finding was in progress. Declined to acknowledge on 6/25/2004, 69 FR 35664; Reconsideration request before IBIA (not yet effective)
- Cowasuck Band-Abenaki People. Letter of Intent to Petition 01/23/1995.
- Federation of old Plimoth Indian Tribes, Inc. Letter of Intent to Petition 05/16/2000.
- Narragansett Tribal of Indians
- New England Coastal Schaghticoke Indian Association and Tribal Council Nipmuc Nation. Letter of Intent to Petition 04/22/1980; divided into the State recognized Nipmuc Nation (Hassanamisco Band) and the unrecognized Chaubunagungamaug Band of the Nipmuck Nation
- Pocasset Wampanoag Indian Tribe. Letter of Intent to Petition 02/01/1995
- Quinsigamond Band of the Nipmucs
- Rebel Deaf Panther Tribe International
- United American Indians of New England
FIRST CONTACT TO PRESENT
The coast of what is now Massachusetts was probably skirted by Norsemen in the 11th century, but in the late 16th century, European ships explored the New England coast, led by Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 and Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602. Their explorations were based in part upon the information of Europeans on fishing voyages who had reached North America during the 16th century.
When European explorers first came to the coast of what is now Massachusetts, there were already tens of thousands of Native Americans living there. They were all part of the Algonkian family and lived in organized communities where they farmed, hunted, and fished. They lived in dome-shaped houses called wigwams and produced their own ceramics, textiles, leather, and basketry.
These Algonkian tribes included the Massachusetts, Mohican, Nauset, Wampanoag, Pennacook, and Pocumtuck. The pre-European population of Massachusetts was a small number of relatively independent native American tribes. About 30,000 Indians from the Algonquian tribes lived in the area. When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, many had already died of diseases brought to America from the Europeans. Only 7,000 Native Americans remained in Massachusetts at that time.
PRE-CONTACT MASSACHUSETTS TRIBES
PRE-HISTORIC CULTURES IN MASSACHUSETTS
- 11th century - The coast of what is now Massachusetts was probably skirted by Norsemen
- 1498 - English explorer John Cabot sails along Massachusetts coast.
The pre-European population of Massachusetts was a small number of relatively independent native American tribes. About 30,000 Indians from the Algonquian tribes lived in the area.