Abnaki Bands, Gens and Clans

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Many tribes have sub-tribes, bands, gens, clans and phratry. Often very little information is known or they no longer exist. Here, we have included the Abnaki Bands, Gens and Clans that we know about. If you can give us more information on a band, gen, or clan, or know of ones not listed here, please let us know.

The Abenaki were organized by clans (or families). These families used to be exogamous, meaning marriage was prohibited within the same genus or gen, but this ban was lost in the time of Lewis H. Morgan in the 19th century. In Morgan’s time, the Abenaki had the following gens:

1. Mals sum (wolf)

2. Pis-suh or Pis-dry (wild black cat)

3. Ah-weh-soos (bear)

4. Skooke (snake)

5. Ah lunk-soo (colored animals)

6. Ta-ma-kwa (beaver)

7. Ma-guh-le-1oo (Caribbean)

8. Kja- bah-seh (sturgeon, the fish of the family Acipenseridae)

9. Moos-kwa-suh or Moos-kwa-dry (muskrat)

10. K’ che-ga-gong-go or K ‘will-he-gong-go. (?)

11. Meh- ko-a (squirrel)

. 12. Che-gwa-lis (the colorful animals – meaning spotted frogs)

13. Koos koo or Koo Koos (crane)

14. Ma-da- weh-soos (porcupine)