Algonquian Languages

This category contains a list of links to more information on each of the tribes included in the Algonquian language group.

Many people mistakenly believe that Algonquian is the name of a specific tribe. While there is a loose confederation of Algonquin Nations in Canada, algonquian is actually a language group which includes many tribes who speak a related language which contains several dialects and many variations that stemmed from one once common language.

The languages which originated in this language group now have their own tribal names and are distinct languages which are variations of the original group.

These new languages have some words which are common among many tribes, while other words are distinctive to just one tribe and are not understood by speakers of another language that originated in this language group.

Algonquian Nations

The origins of the name Algonquin are unclear. It is often said to be a Mohawk name meaning “bark-eater,” but that is mistaken– the Mohawk name for the Algonquin tribe was Adirondack (which does mean bark-eaters.) “Algonquin” may have come from the Maliseet word elehgumoqik (“our allies,”) the Mi’kmaq word algoomaking (“of the fish-spearing-place”), or the Maliseet word elakanqin (“they are good dancers.”)

In their own language, the Algonquin people call themselves Anicinàbe (“original people”) and their language Anicinàbemowin (“original people’s language.”)

Since this is the same self-designation used by the Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes, Algonquin people today most often use the names Algonquin or Omàmiwinini to differentiate themselves from their these politically independent tribes.

Alternate Spellings of Algonquian

Alternate spellings of these tribal names include Algonkin, Algonkian, Algoumequin, Algic, Anicinàpe, Anicinabe, Anishinabe, Anishnabe, Anicinàbek, Anishnabeg, Anishnabek, Anicinàpemowin, Anicinapemi8in, Anishinàbemiwin, Omàmiwininiwak, and Omàmiwininìmowin.

Algonquian Sub Nations

Abitibi(Abitibiwinni, Pikogan)

Barriere Lake (Lac Rapide, Rapid Lake)

Bonnechere Dumoine

Hunter’s Point

KipawaLac des Quinze

Mainwawaki (Mainwaki)








Timiskamin (Timiskaming, Temiskaming, Timiscimi)

Abitibiwinni (Dominion Abitibi, Pikogan)

Eagle Village (Kebaowek, Kipawa)

Kitcisakik (Grand Lake Victoria, Grand Lac Victoria)

Kitigan Zibi (Maniwaki, River Desert)

Lac-Simon Timiskaming (Timiscamigue, Notre Dame du Nord, Ville Marie)

Winneway (Long Point First Nation)

Wolf Lake (Hunter’s Point)

Golden Lake (Pikwakanagan)


Amalecite (Maliseet)








Gros Ventre













Ojibwa (OjibwayOjibwe, Chippewa, Anishinabeg)

Ottawa – The name Ottawa is derived from the Algonquian adawe, meaning ‘to trade,’ an apt name for the tribe, who had an active trading relationship with the related Chippewa and Potawatomi as well as other tribes of the region.

Like the Chippewa, they built birch bark canoes and harvested wild rice.

Ottawa Chief Pontiac rose by 1755 as one of the most important Indian leaders of the era.





Tête de Boule (Atikamekw, Attikamekw, Attikamek, Atikamek) – Were part of the Montagnais or Cree. Tête de Boule is a French phrase that means “Ball Heads.”


Iroquet – Known to the Huron as the Atonontrataronon or Ononchataronon, they lived along Ontario’s South Nation River. There is also a famous chief of the same name.

Kichesipirini (meaning: “people of the great river”) – Largest and most powerful group of Algonkin. Known variously as: Algoumequins de l’Isle, Allumette, Big River People, Gens d l’Isle, Honkeronon (Huron), Island Algonkin, Island Indians, Island Nation, Kichesippiriniwek, Nation de l’Isle, Nation of the Isle, and Savages de l’Isle. Main village was on Morrison’s (Allumette) Island.

Kinounchepirini (Keinouche, Kinonche, Pickerel, Pike) – sometimes listed as an Algonkin band, but after 1650 associated with the Ottawa. Originally found along the lower Ottawa River below Allumette Island.

Matouweskarini (Madawaska, Madwaska, Matouchkarine, Matouashita, Mataouchkarini, Matouechkariniwek, Matouescarini). Lived on the Madawaska River in the Upper Ottawa Valley.Nibachis – Muskrat Lake near present-day Cobden, Ontario.

Otaguottaouemin (Kotakoutouemi, Outaoukotwemiwek). Upper Ottawa River above Allumette Island.

Otaguottaouemin (Kotakoutouemi, Outaoukotwemiwek)

Quenongebin Sagaiguninini (Saghiganirini)

Saginitaouigama (Sagachiganiriniwek)

Weskarini (Algonkin Proper, La Petite Nation, Little Nation, Ouaouechkairini, Ouassouarini, Ouescharini, Ouionontateronon [Huron],Petite Nation) – North side of the Ottawa River along the Lievre and the Rouge Rivers in Quebec.

Algonquian Now

Long Island Algonquians are mostly Mohegan Indians.

New York Algonquians are usually Mahicans and Munsee Delawares.

New England Algonquians include the Wampanoag in Massachusetts and the Mohegans in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Maine Algonquians are the Wabanaki tribes.

Mid-Atlantic Algonquians include the Lenni Lenape in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the Nanticokes in Delaware and Maryland.

Virginia Algonquians are mostly Powhatan

Carolina Algonquians are known as the Lumbee (Croatan).

Ohio Valley Algonquian Tribes were mostly destroyed by smallpox epidemics and Iroquois attacks, but the Shawnee survived.

Extinct Algonquian Tribes


Algonquin Tribes vs Algonquian Languages

Anthropologists invented these two confusing terms, intending “Algonquin” to refer to one specific language and “Algonquian” to refer to all the languages related to the Algonquin language.

The Algonquin tribe call themselves Anishinabe, and they live in Canada and Maine in the United States. You might also know them by their English name: Abenaki.

Algonquian Family Tree

Carolina Algonquian(United States) (also known as Pamlico, Pamtico, Pampticough, Christianna Algonquian) (Extinct)
Central Algonquian(23)

Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (9)

Atikamekw (Canada)
Moose Cree (Canada)
Northern East Cree (Canada)
Plains Cree (Canada)
Southern East Cree (Canada)
Swampy Cree (Canada)
Woods Cree (Canada)
Montagnais (Canada)
Naskapi (Canada)

Ojibwa (8)

Algonquin (Canada)
Chippewa (United States)
Central Ojibwa (Canada)
Eastern Ojibwa(Canada)
Northwestern Ojibwa (Canada)
Severn Ojibwa (Canada)
Western Ojibwa (Canada)
Ottawa (Canada)

Kickapoo (United States)
Menominee (United States)
Meskwaki (United States)
Miami (United States) (aka Illinois and Illinois-Miami) (Officially extinct but a revitalization program is in progress since an extensive dictionary exists)
Potawatomi (United States)
Shawnee (United States)

Eastern Algonquian(10)


Unami (also known as Lenape) (Extinct)

Northern Unami
Southern Unami

Eastern Abnaki,(United States)(also known as Abenaki or Abenaki-Penobscot)

Penobscot (also known as Old Town or Old Town Penobscot)

Etchemin (uncertain) (Extinct)
Loup A (probably Nipmuck) (uncertain) (Extinct)
Loup B (Uncertain) (Extinct)
Western Abnaki (Canada) (also known as Abnaki, St. Francis, Abenaki, or Abenaki-Penobscot)
Malecite-Passamaquoddy (Canada) (also known as Maliseet-Passamquoddy)

Maliseet (also known as Malecite)

Massachusett (United States) (Extinct)

North Shore (United States)
Natick (United States)
Wampanoag (United States)
Nauset (United States)
Cowesit (United States)

Micmac (Canada and United States) (also known as Micmac, Mi’kmaq, Mi’gmaq, or Mi’kmaw)
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett (United States) (aka Mohegan-Pequot-Montauk)

Mohegan (Extinct)
Narragansett (Extinct)
Pequot (Extinct)
Shinnecock (uncertain) (Extinct)

Munsee (Canada)
Nanticoke (United States)

Nanticoke (Extinct)
Piscataway (also known as Conoy)

Powhatan (United States) (also known as Virginia Algonquian) (Extinct)

Quiripi (also known as Quinnipiak or Connecticut) (Extinct)
Naugatuck (Extinct)
Unquachog (Extinct)

Plains Algonquian (5)

Arapaho (3)

Arapaho (United States)
Gros Ventre (United States)
Nawathinehena (United States)

Blackfoot (Canada) and Blackfeet (United States)
Cheyenne (United States)

Algonquian (Algic) Language Family

Spoken in the northern US and Canada, Algonquian languages include: 

  • Central Algonquian
  • Cree
  • Attikamekw
  • Cree
  • Michif(Cree-French creole)
  • Montagnais (Innu-aimun)
  • Naskapi
  • Ojibwa
  • Algonkin
  • Ojibwe (Chippewa, Anishinabemowin)
  • Kickapoo
  • Menomini
  • Mesquakie-Sauk (Sac and Fox)
  • Miami-Illinois
  • Potawatomi
  • Shawnee
  • Eastern
  • Abnaki-Penobscot
  • Delaware (Lenape)
  • Maliseet-Passamaquoddy
  • Mi’kmaq
  • Mohegan and Mahican
  • Munsee Delaware
  • Powhatan
  • Wampanoag
  • Plains
  • Arapaho
  • Arapaho
  • Gros Ventre
  • Blackfoot
  • Cheyenne
  • Lumbee
  • Wiyot
  • Yurok


Algonquian Language Links






Article Index:

Algonquian tribes and their names

This is a list of tribes or sub-tribes who are part of the Algonquian linguistic group. (from the word “alligewinenk” which means “come together from distant places.”) This is a work in progress. There are probably others. The Algonquian-speaking (linguistic) groups include:

Yurok Language

Yurok is an Algonquian language. The Yurok Tribe is California’s largest Indian Tribe with nearly 5,000 enrolled members. The Yurok Indians are also known historically as the Pohlik-la, Ner-er-er, Petch-ik-lah and Klamath River Indians.