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Native American Tribes - L-M

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Medicine BagsLakota or Lakhota - Lakota is the name that this branch of the Sioux give themselves and means "Allies" or "Confederates," expressing their intimate relationship with the Dakota and Nakota. Known more fully as the Teton Lakota, they were allied with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe. In the 17th  century but were driven west by the Anishinaabe, who had acquired guns from the French. In their westward progress,  they drove the Kiowa out of the Black Hills in 1765. Their other chief enemies were the Pawnee, the Crow, and the Arikara. They adapted to their new environment and became practitioners of the Plains Culture. They are most famous for having led their allies to victory over George Armstrong Custer at the Little Big Horn in 1876. More ...

 

Lenape - See Delaware.

 

Lumbee - The Lumbee are original residents of North Carolina, primarily Robeson County, where they still live today. Unlike most Indian tribes in the United States, the Lumbee Indians do not have a reservation or a recognized tribal leadership. The Lumbees own their own land and have a strong community, but they are considered regular U.S. and North Carolina citizens and do not have sovereignty rights. Some Lumbee people are dissatisfied with this situation and are working to change it.

 

Mahican - A confederacy of Native People of the Eastern Woodlands with an Algonquian language. They occupied both banks of the Hudson River, almost to Lake Champlain. The Mohegans were a tribe of the Mahican group; both have been called Mohicans. By 1664 the Mohawk had driven the Mahicans East to Massachusetts. Their complete dispersal was hastened when their enemies were armed by the Dutch.


Maliseets - The Maliseet nation was a member of the Wabanaki Confederacy that controlled much of New England and the Canadian Maritimes. The Maliseets themselves are original natives of the area between Maine and New Brunswick. They lived on both sides of the border, because they were there before Canada and the United States became countries. Today, most Maliseets live on the Canadian side of the border, in New Brunswick and Quebec, with the exception of one band that lives in Maine.

 

Mandan - These indigenous people of the Plains, spoke a Siouan language. Said to have come from the East, by mid-18th century they lived in North Dakota. The Mandan were agricultural people with distinctive cultural traits, including a myth of origin in which their ancestors climbed from beneath the earth on the roots of a grapevine. Their numbers were severely depleted in the 19th century by war and epidemics; in 1990 there were 1,207 Mandans in the U.S. Today, the Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa (a band of 'Gros Ventre') live together on reservations in North Dakota More ...

 

Mascouten - Mascouten apparently comes from a Fox word meaning "little prairie people." The first occupied parts of southwestern Michigan but abandoned their location and joined Algonquin tribes in Wisconsin after having been attacked by the Ottawa and Neutral tribes. Continuing to move south and westward, the Mascouten tribe was eventually assimilated into the Algonquin, Wasbash, Kickapoo and other groups until they were completely absorbed.

 

Massachusett - Contact with Europeans probably occurred at an early date, perhaps as soon as John Cabot in 1497, but they were first mentioned specifically by Captain John Smith when he explored the coast of New England in 1614. Disaster struck immediately afterwards in the form of three separate epidemics that swept across New England between 1614 and 1617 destroying 3/4 of the original native population. No organized groups of the Massachusett are known to have survived after 1800.

 

Mattabesic - Mention is often made of the Wappinger and Mattabesic Confederations, but these organizations never really existed. In truth, the Mattabesic and Wappinger were not even tribes within the usual meaning of the word. What they really were was a collection of a dozen, or so, small tribes which spoke Algonquin, shared a common culture, and occupied a defined geographic area. The name of the Mattabesic comes from a single village that was on the Connecticut River near Middletown.

 

Menominee - Part of the Algonquian language family, the Menominee originally lived on and near the Menominee River in Wisconsin. The tribe is named after their staple food, wild rice. Tradition says that the Menominee were driven into the region later identified with them, from the neighborhood of Michilimackinac, but when they were first known to white men they were already there, and they remained there until 1854, though their villages sometimes extended to the Fox River and their later claims reached to the mouth of Milwaukee River on Lake Michigan and on the west side of Green Bay to the headwaters of Menominee and Fox Rivers. Westward they claimed the height of land between Green Bay and Lake Superior. A most noteworthy characteristic of the Menominee was their amazing ability to survive as an independent tribe in the midst of large and powerful neighbors including the Dakota, Ojibwe, and Winnebago. Their initial resistance to encroachment almost resulted in their destruction, but the Menominee adapted to the changed situation and maintained good relations with these tribes. In 1854 they ceded all their lands except a reserve on Wolf River, where many remain today. It was estimated that there were some 3,000 Menominee in 1650. The most conservative estimates made during the nineteenth century range from 1,600 to 1,900. In the first decade of the twentieth century their numbers were placed at 1,600. By 1937 they had increased to 2,221. Today, there are some 8,700 members of the Menominee Nation, many living in or near the village of Keshena, Wisconsin.
 

Metoac - The Metoac had the misfortune to occupy Long Island which was regarded as the best land in the Northeast. Each summer from the waters of Long Island Sound, the Metoac harvested clam shells which, during the winter, were painstakingly fashioned into small beads they called "wampompeag" - shortened later by the English into the more familiar form "wampum." The population of all of the Metoac tribes in 1600 was about 10,000, but the combined effects of warfare and epidemics left the Metoac at less than 500 by 1659. Today, there are two reservations on Long Island: the Shinnecock with nearly 400 residents; and the 200 Unkechaug at the Poospatock Reserve. Besides those on the reservations, there are more than 1,400 Metoac living in the immediate area. Although state recognition of the Shinnecock and Unkechaug dates from the colonial period, because they have never signed treaties with the United States, neither tribe is federally recognized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandan Man making an offer of the buffalo skull

Mandan Man making an offer of the buffalo skull, 1908. This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!

 

Miami - Originally from norther Indiana and the adjacent areas of Illinois and Ohio, the Miami had the reputation of being slow-spoken and polite with an inclination towards elaborate dress, especially among their chiefs. Tattooing was common to both sexes. Two Miami tribes, the Wea and Piankashaw ,were removed to Missouri during the 1820s, and moved again in 1832 moved to the Marais des Cygnes River in eastern Kansas where they later merged with the remnants of the Illinois. In 1867 the combined tribe was forced to relocate for a final time to northeastern Oklahoma. The remainder of the Miami tribes remained in Indiana until 1846 when 600 left for Kansas only to be moved to Oklahoma after the Civil War. Descendents of the Miami who remained in northern Indiana still live in their original homeland of northern Indiana.

 

Micmac FlagMicmac - Together with the Beothuk on Newfoundland, the Micmac were probably the first Native Americans to have regular contact with Europeans. This may have occurred as early as the 11th century with the early Viking settlements on the coast of North America, or perhaps with Basque fishermen who visited the Grand Banks before Columbus' voyage in 1492 but kept quiet about where they were catching all their fish. The Micmac (or Mi'kmaq) people still live in their original homeland in Nova Scotia today, where they are fighting for the right to fish and hunt as their ancestors used to.

 

Missouri - A Siouian tribe, they lived in and gave their name to the state of Missouri. Their name means "one who has dugout canoes" in the Illinois language . In their own language, the Missouri called themselves Niúachi. In the 17th Century, they lived on the river after which they were named and extended as far north as the Platte River. In a war against the Sac and Fox, in1798, they were soundly defeated, and were scattered among the Kanza, Osage, and Otoe; but in time they recovered and were again established in their own villages. They suffered greatly from the smallpox and from a war with the Osage, so that by 1885 only 40 were known to have survived. Today they remain part of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma.

 

Miwok, also spelled Miwuk or Me-Wuk - this refers to a number of Native American groups who spoke the Miwokan language and lived in northern California. The word "Miwok" means people in their native language. Generally the Miwok were a hunting and gathering people who lived in small bands without centralized political authority before contact with white settlers.

 

Modoc - The Modoc, meaning "southerners,” were a warlike and aggressive offshoot from the Klamath tribe of southeast Oregon, occupying the territory immediately to the south of the latter, extending across the California border and including the Lost River Country and the famous Lava-bed region. After the Modoc War, they were confined to reservations in Oregon and Oklahoma. More ...

 

Mogollon - One of four major prehistoric archaeological culture areas of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, the Mogollon lived in the southwest from approximately 150 A.D. until about 1450 A.D. The name Mogollon comes from the Mogollon Mountains, which were named after Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, the Spanish Governor of New Mexico from 1712-1715. They are thought to be the first of the southwestern peoples to farm, build shelters, and make pottery. To supplement their diet they also harvested wild plants and hunted small game. When they took up the bow and arrow about 500 A.D., hunting became more prevalent. They lived a sedentary village life-style near streams, often in canyons or other easily defendable locations. Their homes were similar to Hohokam pit houses though smaller and taller. The largest structure called kiva served as the social and ceremonial center of the village.


Mohegan -Mohegan means wolf. So does Mahican, but these are the names of two distinct Algonquin tribes with different locations and histories. It is all too common for the Mohegan of the Thames River in eastern Connecticut to be confused with the Mahican from the middle Hudson Valley in New York (a distance of about a hundred miles). Frequently confused with the Mohicans due to a poorly-researched literary classic, the Mohegan people consist of many originally independent tribes including the Pequot and Montauk.

 

Mohawk FlagMohawk - Of the Iroquoian linguistic stock and Eastern Woodlands area, the Mohawk were once the chief people of the Five Nations of the Iroquoian Confederacy. Their first contact with the European settlers came in the form of conflict, fighting against Samuel De Champlain. Dutch explorers managed to trade with the Mohawk, exchanging rifles for furs. In latter years, the British formed an alliance with the Mohawk, to fight the French and American colonists. After the American Revolution, most of the Mohawk relocated to Canada, where the vast majority still reside today.

 

Mohican - Frequently confused with the Mohegans due to a poorly-researched literary classic, the Mohican tribe was not driven to extinction, merely exiled to Wisconsin.

 

Mojave - Living along the banks of the Lower Colorado River in California and Arizona, their tribal structure was based on the family unit. They practiced agriculture, growing corn and beans amongst other things, and were also skilled at fishing and hunting. Their belief system was based on a singular supreme entity, and their own personal value system revolved around courage in battle. There are currently around fifteen hundred Mojave Indians living on reservations in Arizona.

 

Montagnais - Nitassinan, the Montagnais homeland, is a vast area which includes most of Quebec east of the St. Maurice River extending along the north side of the St. Lawrence to the Atlantic Ocean in Labrador. Diet relied heavily on the hunting of moose and seal but with a heavy reliance on fishing for salmon and eel. Montagnais considered porcupine a delicacy. So much so, they were sometimes referred to as the "Porcupine Indians." Currently, there are almost 13,000 Montagnais in Quebec with another 800 living in Labrador.

 

Munsee - The name derives from the people's original band name, Minisink, which means "from the rocky land." The Munsees originally lived in the mid-Atlantic, in areas that are now southern New York, northern New Jersey, and southeastern Connecticut. Dutch and British colonists forced them to leave their homeland in the 1700's. Some of them retreated to Canada, where most Munsee live today. Others joined the Mahican Indians in New York; the two tribes were eventually deported to Wisconsin, where they live together today. Still others sought shelter with their relatives the Delaware (Lenape,) and continue to live among them now.

 

Muscogean - A language family containing Alabama, Apalachee, Calusa, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Coushatta, Creek, Hitchiti, Seminole, and Yamasee tribes. Originally they were confined chiefly to the Gulf states east of almost all of Mississippi and Alabama, and parts of Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. According to a tradition held in common by most of their tribes, they had reached their historic seats from some starting point west of the Mississippi, usually placed, somewhere on the upper Red River. Later, most were moved to Indian Territory.
 


Continued Next Page

 

Mojave Indians

Mojave Indians

 

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