Summary of Native American Tribes – A

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Summaries:  A  B  C  D  E-I  J-K  L-M  N  O  P  Q-R  S  T-V  W  X-Z

Arkokisa – A people formerly living in villages chiefly along lower Trinity River in Texas. The Spanish Presidio of San Agustin de Ahumada was founded among them in 1756, and several Mexican families settled there, but it was abandoned in 1772. They were allied with the Aranama and the Attacapa, and were on friendly terms also with the Bidai, but their linguistic affinity is not known. They numbered about 80 men in 1760-70 and subsisted principally on shellfish and fruits. In 1805 their principal town was on the west side of Colorado River of Texas, about 200 miles southwest of Nacogdoches. As more and more white settlers moved into their territory, their numbers were decimated by disease and their tribal relations broken up, causing them to scatter and disorganize.

Armouchiquois – There is much confusion as to who these people were, but the name was given by the Abnaki Indians to the country of the Indians of the New England coast south of Sacro River, Maine. In 1605, when French explorer, Samuel de Champlain visited a  large native village at the mouth of the Saco River, his Etchemin guides called the people Armouchiquois and called the village Chouacoit. It was a large, permanent, palisaded settlement, and the area was filled with small native hamlets, all cultivating corn, bean, and squash fields. In 1607, Chouacoit was hit hard in a raid by the Souriquoi and their allies. Thus began a war that lasted until about 1615, apparently ending with disastrous losses for the Armouchiquois. In 1616, the village was hit hard by disease and most of its inhabitants took sick and died. By 1631, the village was gone.

In Joseph Williason’s History of Maine, published in 1832, he said they were the same as the Malecite tribe living on the  St. John’s River, but Champlain had earlier said that their language differed from the Micmac and the Etchimin bands which were also of the Malecite tribe. Some Frenchmen used the term to describe several tribes that the English included under the term “Massachusetts.” In Francis Parkman’s book, Jesuits in North America, published in 1867, the term included the Algonquian tribes of New England, including the Mohegan, Pequot, Massachusett, Narraganset and others who were in a chronic state of war with the tribes of New Brunswick and Mova Scotia.

Arosaguntacook – Also called Androscoggin, Amoscoggin, and other variations, they were a tribe of the Abnaki Confederacy, who formerly lived in the Androscoggin River watershed, located in present-day southern Maine and northern New Hampshire.

Their primary village was located in Androscoggin County, Maine in a village that bore the same name on Androscoggin River. Together with the Pigwacket, they formed the southern-most of the Abenaki tribes and were, therefore, one the first in contact with the English colonists of New England. Living on the edge of the first English settlements in Maine, they took part in King Philip’s War in 1675. They were later removed to St Francis, Canada, soon after the Abnaki defeat in the Battle of Pequawket at present-day Fryeburg, Maine in 1725. It is assumed that by the 18th century, they had been absorbed by neighboring tribes.

Ascahcutoner – A tribe belonging to his Sioux-Osage family, they were also said to have been associated with the Teton Sioux.

Assegun – A tribe that originally occupied the region around Mackinaw and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, they were later driven southward by the Anishinaabe and Ottawa into Lower Michigan. They were once thought to be connected to the Mascouten, but are now believed to have been a Siouan tribe. The name probably derives from Anishinaabe word meaning “Black Bass.”

Assiniboine, aka: Stoney – A tribe with very close affinities to the Nakota Sioux, the differences in dialect between the two suggesting a time of separation sometime before 1640. The Assiniboine call themselves “Nakoda.” In 1658, they were living at Lake Alimibeg, between Lake Superior and Hudson Bay. At an earlier time, they were probably at the headwaters of the Mississippi and drifted north from the constant warfare with the Dakota. They are of plains culture, and in dress are not much different from their neighbors, the Cree. They also practice polygamy an were known to sacrifice dogs to the spirits. Their name comes from Anishinaabe word that translates to “cooks by the use of stones.”

Assuti – A small Nez Percé band formerly living on Assuti Creek in Idaho. They joined Chief Joseph in the Nez Perce War of 1877.

Atakapa – Also spelled Attakapa, Attakapas, Attacapa, they called themselves the Ishak, pronounced “ee-SHAK,” which meant “The People.” A hunting and gathering tribe, they lived along the Gulf of Mexico, and the rivers valleys, lake shores, and coasts from Galveston Bay, Texas to Vermilion Bay, Louisiana. In the summer, families moved to the coast, where the women cultivated maize. By 1719, they had obtained horses and hunted bison from horseback. After 1762, when Louisiana was transferred to Spain, little was written about them and epidemics of the late 18th century reduced their numbers considerably. Survivors joined the Caddo, Koasati, and other surrounding tribes, although some culturally distinct Atakapan people survived into the 20th century. Today, many of their descendants have fought for recognition of the Atakapa-Ishak tribe, though because their share a mixed linage of African-American and Indian ancestry this has been difficult.

Atanumlema – A small Shahaptian tribe living on Yakima Reservation in Washington. They once spoke a dialect closely related to the Yakima and Klikitat.

Atchatchakangouen – From their word meaning “crane,” these Indians were a principal division of the Miami. After hostilities with the Illinois Indians, they moved west of the Mississippi River, where they found more conflict when they were attacked by the Sioux. Moving once again, they briefly settled near the Jesuit mission at Green Bay, before making their way into Illinois and Indiana with the rest of the tribe.

Atfaiati – Also known as the Tualatin, they were a band of the Kalapuya tribe that formerly inhabited the Tualatin Valley in northwest Oregon. Though they had a hunter-gather lifestyle, they also had permanent villages they inhabited during the winter months. Little is known of their native customs. White settlers began to invade their territory in the early 19th century, and by 1842, their population had been much decreased by disease to only about 600. By 1848, it had shrunk to only about 60 people. In 1855, the government negotiated a treaty with the larger Kalapuya group that included the Atfalati tribe, which removed the Atfalati to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation at the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range where they lived with a variety of other tribes. By the early 1900’s they had further dwindled to only about 20 people.

Athapascan Hupa Female Shaman, Edward Curtis, 1923

Athapascan Hupa Female Shaman, Edward Curtis, 1923

Athapascan Family – The most widely distributed of all the Indian linguistic families of North America, they formerly extending over parts of the continent from the Arctic coast far into north Mexico, from the Pacific Ocean to Hudson Bay at the north, and from the Colorado River to the mouth of the Rio Grande at the south. The languages which compose the Athapascan family are plainly related to each other and, because of certain peculiarities, stand out from the other American languages with considerable distinctness. Phonetically they were rendered harsh and difficult for European ears because of series of guttural sounds, use of tone, many continuants, and frequent checks and aspirations. The name Athabaskan was assigned by Albert Gallatin in his 1836 classification of the languages of North America.

The wide differences in physical type and culture and the differences in language point to a long separation of the family, certainly covering many centuries. The Athabaskan family is conventionally divided into three groups based largely on geographic distribution: Northern Athabaskan, Pacific Coast Athabaskan, and Southern Athabaskan. Northern Athabaskan was spoken in the northern part of North America, particularly in Alaska and the Yukon and included 31 languages. The Pacific Coast Athabaskan languages were spoken in southern Oregon and northern California and included seven different languages. The Southern Athabaskan languages were spoken primarily in the Southwest, including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Sonora, Mexico.  These languages were spoken by various groups of Apache and Navajo peoples.

Summaries:  A  B  C  D  E-I  J-K  L-M  N  O  P  Q-R  S  T-V  W  X-Z

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