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Abenaki or Abnaki?

Q: I found your site on the internet this morning and thought, if you are still the organizer, you might be able to help with something. I've been trying to fact check two entries in our catalog for Abanaki -- and I'm trying to find the appropriate spelling -- do you know whether it is Abenaki or Abnaki? My initial internet research didn't turn up anything conclusive.

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A: Since Abenaki wasn't a written language for a long time, the spelling of their name was not standardized. So in English it was sometimes written "Abenaki," sometimes "Abnaki," and sometimes "Abanaki," and in French it was sometimes also written "Abenaqui." None of these are incorrect, and all still see some use today.

However, the Abenaki Nation in Quebec and the unrecognized Abenaki bands in New England all spell their official tribal name "Abenaki" today, so that is the primary spelling which I would go with in the article.

Hope that helps!
Native Languages of the Americas

Related Links

 Abenaki language
 Abenaki spelling and pronunciation
 Native American names
 Abenaki Indian

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