American Indian cultures
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Legendary Native American Figures: Ne Hwas (Newas)
"Ne Hwas" is given as the name of a Passamaquoddy mermaid in some 19th-century folktales.
Probably these stories were actually about
the Name: Ne Hwas
Tribal affiliation: Passamaquoddy
Alternate spellings: Nehwas, Newas, Niwah
Pronunciation: probably nee-wask (see below)
Type: Nature spirit, mermaid
Lumpeguin, a kind of benign water
sprite sometimes depicted with a fish tail. The Passamaquoddy word niwesq,
which is probably where "ne hwas" came from, just means "spirit" and is used to refer to any
kind of supernatural creature.
Ne Hwas, the Mermaid:
Passamaquoddy story of two girls who turned into mermaids.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
The Algonquin Legends of New England:
Myths and folklore of the Passamaquoddy and Micmac tribes, including stories about the Ne-Hwas.
Giants of the Dawnland:
A good collection of Wabanaki legends told by a Penobscot Indian author.
Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Passamaquoddy and other Algonquian tribes.
Native languages of Maine
Eastern Woodlands tribes
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Learn more about the Passamaquoddy tribe.
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