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Native Languages of the Americas: Wampanoag
(Massachusett, Natick, Nantucket, Mashpee)

Language: Wampanoag--also known as Massachusett, Pokanoket, Nantucket, Natick, Massasoit, Nauset, or Mashpee--is an Algonkian language of New England. The language is no longer actively spoken in Wampanoag communities today, although some Wampanoag people are trying to revive it. Narragansett is considered by some linguists to have been a Wampanoag dialect, by others a distinct language.

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People: The Indians who met and befriended the Pilgrims of Plymouth, the Wampanoag tribe suffered an unhappy fate at the hands of the English. The 2000 or so surviving Wampanoag descendants still live in Plymouth county.

History: The Wampanoags are most famous for greeting and befriending the Pilgrims in 1620, bringing them corn and turkey to help them through the difficult winter and starting a Thanksgiving tradition that is still observed today. Unfortunately, the relationship did not stay positive. As more British colonists arrived in Massachusetts, they began displacing the Wampanoags from their traditional lands, particularly by plying Wampanoag men with alcohol and obtaining their signatures on land sale documents while they were drunk. The Wampanoag leader Metacomet, known as "King Philip" to the English, tried to get this practice outlawed, and when the British refused, a war ensued. The British won decisively, sold many of the Wampanoag survivors into slavery, drove the rest into hiding, and forbade the use of the Massachusett language and Wampanoag tribal names. Only in 1928 were the Wampanoag people able to reclaim their tribal identity.

Wampanoag Language Resources
Wampanoag language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Wampanoag Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Wampanoag tribe past and present.

Wampanoag Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Wampanoag Indians, their language and culture.

Wampanoag Legends
Introduction to Wampanoag Indian mythology.

Wampanoag Language Resources

Our Online Wampanoag Language Materials

Wampanoag Glossary:
    List of Wampanoag words, compared to words in other Algonquian languages.
Narragansett-Wampanoag Language Revival:
    Series of language revival articles, pronunciation and vocabulary charts by Dr. Frank Waabu O'Brien.
Wampanoag Animal Words:
    Picture dictionary of animal words in the Wampanoag language.

Wampanoag Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Wood's Vocabulary of Massachusett:
    Wampanoag dictionary for sale.
Outline for a Comparative Grammar of some Algonquian Languages:
    Linguistics text comparing the Natick (Wampanoag) language to several other Algonquian languages.
American Indian Dictionaries:
    Wampanoag and other Native American dictionaries and language materials.

Wampanoag Language Community and Tools

Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project:
    Homepage of an intertribal organization working on Wampanoag language revival, offering language classes and materials.

Wampanoag Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

Wampanoag Sound Archives:
    Recordings of spoken Wampanoag, Onondaga, and Highland Chontal, as well as native music.
Wampanoag Indian Language:
    Linguistic description of Wampanoag from the Rosetta Project.
Language Museum: Wamponoag: * Massachusett Prayer:
    Christian prayers translated into Wampanoag.
Genesis in Massachusett:
    Bible passages translated into the Wampanoag Indian language.
Massachusett Alphabet:
    Phonological inventory of the Massachusett language, with a sample text.

Wampanoag Language Preservation and Usage

Mashpee Wampanoag School to Revive Native Language:
    Article about Wampanoag language classes in the Mashpee public schools.
Speak, Cultural Memory:
    Article about Miami and Massachuset language revival.
Ethnologue: Wampanoag/Massachuset:
    Demographic information about the Wampanoag language.
Massachusets-Narragansets Language Tree * Natick Language Tree * Nauset Language Tree
    Cowesit Language Tree * Massachusett Language Tree:
    Theories about Massachusett's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Massachusett Language Structures:
    Massachusett linguistic profile and academic bibliography.

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

   La Lengua Massachusett:
   Article on the Wampanoag language in Spanish. With a language map.
  Wampanoag Tribe:
  Wampanoag Indian books.

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