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Native American Legends: Ne Hwas (Newas)

Name: Ne Hwas
Tribal affiliation: Passamaquoddy
Alternate spellings: Nehwas, Newas, Niwah
Pronunciation: probably nee-wask (see below)
Type: Nature spirit, mermaid

"Ne Hwas" is given as the name of a Passamaquoddy mermaid in some 19th-century folktales. Probably these stories were actually about the 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 Stories

*Ne Hwas, the Mermaid:
    Passamaquoddy story of two girls who turned into mermaids.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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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.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Passamaquoddy and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Algonquian legends
 Passamaquoddy language
 Wabanaki people
 Native languages of Maine
 American Indians of the Eastern Woodlands
 Algonquian translations

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