2020 Winning Essay

2020 Winning Essay

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First Place Middle School DivisionKeira LeBrun photo

Keira LeBrun
7th Grade, Massabesic Middle School, East Waterboro

Passamaquoddy Tribe

The Passamaquoddy tribe are descendants of Native American peoples from the New England area of America. The tribe was found in both; Maine and Canada. They were known to live in “family band camps” for most of the year. There are still Passamaquoddy tribe members in modern times. There are about 3500 Passamaquody people now. They are still found nowadays in Maine and New Brunswick.

The Passamaquoddy tribe had a native language which was called; Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language. Now, they speak modern day English. Although they speak English, there are few who still speak their native language. It is considered an ‘endangered language’, but there are young Passamaquoddy people that are keeping it alive.

The Passamaquoddy Tribe is organized by reservations. There are two reservations in Maine. The reservations have their own government and laws. The Passamaquoddy don’t have any reservations in Canada. They also do not have their own government there.

In the summer, the Passamaquoddy moved to the coast and would catch fish, including Pollock. They would harvest oysters whose shells can still be found in present day Damariscotta. They would plant corn and harvest berries and wild plants. In the winter, the Passamaquoddy would move inland and hunt game like deer and fowl.

To hunt, the Passamaquoddy would need weapons. There were both: longbows and short bows. They were used not just for hunting, but also for protection and war. The Passamaquoddy would even use them to catch fish.

They made bows out of wood and sinew (animal tendons). The arrowheads were made of flint, stone, copper, and even bone. For small game, hunters could just use a sharpened stick.

The Passamaquoddy wouldn’t just use bows and arrows, they would also use clubs and spears. Like bows, spears could be used for getting food or warfare. Clubs were not used for hunting, but war and ceremonies. There were even clubs with single spikes.

Like many Native American tribes, the Passamaquoddy would weave baskets out of sweet grass and wood from Ash trees and Birch. They also would embroider with porcupine quills. Another skill Passamaquoddy had was making beadwork.

The men and women's jobs were very traditional. Men would go hunting. Sometimes they would even take their son(s) with them. Men would even protect their families and participate in wars. Passamaquoddy women would watch and take care of the kids. They would also clean around the house and cook meals for the family.

The Passamaquoddy kids would go to school and do chores around the house. They would play with each other and got the chance to go hunting with their fathers. The Passamaquoddy kids would play with dolls. They even had a game with a ball.

The Passamaquoddian houses (wigwams) were small and round buildings. The Passamaquoddy peoples traveled by canoes and by foot. In the snow they used sleds and snow shoes.

The Passamaquoddy women would wear long skirts and dresses while the men wore leggings and breechcloths. Over time, the Passamaquoddy adapted blouses and jackets which were decorated with beadwork. Both men and women would wear moccasins as shoes.

The modern Passamaquoddy tribe still wears moccasins, yet wears modern clothes such as jeans. Also, they used to wear headbands with feathers, but now they only wear them for cultural dances.

The tribe has had a long and vibrant history. The Passamaquoddy tribe continues to hold a prominent place in today's identity of the state. Although there are not many members of the tribe in modern times, they still manage to keep the culture and traditions alive for future generations.

References

Culture & history. (n.d.). Passamaquoddy Tribe @ Indian Township | Peskotomuhkati Motahkomikuk. https://www.passamaquoddy.com/?page_id=24

Encyclopedia of North American Indians - - Religion. (n.d.). Wayback Machine. https://web.archive.org/web/20050330085408/college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/naind/html/na_032600_religion.htm

http://www.bigorrin.org/passamaquoddy_kids.htm#:~:text=Passamaquoddy%20is%20pronounced%20Pass%2Duh,important%20to%20Passamaquoddy%20culture%20today.


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