Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Word of the Day -- Abenaki

The Abenaki (Abnaki, Wabanaki, Waponahki) are a tribe of Native American and First Nations people, one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America. The Abenaki live in the New England region of the United States and Quebec and the Maritimes of Canada, a region called Wabanaki ("Dawn Land") in the Eastern Algonquian languages. The Abenaki are one of the five members of the Wabanaki Confederacy. "Abenaki" is a linguistic and geographic grouping; historically there was not a strong central authority, but as listed below a large number of smaller bands and tribes who shared many cultural traits.

The word Abenaki means “people of the dawnlands". The Abenaki people call themselves Alnôbak, meaning "Real People" (c.f., Lenape language: Lenapek). They also use the autonym Alnanbal, meaning "men".  In addition, when compared to the more interior Algonquian peoples, they call themselves Wôbanuok, meaning "Easterners" (c.f. Massachusett language: Wôpanâak). They also refer to themselves as Abenaki or with syncope: Abnaki. Both forms are derived from Wabanaki or the Wabanaki Confederacy, as they were once a member of this confederacy they called Wôbanakiak, meaning "People of the Dawn Land" in the Abenaki language — from wôban ("dawn" or "east") and aki ("land") (compare Proto-Algonquian *wa·pan and *axkyi)—the aboriginal name of the area broadly corresponding to New England and the Maritimes. It is sometimes used to refer to all the Algonquian-speaking peoples of the area — Western Abenaki, Eastern Abenaki, Wolastoqiyik-Passamaquoddy, and Mi'kmaq — as a single group.

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