The term “Wabanaki” describes the “land of the dawn (first light)” and the original peoples of this easternmost land. Continuing into today, Wabanaki encompasses a vast territory, from the Maritimes through northern New England and southern Quebec, including the homelands of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Mik’maq, as well as the Abenaki. In many Eastern Algonquian languages, "Wabanaki" also refers generally to the other related "people of the east," including variations such as “Wampanoag” and “Wappinger” in southern New England, and “Wapahnahk,” which was used by Native people to describe Mohican and Lenape delegates to councils in the Ohio Valley. In oral tradition and continuing cultural practice, Wabanaki/Wampanoag people are those who greet the birth of the sun each morning, and the first people born into the dawnland.
This path focuses on the Northern Front of King Philip’s War, highlighting places and people in Wabanaki territory, particularly on the coast, from Molôdemak (Merrimack River) to Machias. This region was also claimed by the colonies of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, with the Bay colony asserting jurisdiction in the region that would become known as Maine. Towards the end of the war, New York asserted jurisdiction down east, at Pemaquid, as well. For an English colonial perspective on the geography of this space, see this Map of New England and New York, from the Maine Historical Society. The French colony of Quebec likewise claimed jurisdiction in parts of these territories, in conflict with English claims. These pages explore the “paths to peace,” or diplomacy, taken by Indigenous leaders and protectors before and during the war, but also the impacts of colonial conflict and captivity, as well as the routes of adaptation, negotiation and resistance.
The “Place of Peace” refers to Caskoak, a meeting place of multiple nations and waterways, a traditional site of Indigenous councils, which became embroiled in violence. It also refers to the larger question, what is the place of peace in the stories of war?
You may consider this question as you explore the paths below.