Indigenous History in Sagadahoc County

November is Native American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month. We’re honoring Maine’s indigenous peoples by learning more about the Native Americans who have lived in Sagadahoc County.

We’ll start by identifying books in our collection that focus on indigenous history at a local level. Next, we’ll share tips for finding other books about indigenous history on a regional and national level. Finally, we’ll share links to a few online resources.

Sagadahoc County Indigenous History Books

According to the Native Land Map, the Sagadahoc County area is part of Arosaguntacook and Nanrantsouak land. Both peoples, also known as Androscoggin and Norridgewock, are part of the Wabanaki Confederacy.
Both the History Room collection and the Nonfiction collection at Patten Free Library include books about indigenous people in Sagadahoc County. These five publications, written between 1853 and 1983, focus on political relationships with indigenous people from a white colonial perspective, making frequent use of the now antiquated term “Indians.”

Baker, Emerson W. “The Clarke & Lake Site, 1654-1676: A Place of Trading as Well as Planting.” Thesis (M.A.) in History. University of Maine, 1983.

Cranmer, Leon E. Cushnoc: The History and Archaeology of Plymouth Colony Traders on the Kennebec. Augusta, Me.: Maine Archaeological Society: Fort Western Museum: Maine Historic Preservation Commission, c1990.

Congdon, Isabelle P. Indian Tribes of Maine : With Particular Reference to Indian Activities in the Regions around the Present Locations of Bath and Brunswick. Brunswick, Me. : Brunswick Publishing Co., 1961.

Sewall, Rufus King. Ancient Dominions of Maine: Embracing the Earliest Facts, the Recent Discoveries, of the Remains of Aboriginal Towns, the Voyages, Settlements, Battle Scenes, and Incidents of Indian Warfare, and Other Incidents of History, Together With the Religious Developments of Society Within the Ancient Sagadahoc, Sheepscot, and Pemaquid Precincts and Dependencies. Bath : Elisha Clark & Co. ; Boston : Crosby & Nichols, 1859.

Shute, Samuel. “Georgetown on Arrowsic Island, Aug. 9th 1717. Annoque regni regis Georg II magnae Britanniae &c. quarto. A confession of hs excellency the governour, with the sachems and cheif men of the eastern Indians.” In Collections of the Maine Historical Society. Vol. 3 (1853), p.361-375.

Maine Indigenous History Books

There is no shortage of books on Maine’s indigenous people. Colonizers have been writing about the topic since they first came to the Americas. The following books were written by people with indigenous heritage:

American Friends Service Committee Wabanaki Program. The Wabanakis of Maine & the Maritimes: A Resource Book by and About About Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Micmac, and Abenaki Indians: With Extensive Resources for All Educational Levels Including Sample Lesson Plans. Philadelphia, PA : Wabanaki Program of the American Friends Service Committee, 2002, c1989.

Brooks, Lisa Tanya. Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2018.

O’Brien, Jean M. Firsting and lasting : writing Indians out of existence in New England. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Subject Headings

For other books about indigenous people in Maine, you can search the Minerva Catalog using subject headings. Keep in mind that subject headings often use antiquated and biased language, but we keep them around because they are amazingly useful (if you’re interested in learning more about that, we recommend an article titled The bias hiding in your library at online news magazine The Conversation.)
The following subject headings will lead you to books on each topic:

               Indians of North America

               Indians of North America–Maine

               Eastern Indians, Wars with, 1722-1726

               Indian land transfers

               Names, Indian–Maine

               New England–Race relations

               Abenaki Indians

               Arosaguntacook Indians

               Maelcite Indians

               Norridgewock Indians

               Passamaquoddy Indians

               Penobscot Indians

               Red Paint culture

Online Resources

The following websites from across Maine are portals to learning more about the state’s indigenous heritage.

Abbe MuseumPreservation of Wabanaki artifacts, and education on Wabanaki culture

Ancestral Voices “This first presentation in the Ancestral Voices project is the result of a collaborative venture among the AFC, the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine, and the creators of TK Labels and Mukurtu CMS. Passamaquoddy elders have provided cultural narratives and added traditional knowledge about Passamaquoddy recordings, which were spoken in a French-influenced dialect of the Passamaquoddy language in 1890.”

Indigenous Law Web Archive “(The Law Library) collects and preserves primary law sources of indigenous nations, which are sovereign governments by treaty with the United States.” 

Maine Indians: A Web Resource List for Teachers from University of Maine Hudson Museum
Maine Native Studies Resources lists many resources with a brief description of each, including some on this list. 

Maine Memory Network Holding up the Sky exhibit

Penobscot Nation Information and sources for tribal members, also includes some information on Cultural and Historic Preservation.

Passamaquoddy People Knowledge Portal “This website is a glimpse of our rich cultural traditions and history. It will allow future generations of Passamaquoddy to learn about OUR STORY in OUR WORDS.” A project involving wax cylinder recordings expanded into this website which is used as a way to share the language and culture as the Passamaquoddy choose to share them.

Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Portal “The Portal is designed as a resource for language learning and research.” 

Resources for Truth, Healing and Change in Wabanaki Territory  from Maine-Wabanaki Reach

Wabanaki Collections “The Wabanaki Collection connects postsecondary educators, grade school teachers, and the general public with a variety of resources that support enhanced relationships between all the peoples of Eastern Canada and Northeastern United States.”

Help Us Learn More About Local Indigenous History

We are always looking for more sources about local indigenous history. Are there titles we missed? Do you have knowledge or ideas to contribute? Contact Jill at
Thank you to Karen Richard for the online resource list.

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